Great movie, King Kong. Saw it Monday in a packed theater in Westwood, CA and three hours flew by. But because my mission in life is figuring out how movies work, the big debate on my mind was: Is King Kong a “Monster in the House” or a “Buddy Love”??
I am writing the sequel to Save the Cat! Yes, at long last I have a “2” at the end of one of my projects. It’s a dissection of 50 recent movies according to the 10 genres outlined in the first Cat! And I just finished the Monster in the House chapter — so it was on my mind. Evil is let in the door when a sin is committed in a typical MITH movie. Havoc and death reign as a result. Alien, Fatal Attraction, The Ring and American Psycho all qualify.
King Kong does not.
For though King Kong involves lots of monsters, what it’s “about” is the love story between Naomi Watts and Mr. Big and Tall. Old Yeller, E.T. and even Rain Man are more like what this story concerns: the risks and reward of loving someone special, someone the world does not necessarily understand. Many “boy and his dog” tales are like this and Kong is no exception.
Why is this important to us?
As storytellers we must always be asking ourselves what is our story “about?” And seeing the elements of what makes our story work in the stories others tell helps us figure it out.
So when you and millions of others go off to see the Eighth Wonder of the World this weekend, impress your friends by drawing parallels between King Kong and, say, Two Weeks Notice.
Isn’t Kong just Hugh Grant without the accent?