Tuesday, January 31, 2006

How many siblings did King Kong have?

Who were King Kong's parents?

No, really. How did that 25-foot gorilla come to be on that island in the first place? Did he begin life as a normal chimp, blowing up to monstrous size as a result of atomic radiation? Is he a genetic freak? The result of a rare glandular problem? Or is there a 25-foot Mr. and Mrs. Kong, and a whole bunch of Kong siblings, clomping through the jungle in search of 10-foot bananas?

Inquiring minds want to know.

At least one of our colleagues did. He pointed out that the lack of biological accounting for Kong is one of the holes in Peter Jackson's $207 million "King Kong" remake.

Actually, there is a hint: At one point, Kong is shown with a number of what look like gorilla skeletons, indicating that he may be the last of his species.

But the real answer, of course, is that a movie in which a 25-foot ape falls in love with a 5-foot burlesque dancer, climbs to the top of the Empire State Building and is shot down by fighter planes is not exactly an exercise in Euclidean logic.

Makes you think, though.

For one thing, it makes you think about all the other movies that have left you with loose threads, unresolved story lines, unanswered questions. In a word: holes.

Here are some of our favorites.

What does The Ring do?

Everyone in "The Lord of the Rings" wants The Ring. Civilizations rise and fall because of it, armies clash, trees pull themselves up by their roots and traipse across Christopher Lee's patio. The Ring, we are told, is the essence of pure power. It will make anybody supreme over all the Earth.

But what does it do?

The one attribute we are shown -- that it makes the wearer invisible -- hardly seems the kind of thing that brings down empires.

Take me to your leader.com?

Aliens in giant spaceships invade Earth, destroying the White House, the Empire State Building and other photogenic national monuments in "Independence Day." Luckily, computer geek Jeff Goldblum is on hand, with his trusty Macintosh laptop, to save the day by creating a computer virus that disables the mother ship. Aliens from another galaxy use Mac? As several real computer geeks pointed out at the time, Mac isn't even compatible with most Earth systems.

"Rosebud": Who hears it?

"Rosebud," the last word on the lips of a dying millionaire, triggers the plot of "Citizen Kane," by common consent the greatest film ever made. For the entire film, everybody is obsessed with this mysterious word and what it might mean. Only problem is, no one heard it. At the beginning of the film, Kane (Orson Welles) says "Rosebud," drops the souvenir glass ball that shatters on the floor, and only then does a nurse come in and cover over the lifeless Kane.

What happened to Miss Gulch?

Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz" runs away from home because Miss Gulch has threatened to kill her dog, Toto. In the land of Oz, with the help of the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, the Cowardly Lion and a very bad Wizard, she learns that "there's no place like home." And so she wakes up, teary and grateful -- but Miss Gulch is still out there. Does she come back the next day, take repossession of Toto and have him gassed? The movie doesn't say. But it seems likely, doesn't it?

What happens to Dracula's wives?

An oldie but goodie. Dracula, played by Bela Lugosi in the 1931 classic, leaves his three wives in his castle in Transylvania in order to prey on the civilized world. He is finally tracked down by the intrepid professor Van Helsing to a cellar in London and staked through the heart just in time to save the heroine from a fate worse than death. But what happened to Dracula's wives? Presumably, they're still back in Transylvania, enjoying the local blood supply.


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