Old, Repurposed Movie Review: King Kong
December 15th, 2005
See King Kong. Now.
On a related note, please allow me to rant a bit.
I enjoy movies without audience noise, beyond the usual spontaneous “ohh” or gasp. There is nothing you have to say during the movie, no matter how clever or informative, that cannot wait until after. A very quiet whisper in an ear is irritating, but acceptable, if you simply must share your insight before it runs out of your head, forever lost in the aether and to the movie-going public. Because of this expectation, I find that I am often disappointed lately. Usually this disappointment comes in the form of the guy behind us in Good Night and Good Luck whose cell phone rang, he answered it, and carried on a conversation. I consider this sort of disappointment minor when there is the usual chorus of groans, at least one person saying “shhh,” and the clear sound of his wife punching him in the shoulder saying “hang up!”
Yesterday during King Kong, it was a bit different.
Gomer moseyed into the theater with his six children in tow, plunks them down in front of us, and looks at us in all seriousness and says “I really hope I don’t regret this,” motioning to his children who range from a boy who can’t be over four to a girl who is 12. I nodded sympathetically.
An hour and a half into the movie, this exchange:
4 Year-Old Boy: Daddy, that’s a big monkey.
Gomer: (full voice) Yes, it sure is.
12 Year-Old Girl: Shhhhhh!
and ten minutes later:
4 YOB: Daddy, what’s the big monkey doing?
Gomer: (full voice) He’s throwing a big rock.
12 YOG: Shhhh!
Me: (softly, over his shoulder) Shhhhh!
and half an hour later:
4 YOB: Daddy, that monkey is scary!
Gomer: (full voice) Oh, he’s just really angry.
12 YOG: (heads buried in hands, surrendering to the situation)
Me: (not very softly over his shoulder) Shhhhhh!
and ten minutes after that:
4 YOB: Daddy, can we go?
Gomer: (full voice) No, it’s not over yet. We’ll leave when it is.
12 YOG: SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
Gomer: (as ever, full voice) Look, instead of saying “shhh” all the time, you could just stand up and move.
Me: (full voice (to my shame)) Or you could stop pretending this was your living room and be quiet.
12 YOG: Please stop, dad.
Gomer: (shouting) Let’s settle this outside after the movie!
12 YOG: (hands buried in palms again)
five minutes later:
4 YOB: (quietly into dad’s ear) is it almost over?
Gomer: (instructionally) Oh, you can talk as *loud* as you want.
Though the wise son appeared not to be interested in helping dad up the ante any further and was mostly quiet. Dad, to his credit, listened to his daughter’s pleas as the movie ended to “let’s go home now” and scurried away.
This was, dear reader, not the worst offender in the theater yesterday. The worst was a mid-30’s father with his 3 year-old daughter.
Those who have seen the trailer or, indeed, many movies of this sort at all will not be surprised when I report that there is a moment where the film turns from being a period piece about a film crew shooting on location into a horror film..the moment when All Hell Breaks Loose [tm]. At this moment, this precocious tot turns to dad and says “I’m scared. I want to leave.”
His response to her is “oh, this isn’t bad. It’ll be ok.”
Like a trooper, she sat there for the next five minutes while Hell continued to Break Loose before saying, in a bit of a whine “Dad, I’m really scared now. Can we leave yet?”
His response, “The scary part is almost over.”
Ten minutes after that, the poor girl is beginning to cry, saying, “Daddy, I’m really scared!” And our fine parent responds “here, I’ll hold you.” Which he proceeds to do. As the action continues to build on-screen, though, daddy holding her isn’t quite doing it. She begins to sob uncontrollably, asking over and over if they can go. Dad sits through some pretty damned gruesome stuff, all the while telling her that it’s not that scary, that she’ll be fine, that everything’s going to be alright.
I hope he’s right. Given how loudly she screamed in a few places, though, I have doubts.
Look, you have every right to be a poor parent. I think it’s a decision that’s going to end in sorrow somewhere down the line, but I’m unaware of any law that’s going to stop you from taking your toddler to a very intense movie. But, for the love of all that’s holy, is there any chance that you can do your abuse somewhere private instead of compounding your sin by being a bad audience member on top of it?
I say all of this by way of pointing out this is an amazing movie, and doing so thusly: I was so into it that I couldn’t be bothered to miss the moment it would have required to leave and speak with an usher to have either of the offending parties thrown out or, preferably, executed. Go. Now.