Adrien Brody = Awesome (and just as strangely attractive as he's always been)
Jack Black = Awesome (I loved the way he made Denham so ambigious)
Naomi Watts = Awesome (That character could have been so annoying but she played it so well)
Peter Jackson = The fangirl/boy's friend
Kong = HUGE ape!
Kong vs Dinos = Most exciting 5 mins of cinema ever!
I've been sitting on the fence for days wonder whether to write this or the mini 10th Doctor thing running around in my head. Apparently Kong squished the 10th Doctor and so won out.
Title: It's Not About The Words
Warnings: Language, although nothing too foul
Spoiler: Goes right to the end of the movie so obviously spoilers galore
Summary: Jack just let her go. He never even said it.
Disclaimer: PJ and chums own it. But since he's rather cool and cast the most perfect person imaginable in each role, I'll forgive him.
This is Part 1 of 3 (I think – I know what I’m intending to write but the number of parts will depend on how much I get waylaid with other thoughts.) This was originally going to be a straight Ann/Jack piece but Carl is such a fascinating character that he kind of crept in there too. As did Jimmy in part two. Personally, I’m not sure about this at all – but there again I’ve learnt not to take that as an indication of quality as I think most of what I write is rubbish until I come back and read it long after the event. Reviews/comments will be most gratefully received so I can fine tune the way things are going with the rest of this. Enjoy!
Fetching the typewriter up off the desk and tucking it under one arm caused Jack to wince, the sharp, unforgiving metal poking in to another previously undiscovered bruise on his ribs. He ignored the pain though, picking up two piles of notebooks and paper, as many as his hands could safely grasp. The rough wool of his coat, slung precariously over his shoulder, scratched painfully at a graze but it didn’t matter. The fewer times his exhausted legs had to climb up the stairs, the better. It was all about priorities.
Not that there was any reason to hurry. Englehorn had briskly informed him to remove himself from the hold and relocate to one of the now unoccupied cabins, with the distraction and disinterest of a man with far greater things on his mind than where the writer would sleep. As long as he didn’t get in his way, Driscoll was the least of his concerns right now. Even with the remaining crew working in as single minded manner as their captain though, Jack knew it would be a while yet before they got the beast on board. They’d anchored the ship as close to the shore as they could without running it aground and, from what he could gather, they were sorting out some kind of raft to float the thing across. How they’d then get it up and into the hold he didn’t know. Neither did he care. Just as long as they hurried up and got the hell away from this place.
Struggling through the narrow corridors, Jack picked himself a cabin whose former occupant had been unknown to him. It didn’t seem quite so creepy that way. He dumped the things he was carrying on what little floor space there was, knowing he’d hate himself for being so careless with his half finished scripts in the morning, but not having the energy to care right now. A wash and a change of clothes had made him feel more human but it hadn’t done much for his state of mind. He knew he was talking to himself more than a sane man should. He kept imagining that he saw unwanted things in every shadow. That every creak of the boat was the sound of something from the island coming to finish them off.
His reflection in the dirty mirror was that of a man he was vaguely familiar with. But this one had sunken eyes and pale skin. How long had it been since he’d slept? Eaten even? Twenty-four, thirty six hours? He should have passed out by now.
Staggering on unsteady legs, even though the boat was resting on a dead calm sea, he made his way to galley. He could find nothing there more appetising than some plain bread but it’d do for now. The table was gone – it’d been thrown overboard as they’d attempted to get free of the rocks – and so he lent against the door frame, trying not to think of Lumpy. It just made his throat go drier and it was hard enough to swallow as it was.
On the floor was a discarded rough blanket, a dried blood stain clear in the middle. He had a vague recollection that the blood was his. From his head wound, after the attack by the natives. He’d woken up disorientated and confused as the table had been yanked from underneath him and he had been tipped to the floor. Was that really just this time yesterday? Didn’t seem possible.
“Time sure does fly when you’re having fun,” he muttered to himself, shaking his head in disbelief and regretting it as it seemed to rattle what was left of his brain around his skull.
He should rest; he was smart enough to know that. He was teetering on the edge of exhaustion and was more than likely concussed. But he was having even more trouble shutting off his mind than he normally did. He was a writer, he was used to those moments when his imagination hooked him on something and whisked him away so violently that he couldn’t let go until it was down on paper. He was used to having times when so many thoughts assaulted him at once that he could hardly keep up, not realising that hours had passed until his eyes were so blurry he couldn’t see straight to write anymore. But how did you process all that had happened in the last twenty four hours? How did you make sense of it?
Stepping out onto the deck - needing the air, suddenly feeling more claustrophobic in the galley than he ever had in his cage - he froze, an unnatural sense of dread claiming him as he saw the fires blazing in the distance. Each flickering jolt of flame momentarily played across the enormous black mass lying on the ground before the light was seemingly swallowed whole by it. The cries of men could be heard, their scurrying forms working with a level of organisation he wouldn’t have given them credit for. Their scruffy appearance belied their expertise. This was what they did.
He forcefully dragged his eyes away from the scene in an attempt to quash the suddenly heightened sense of unease he felt at the sight. As he turned his gaze was drawn towards the closer silhouette of a petite woman with blonde hair, standing as still as a statue, watching the crew work as though she could pick out their every small move even with such little light and long distance.
The flesh on her skin was raised, tiny goose bumps a testament to the ice that seemed to be forming in the air. Each breath was a cloud of light mist, drifting from her slightly parted, blue tinged lips. She hadn’t even bothered to change since they got back. On instinct Jack moved to walk towards her, to wrap his coat around her shoulders and ask her to come inside. To get warm, to eat, to rest. To let it go.
As his first footstep hit the deck however he instantly saw her tense, her delicate fingers gripping the railings so hard he thought they might snap. He stopped immediately as if stung. It hurt just as much as it had when she had pushed him away and told him to leave her alone. When she had struggled in his arms to free herself from his grasp, fighting against him, looking at him with a potent mixture of hate and disgust, rejecting his attempts to soothe her. That look on her expressive face had been strangely so much more disturbing to him than anything else he had witnessed since coming to this island.
“It’s not about the words,” he whispered thoughtfully to himself and he took a couple of paces away from her, backing down, knowing when he wasn’t wanted.
What did she expect of him? He didn’t really want to see the beast captured anymore than she did. He just wanted to get the hell away from here whilst their luck was still holding out. He wanted to go back to his theatre, back to the real world where the scariest thing you could face was your producer and the only thing hunting you down was the rent man. But what could he do about it? Englehorn wasn’t going to listen to him. Times were desperate, money was short, ordinary people were going hungry and barely surviving on what little they had. Carl’s promises of wealth and riches were a far more potent pull than whatever a writer and an actress could say about how wrong this was. And Jack could understand that in a way. He was a realist. He understood the way the world worked. Englehorn had lost many of his crew on this trip. Colleagues. Friends. People who had families back home who were relying upon them. They needed to bring something back from this trip. It was a simple matter of survival.
Jack could understand that, even though it made him slightly sick to the stomach that he did. That thing wasn’t some monster; it was just a big animal whose home they’d invaded. It didn’t hate them, it didn’t hunt them down out of some malicious need to harm them. It was just acting on instinct, doing what animals do. It didn’t know any better. And it didn’t deserve this. He pitied it. But in the grand scheme of things if it meant a few families didn’t have to go hungry for a while was it worth it? It was only an animal after all.
Was that the kind of man he was? Someone who’d trade what was right for the sake of survival?
To be honest, since meeting Ann Darrow he wasn’t entirely certain who he was anymore. He knew who he used to be. He didn’t write comedies for a start. He didn’t fall for cute blondes at first sight, no matter how beautiful they were. And as a general rule, he didn’t go racing off into dangerous jungles to rescue damsels in distress. Who the hell was that guy? Certainly not anyone he recognised as Jack Driscoll.
The smell of whiskey hit him a good few moments before he saw Carl step up beside him, leaning on the railing, a slightly manic grin on his face. Jack smiled half heartedly in return. He didn’t know what to make of the other man right now. It should be easy. He should hate him for nearly getting them all killed, risking everyone’s lives for the sake of his damn film and not being able to admit defeat even if it meant destroying everything in his path. But something about Carl always made it very hard to hate him, no matter how much he screwed you over. Maybe it was because in the end, no matter what he did, it was always for the sake of the art’s glory, not his own. There was something sort of noble in that. Stupid and selfish, but oddly noble. And a small bit of Jack respected it.
“Jeez Carl, what did you do?” he asked with a heavy sigh, wrinkling his nose a little in disgust, “Marinate yourself?”
“Just a little celebration, Jack,” the other man replied with far more clarity than someone who had clearly drunk a small distillery should be able. Jack had known Carl a long time and he had rarely seen him without a drink in his hand. He either had one hell of a strong stomach or was actually permanently intoxicated. Which would in fact explain a lot.
“Thought you’d be out there,” Jack said, nodding towards the shoreline, “Keeping an eye on your meal ticket.”
“Our meal ticket,” Carl hastened to correct, “And no, I thought it’d be best if I stay here and leave it to the experts. They do the skilled stuff, I just plan how to show their work off.”
Jack looked at him sceptically, “Englehorn told you to stay the hell away, right?”
There was a small hesitation.
“Something like that,” Carl admitted with a wry smile. He looked down at the railing for a moment before letting out a short laugh, “Actually he said I was a crazy, reckless son of a bitch and he had a good mind to chain me in my cabin for the rest of the trip.”
Jack smiled hollowly, “He knows you too well…”
Silence reigned between them for a long moment. Jack followed Carl’s gaze, even now unable to stop studying people. It was a habit he didn’t think he would ever shake.
He watched as Carl starred intently at the creature, lost in his own thoughts, his mind planning, already seeing those lights declaring that Carl Denman’s wondrous attraction was there for all the world to see. It was never the money that excited Carl, that was just a necessary evil. No, he was always in it for the show. To give the audience what they wanted. Or what he thought they wanted.
Slowly his gaze turned, momentarily settling upon the form of Ann who had moved herself further up the deck, away from them. For a split second Carl’s expression changed, something akin to guilt flickering across his features as he looked suddenly uncomfortable in his own skin.
By the time he looked back up at Jack again it was well gone.
“Why don’t you come inside?” he offered, his geniality sounding a little more forced than before, “Join me and Preston for a celebratory drink or ten?”
Jack raised an eyebrow, unable to crush the harsh tone in his voice when he spoke.
“And what exactly are you celebrating, Carl? Seventeen men died out there today. Seventeen men. Some of them were supposed to be your friends.”
Carl looked at him, his expression darkening. He understood that, Jack was sure he did. He felt their loss but he just couldn’t bring himself to admit that it was a terrible thing and something had gone horribly wrong. As though to do so would be akin to admitting his own guilt. And he definitely couldn’t do that. He couldn’t take the blame.
“It wouldn’t be an adventure if there wasn’t any risk involved,” Carl stated firmly, like it was gospel.
“Since when was this an adventure?” Jack asked, shaking his head, “Thought you came out here to make a film, Carl? What happened to your big ambition?”
Or should that be obsession?
“You have to take your opportunities when they come,” Carl preached, eyes once again set on the beast, “Some men can sit back and let the chances slip them by. Some can take the easy road and do nothing remarkable when remarkable things present themselves. I wasn’t born that way. I’d rather live to regret the things I’ve done than to sit back and always wonder ‘what if’.”
Jack starred at him for a long moment.
“You amaze me, you know that?” he eventually said, leaning heavily on the railing, his eyes turned away and fixed on the dark ocean.
“That’s not a compliment.”
More silence between them. In the distance they could hear Englehorn shouting something to his men but the sea breeze had whipped the words together so that from here they just sounded like noise. Jack thought he could hear the snuffling breaths of the unconscious animal, but that may just have been his imagination wreaking havoc with his state of mind again. He was tired, everything hurt and by all rights he should be lying on his bunk asleep. He could probably forgive himself a little paranoia in the circumstances.
“Englehorn says it’ll be dawn before they can get the beast over here,” Carl informed him in a conversational tone, as though he thought Jack really cared.
“He’s not a beast.”
Both men turned to see Ann glaring at them the light breeze whipping her hair around her still dirty face, making her look almost as wild as the island behind her. Her eyes were tainted with a deep stain of indignity, as though Carl had just insulted her.
“He’s an animal,” she said bitterly, her voice shaking from the cold or emotion. Probably both.
“He’s just a big, innocent, animal.”
Carl raised his eyebrows, his gaze challenging her, a sudden brutality to his words.
“Innocent? Did you see the whole group of guys it splattered back there? Don’t seem too innocent to me.”
Now Jack knew Carl wasn’t a stupid man. He knew that he understood there was no way Ann would agree with that, that it would only likely anger her further. So why say it? He was usually so good with people. He needed to be, he relied on his charm and powers of persuasion to get them to do what he wanted with only the scantest promise of payment.
Maybe this was his only way of justifying everything to himself; to say it out loud and hope it sounded like the truth.
“You attacked him,” she snapped, angered, “He was trying to defend himself.”
“It was trying to take you,” Carl reasoned.
“He wouldn’t have hurt me,” she insisted resolutely, her lips trembling slightly, tears refusing to fall.
Jack’s instinct told him to go put an arm round her but his feet held their ground.
“There’s only one beast here,” she spat in disgust, “I hate you.”
Jack couldn’t confess to knowing her as well as he should, but he had a feeling that from Ann Darrow, that meant more than from most others.
As she hurriedly walked past them, heading down to the decks below, Jack momentarily caught her gaze. Her expression was unreadable and he couldn’t help but wonder if she hadn’t only been talking about Carl.
When she disappeared from sight, Carl starred unseeingly ahead of himself for a long moment, the mask slipping, a thought of doubt swirling in his eyes. Then he shook his head and it was gone.
“Women, eh?” he said with an unconvincing smile, “You can never please ‘em.”
Jack declined to comment.
“Do you love her?” Carl asked quietly after a moment’s hesitation, leaning on the railing next to him. When Jack failed to answer that question he did it for him.
“I guess you do. More than your theatre anyway. You wouldn’t jump into a harbour for that. You faced a twenty five foot ape for her…”
He barked out a bitter laugh, “And what do you get for your troubles, eh? You’d have been better off trying your luck with the harbour.”
Carl laughed to himself once more, as though he found the whole thing rather ludicrous. Jack would have been offended if he hadn’t almost agreed with him.
“Look, don’t worry about,” Carl continued, slapping Jack on the shoulder and apparently ignoring the fact that he winced the instant he did so, “She’s just tired and emotional. Once she has a fur coat round her shoulders and is decorated to the hilt with diamonds, she’ll forget she was ever mad at you.”
Jack looked skywards, not quite able to decide if the other man was insensitive or simply stupid.
“Seriously, we’re gonna be rich, Jack,” Carl said, that worryingly manic grin spreading across his face once more, stabbing his finger towards the black silhouette on the shore, “We get that baby back to New York and people will pay whatever we ask to see it. I told you, I never stiff a friend. We’ll be famous. All of us. Just you wait and see.”
“You can count me out,” Jack muttered tiredly, running his fingers back through his slightly damp hair.
Carl looked at him incredulously, slipping so easily into his showman role, “Yeah, out of your damn mind more like!”
He grabbed Jack by the lapels of his coat.
“Don’t you see,” he said, brimming with excitement, “You could be a star, Jack! The sensitive writer who braved the jungle and the fury of the beast to rescue his lady love. People lap that kinda stuff up. They need that right now, they need to hear there’s still good around - god knows things are depressing enough out there as it is.”
“And since when are you a spokesman for the people, Carl?” Jack asked with a deep, concerned frown, shrugging Carl’s grasp off.
Carl scowled at him, suddenly fierce, his mood flipping as though Jack had pressed some kind of button.
“Hey, I’ve spent my entire life trying to please the people,” he snapped, stabbing his finger roughly into Jack’s chest, “I’m one of them, I know what they want. I know what they need. They need heroes.”
For the first time since they’d met Jack began to wonder what the obsession that drove him had really done to Carl Denham. Did the man live in the real world anymore? Did he even know it existed?
Jack shook his head and turned away, walking back below deck, “I’m sorry Carl, you’ve got the wrong guy. I’m not that man.”