Thursday, October 19, 2006

Burgled

I subscribe to a free on-line magazine that I don't really read mainly because I don't care for a majority of the subject matter. It's a video game webmag called The Escapist that I found through my nerdly link-clicking, a path that would be mapped in the shape of a spider's web, I would figure. Anyway, every now and then, I get an e-mail saying that the new issue of The Escapist is out. I browse the topics of the articles and either follow a link or put it into my "recycle bin."

All of the articles in each issue revolve around a general topic, though a little more focused than just "video games." For instance, there was an issue dedicated to women and video games, and the articles covered everything from female videogame developers to depictions of women in videogames to the obligatory female gaming demographic. Topics like this make the magazine--an e-zine, more appropriately--a very smart and engaging read even if I'm not necessarily as hardcore a gamer as they may be aiming for. Most of the time the topics are over my head in regards to gaming specifics (i.e., I don't know much about card games like Magic: The Gathering, the history and the developments of the company called Ubisoft, etc.) and I just usher these e-mails out of my inbox.

One of the most recent issues (if not the most recent at the time of this boast) deals with mythology in video games and my ears perked a little. This issue is really interesting and prone for good analysis, but the lead article made me a little sad. Titled, "Bungie's Epic Achievement", the writer compares the Halo video game series to the Roman poet Virgil's epic poem, The Aeneid. Those two specifics didn't bother me, I couldn't care less about Halo and I don't think one can find something in The Aeneid that isn't found or done better in the earlier The Iliad and The Odyssey.

No, what brought me down was that this was something I had already done with this very internet web log over a year ago with a boast that I continuously reference, Dulce Et Utile: The Supremacy Of Solid Snake. Not that what their article accomplishes is any worse than what I did in mine, in fact it's probably better in some ways (though, I'm sure, hardly as well-researched). I guess I'm just saying that great minds think alike...some are just faster than others. Yet others get published in e-zines and some just sit on a blogger account.

Boo-yah. Now here's a drawing I did of Batman thus finalizing the shift in this blog away from educated analysis and into all-out nerddom:

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Old Ichi-Ni

I generally like the kind of person I am today, and if I rejected the close associations I held during my formative years with comic books, console video games, and cartoons then my parthenon would just be non as it would have no pillars to hold up the heavy ceiling of adulthood.

Since returning to school and taking my studies seriously, I thought that I all but abandoned my nerdy past by diving headlong into literature and the wonder of language. Slowly, however, things start creeping back and I noticed things that, despite having a fine layer of dust over the exposed areas, are quite spectacular. With my mind now being focused through a more tempered lens--thanks to the churning of age and gaining less of a newborn-closed-eye consciousness--I'm appreciating all the things I had left behind with a glee that makes me realize many are still quite relevant to an adult mind and could actually be more intellectually potent than previously expected.

So, let's talk about anime. In regards to this enlightening rediscovery I've been experiencing, the realm of Japanese animation is a genre that has shifted most during travel. I think with anime it was the chase for home-copied tapes of guerilla-translated shows and movies you could only find for sale only at comic book conventions and independent comic book stores that got me going originally since there was hardly a diverse catalogue commercially available. Getting a hold of anime at that time could be comparable to, and this is only speculation, big game hunting. You know the score is out there, but the hunt itself is as taxing and demanding as any organized sport.

The problem I eventually found was that most anime is shit. Sure, we'll hold Transformers and Voltron off to one side for nostalgia, but face it: those shows were terrible, especially the latter. For many elitists in my anime-chasing days, the idea was that because this content came from Japan (considered by lesser nerds such as myself to be a veritable Oz or Never-Neverland where pain dies and dreams explode out of Fuji), and also because many of these cartoons carried very mature subject matter, this somehow made every shard of anime above and beyond any American cream ever produced or to ever be produced. But I took a step back and saw that many of the movies were just violent with a more demanding plot to be found in Die Hard: With A Vengeance. Most of it was weird without being artistic, disgusting without being relevant, or nudity for the sake of, um, looking at gigantic, shiny boobs.

A golden few stuck, though, and some are still balancing on Judgement's scales.

There have been two movies based on the series of novels titled Vampire Hunter D, all of which have been written by one Hideyuki Kikuchi. In terms of being a good movie, the second--and most recent--film, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, is the better of the two, but the first, simply titled Vampire Hunter D, is iconic in its placement among early anime in the United States.

Until recently, these novels were unreleased in the states in nearly any form. But hardcore anime fanboys/girls (referred to with the Japanese pejorative term, otaku) whined and someone answered, bringing the Vampire Hunter D novels stateside in a result which has proven, to me at least, that it's both for better and for worse.

I picked up the first book with the intention of bringing closure to having art books full of illustrations by Japanese illustrator Yoshitaka Amano that were made for the VHD novels without this California kid having any idea of their context to the greater story. Now I would finally be able to make sense of all these beautiful drawings and paintings that have influenced me since my teenage epoch. And while that dream did get removed from my things-to-do list, I quickly realized that this psychological peace came with a backswing.

Otakus are vehement in their love for all things Japanese, some seem to be willing to give themselves over to indentured servitude than recognize any other type of art form. With that in mind, I think that otakus (not just necessarily VHD fans, whom I would like to believe can be a relatively rational bunch, I'm speaking instead of the real wackos) really, really wanted to read these books in as pure a form as possible, and translator Kevin Leahy was willing to do that. As a result, these extremists can walk around and basically say, "I read 吸血鬼ハンターD" and not, "I just read the recent translation of the Vampire Hunter D novels."

Translation
has a certain stigma attached to it that frightens otakus as they have frequently been 'betrayed' by terribly re-written translations of anime that actually do stray from the show's or movie's original storyline (according to friends of mine, the earliest and most well-known case of this Frankensteinian butchery is the Robotech series). From the way the VHD novel read, it seemed that it was quite a literal translation due to severely questionable stylistic choices. The largest spurs that stuck out to me were constant re-explanations by the omniscient narrator of events previously explicated through dialogue or subtler narration. There were also a lot of exclamations made by this non-obtrusive narrator that broke that fourth wall between reader and escapist fantasy, similar to the "Oh! My swineherd!" outbursts made by Homer in his The Odyssey.

But I'm taking for granted that Kikuchi is considered a reasonably good writer in Japan, and it's easy to guess that due to his incredible success (though, I will admit, success does not always translate to actually being good at something). Because of that, I am willing to assume that his style is actually quite amenable to the Japanese language, more than to English. When literally translated into English with no regard to its stylistic practices, it just comes off as bad writing and that frightens me.

Why?

Because as I read this fascinating story hidden behind poor style and shaky grammar, I was suddenly burdened with the mental image of all the extremist otakus rushing to their computers, eager to write their fan fiction in the same exact way they just read Kikuchi.

According to Wikipedia, Kikuchi is comparable "to both Stephen King and H.P. Lovecraft," to which Kikuchi owes more to the latter. He's gone to college and has made a successful living at writing. That is, he has studied literature and writing and he knows how to use the Japanese language most effectively for his horror-fantasy novels. The first VHD book alone is littered with clever allusions to myths, legends, and customs from all over the world and throughout its history. As a creator, I'm sure Kikuchi would rather have his work figuratively translated instead of literally, in order to convey the art he has created as much as possible in the English language.

But then there's the problem: I loved the book. I couldn't put it down. I think this is more due to Kikuchi's talent than Leahy's, who adds insult to the previous injury by throwing in a right hook that I wasn't expecting since he happens to need a copy-editor STAT. Within this book I have never seen so many published grammatical mistakes that could have and should have been easily caught and repaired. Missing quotation marks, possessive apostrophes, and--my favorite--a completely wrong word. Occurring at one particularly dramatic point, a character refers to another as the "lord of the manner." I slapped my forehead and started to cry.

That Leahy used the completely wrong spelling, an error that denies the line and the scene any dramatic value, is something that should not have been missed by, at least, an editor or publisher, much less a writer who, presumably, went over the manuscript more than once. Sure, it's an honest mistake, but how forgiving should the consumer be to a cutthroat industry (the same type of people that decided to put out a William Hung album) These books are going on sale and will be found at bookstores nationwide. An error like that is embarrassing, but not enough to make me stop reading, and I bet publishers DH Press and Digital Manga Publishing are counting on forgiving souls much kinder than I to continue buying their books, despite being a flawed product. As two small publishing houses trying to establish a reputation, it's sad to see that they let a major release go out with smears.

I would like to see these stories done right and my only wish is that Kikuchi or Amano don't know enough English to see the linguistic butchery that's been accomplished with this first book...but, goddammit, if I haven't purchased the second one already.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Fat Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Yes, today is actually Fat Tuesday because of all the crap I have eaten. The feasts in question have been thrown in celebration of my birthday which happened today and it was wunderbar. The ceremonies were kept to a minimum and everybody was really nice, which was all I could ask for.

Unfortunately, the biggest disappointment on my birthday came from me. The beloved shirt I crafted out of sleepy spite has gone missing, but I guess I could easily make another one...or buy it (I can feel myself selling out). For a few years, at least, I had thought of myself as bearing some semblance to a responsible adult, but as this misappropriation of personalized clothing proves, I am but a spoiled child. Oh well, it's lost to the ether that has swarmed over my life recently, both good and bad.

And as for my absence from the blogging heavens, join the hunt. My presence in general seems to be something that, as of late, fears exposure like a comic book nerd fears the sun. The truth is that, as grammatically disastrous the last Drunk Post may have seemed, its content is as true as if I had written it sober. That is, I just haven't been moved enough to spend the time and work out a thoroughly entertaining-cum-informative and interesting Boast.

In clarification, my Boast on blogging can be personally summarized as follows: I blog informal essays and you can, too. I use this arena to hone my lackluster skills as a debater and prove to myself that essays can be an entertaining read as well as being viable expressions of belief. In that regard, I haven't found something in a long time about which I feel I could express my opinion as an equally entertaining internet digression in addition to being a well written essay. Take that last sentence for example, talk about confusing.

For example, I have written a Boast regarding Superman Returns which delineates the modern definition for what a "comic book movie" is and isn't, but something wasn't working and so it sits on some server somewhere, waiting to become relevant again.

But it hasn't, and it probably won't, and that makes me sad-ish.

Things I got for my birthday:

Monday, July 17, 2006

Drunk Post #4

Hrello, kids. Once again, when filled with the void ;left behind by an in credible lack of subjects to write about, Dan feels he must opost another durnk postr!

I feel that this time, though I feel taht 4everyu time I do one of these I am more and more so, I am more drunk than when I posted the last one.

For anyone wondering aobut my absence from BOB, it is not because Im necessarily working on a new exciting post, then yoyu are terribly mistaken. In fact, I have not posted because I am afraid I have nothing to write about. N ot for lack of trying. I've got about three aborted posts saved on here that have amounted to nothing despite my effrots to be entertaining and informative (tyring to write what I wanted to know, that is). Due to this incredible lack of inspriation one can insinuate that that it is because my personal life is something of an active furnace right now. Once I become bored, I assure you rthat I will post something new and exciting. I promise. That's how creativity works.

So, in BoB news, I updated the "Historiacl Maladies" t-shirt to make the purpose of the front an easier read without so much reading being necessary.

That's about it. I apologize for the subpar quality of this inadequate blog in general. If it makes any difference, be assured that no matter how good a boast is, every single one is done with my best efforts, at least the best that I ca n put forward;l. I'm going to sleep now.

Keep a good thought,

-Dan

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Literary Masturbation

"Do you write because you have a thing to say?"
"No."
- from Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer

I've been promising a post about blogging for several months and only now am I able to finally piece together the exact ideas I have about the hobby. Surprisingly, in the last few years (it seems to be even more recent than that) the noun "blog," the verb "to blog," and its present participle, "blogging," have become integrated into the American lexicon along with recent inductees such as the noun "Starbucks" (e.g., I'm going to go get a Starbucks), and the verb "to text." In nearly every American household, digital communication is becoming more efficient than a movie star's personal trainer.

The lack of a standard plug-in-the-wall telephone is not uncommon with the ease, availability, and cost effectiveness of cell phone service providers (indeed, I currently live in a house without a standard telephone). And even cell phones, more commonly abbreviated as simply "phones," are seamlessly integrated into the worldwide connectivity of the Internet, becoming vessels for more than merely speaking but also for text messaging (texting), "instant messaging" (are they the same thing?), e-mail (how long until we have a generation that doesn't know what the E stands for?), and browsing the internet.

And upon the Internet is where the blog can be found. Blogs for every damned thing one could think of exist somewhere within this primordial forest of binary columns and sloppy html. There are even blogs dedicated to the world of blogging and websites composed to collect and distribute the addresses of blogs. But what is a blog? That is the source of my discretion.

Unfortunately, a blog is many things, much like the word book isn't a concrete definition for the multitudes of content available in printed form. A blog could be defined as a venue to show updates made to a website, to report the news as it pertains to a website or the world, a diary, a journalistic tool, a creative outlet, and a political soapbox among many, many others.

People reveal their inner torments through their blogs as well as rant incoherently about their personal vendettas against the modern political machine; it frightens me that so much of it is being taken seriously by the general public as well as the professional media. For the former it seems that they forget that what they are writing can be viewed by every person in the world with a computer and internet access, the latter knows this and uses the arena to start a fight. So, with this in mind, the question that should arise for anyone considering starting a blog is, "how will the world see me through my blog?"

This is the most important question even though people easily retort with, "I don't care what people think of me." Even if you don't care, the people that don't like you, as well as those that do, will let you know because their digital voice can be just as loud as yours. The exploitation of this possibility (being either the positive or negative response) can cause people to shut down, suddenly making the internet into the anti-Wonderbra for world culture: even though it lowers the difficulties against worldwide communication, the anonymity allowed separates a person from the standard practices of etiquette and morality involved with normal human interaction. With the protection anonymity provides, people are able to care even less.

But we must care about something. Why? Because people still blog, and they are posting stuff that's coming straight from their guts. What's lost in the process is why we are blogging every little thing that comes into our heads. Are people just (figuratively) ejaculating their inner secrets into public view simply because it makes them feel good? Do we need to know everything about you?

The golden rule of writing taught by elementary and High School instructors seems to stand in favor of the current blogging trend, however: Write about what you know.

Well, yes, but please do so in a way that intrigues and enlightens the reader (Dan's buzzword: DULCE ET UTILE!). What will the reader learn from what you know other than another facet within you? It could be that the value of the written word may be falling as easy access to the form keeps increasing as dramatically as it has in the last few years--are people forgetting that what they are writing down is going to be recorded? What a person posts on their blog, or on their website, or in an e-book they sell on some P.O.D. site, could very well be there for a very, very long time. One might as well make it something worth keeping. So I suggest a revision to that golden rule of writing, if I could word it any better:

Write about what you want to know.

Save the flushed cheeks, box of tissues, and embarassment in the bathroom, bedroom, or wherever you like to get your rocks off--just keep it out of the public because, in the end, would you read it?

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Brokeback Bethel

My Brokeback Mountain post was written, purposefully, before I had seen the movie. Then I saw the film and since have come to own it--no jokes, please. I enjoyed the movie immensely though I'm still not sure what got to me more: the solid acting, the haunting arppegios of the lonely background music, or the powerful story. Despite all the jokes that have been made at its expense or the strong antagonism that has greeted it since its release, the movie is an amazing piece of work as a film.

And still I can't escape it. Today, my buddy introduced me to a fantastic feature at MyHeritage.com. It offers a service where, for free, a body can upload a picture and through the wiles of magical modern technology it tells you which celebrity your face remotely resembles (regardless of gender!). And, as if a clearer message were trying to be sent to me, my results were surprisingly similar despite how often I tried (in scientific investigation, not because I disliked the results, necessarily), especially with one celebrity in particular:These just represent the multiplicity of Heaths that I was given, with many of the above images being repeated within multiple results. The gauges at the bottom represent the exact percentage my photographed face resembled the respective celebrity. So I guess that the badly photoshopped image I put at the bottom of the related post is not too incorrect considering this curb between fiction and reality.

Other celebrities whom the digital diviner told I resembled were:
Johnny Depp stuck out as the real wild card for me, hinting that something about how this program works was amiss. For those of you wondering, all the pictures I submitted of me were ones I have saved on my computer from various published and unpublished Boasts and others with the exception of a few that I took at the beginning of this investigation which aren't worth looking at--I hadn't showered.

So, check it out. The service will undoubtedly give anybody who attempts it an ego-boost.

Look out for a full Boast coming soon.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Validation

Pre-Script: Here's the official press release of the contest winners. Apparently, it was also in the local newspaper as well, I feel so special right now.

Just a quick mumble about exciting things that I felt like sharing.

I won the honorable mention in the Cal Poly Creative Writing Contest and my story will be published along with the other winning entries in the school's literary magazine this Spring. Tonight I'm struggling with the writing of a "biographical note" that will precede the story. There just isn't much to write about, yet. One of the wonderful things about the win is the positive validation I've been receiving from members of the faculty, including my father who has proudly displayed the results outside his office door. I will also get to read an excerpt of the story at this year's Open House celebration. Needless to say, I'm excited.

Also, 2 new shirts are on sale at the Baubles of Bethel that feature strong insinuations of previous posts. Also for sale is a mug that I, at least, will surely buy. I'm very excited about it.

Those that read this know I'm not a big fan of posting stuff about my private life (despite the 2 lengthy posts about it, but that was before I learned it was a bad thing for me to do), but people hassled me to reveal this exciting little slice of the life of Bethel.

Keep a good thought,

-DCVB

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Consider the Source

There's a free weekly newspaper that litters downtown bus stop benches and the floors of fast-food restaurant bathrooms, and it's called New Times. They're garnering a lot flack lately because of bad editing decisions over the last few weeks. As the weeks passed the quality of the affronts only became more obvious.

This week the cover story on the apparent Meth problem in my podunk county guided the reader inside to view the ingredient list and recipe on how to make the drug. I'm sure many experimental and disgruntled teenagers were ecstatic.

Last week, the publication's cover story focused upon the death of a local police officer; he was a troubled man who killed himself when he found he was going to be arrested for sexual misconduct and abuse. I'm not going to judge the man, the adverb "allegedly" preceded nearly every allegation in the story, but it's clear that while he may not have been a saint, his death left behind a wife and their children. With that in mind, the title on the cover was "COP OUT" and the header above the story itself ended with "...so he skipped out of town--permanently."

But I'm talking about the incident that started the whole problem, at least the one that started bringing in a copious amount of letters to the editor.

It was the week that Brokeback Mountain arrived in theaters (I was going to put "came out" but that would only lead to misinterpretation) and the review in this paper was accompanied by a small picture taken from the movie that was crowned with the caption: "Homo On the Range."

The choices the paper's editor has made recently are receiving incredible scrutiny from the readers. But what can we expect? It's a free local arts & entertainment newspaper, how much can we trust its investigative reporting and how much can they expect the reader to trust? Unfortunately, the editors and staff writers of this periodical take themselves too seriously, I think, and even they forget that they are writing for an audience larger than the population of their offices. On both ends the entire problem stems from a lack of consideration of motives, meaning, and sources. Brokeback Mountain is another perfect example of this lacking reflection.

Kevin Smith puts a lot of homosexual humor into his films and outside organizations have reacted negatively to it. However, in his fantastic (and hilarious) Q&A DVD (entitled "An Evening With Kevin Smith") Smith says he fills his movies with that humor out of respect for his homosexual brother. Watch the DVD for specific details.

Like Smith's films, a lot of people are taking Brokeback Mountain out of context. Some people are seeing the film as an issue movie, one propogated by the evil homosexual shadow organizations around the world.

But this is Ang Lee--the man that could pass as a young Dalai Lama if swathed in an orange robe and bespectacled. If one were to divide directors into three categories, the artistically-motivated (including Francis Ford Coppola, Tim Burton, and Martin Scorsese), the politically-motivated (Michael Moore, Steven Spielberg [in inspiration and not in aim], Oliver Stone, Spike Lee), and the entertainment-motivated (Sam Raimi, Peter Jackson, and Clint Eastwood), Lee would be a part of the first, artistically-motivated group. Looking at Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Sense & Sensibility, and even Hulk one can see that it's not the content of the film that he's necessarily pushing but it's the work as a film that interests him. He tried to do the same thing with Hulk as he did with Crouching Tiger..., to make a relatable, beautiful movie--and, arguably, Hulk could have been so if they'd cut 2 of the 3 endings they tacked on. And, in sequence, Lee's doing the same thing again with a little-known short story.

People are always referring to the film as "the gay cowboy movie," which, I guess, is what it is. But that people shrink in fear from it, as if everyone who worked on the film was gay (they weren't) and it had some incredible power to turn the viewer gay (it can't) and that being gay meant living a life not unlike the undead, void of all thought and meaning (it doesn't). As soon as it became associated with homosexuality and not the story of impossible love (re: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) people created expectations that aren't founded (re: Hulk). It's just a movie. Most people, and I'm not joking, half-way expect the damned thing to be a musical fairy-land where two guys frolic beneath Montana's big sky holding hands, adorned in bright colors and call each other "bitch" all the time as they blow kisses to each other.

From what I understand this is not the case. I have yet to see the movie but I look forward to doing so. What this whole "controversy" reveals is that while some (most, hopefully) thought that American society was growing more tolerant of fellow people, many still can't believe that people with one different quality of living can have the same tragedy, comedy, history, love, sadness, and intelligence of "normal" life. But life is defined by the differences that present themselves as we stroll along. We all think of ourselves as "normal" and we judge everything on the base values established by our very selves. Difference is normal, or else we may not even realize we are alive.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Jumping the Shark...

...As it were. Interest was expressed by friends of mine (and fellow BoB readers) of owning paraphernalia adorned with drawings featured in my Boasts. So, at no cost (and no profit) to me, I have made available t-shirts with drawings on them and witty quotes on the back. So far there are only two designs, but hopefully I'll be clever and draw some more for future boasts and merchandise.

I'm not making any money off it (in order to do that I'd have to jack up the price and they're expensive enough as it is), so don't buy if you don't want to. I'm just letting you know that they're out there.

Look for a new boast in a few weeks. I'm gathering my resources and have a good string of future boasts in the works. Thanks for being patient.

Keep a good thought,

-DCVB

Monday, January 02, 2006

Foul is Fair

This boast may contain spoliers for those uninitiated into the story of King Kong. If you have no idea how it ends then, please, do not read this. Go read Hamlet or Macbeth, go see the movie, then come back here and we'll talk. Thanks-DCVB

Peter Jackson said that his filmed versions of The Lord of the Rings were to be considered more Tolkein's vision than his own. For the sake argument I'm going to say he succeeded in that respect because the follow-up to that venture was indeed a vision belonging solely to the hobbitish Kiwi (though from the recent looks of him, a very svelte-hobbitish Kiwi. I guess he started taking eating lessons from Christian Bale).

King Kong shocked me in a few ways. First, as a closet-slut for entertainment news, I was shocked upon reading a few years ago that Jackson was going to re-make King Kong, something that I thought he was forced to do--but I didn't know the story. Secondly, as an employee of a movie theater (formerly, a theatre), I was shocked that the run time of the damned thing tickled the edge of 3 and a half hours. Lastly, as a viewer, I was shocked at how incredibly artful this movie ended up being, despite the fact my haunches were at least two kinds of numb. When I say "artful" I mean more of a literary artistry than a visual one (which was done beautifully--duh). Reading as much hard (as in "hardcore" or "hard sci-fi" instead of "difficult", though that may apply in certain instances) literature as I've been required to do has bashed certain archetypical generalizations into my brain that flash across my thoughts as if in an epileptic ecstasy. Throughout the film my mind twitched out such terms as "fortune's wheel," "tragic hero," "Prince of Denmark," "I can't feel my ass!" among others. It's a knee-jerk thing but it really brought to mind that Jackson, finally as a filmmaker without a point to prove, was able to take what was once (as listed on IMDb) action/adventure/fantasy/horror/thriller (in alphabetical order to boot!) and bend it into a full-blown Shakespearean tragedy with a scarred ape as its tragic hero. In all, and for the sake of being long-winded, Jackson's gargantuan Kong is a tragic hero in the same way that Hamlet, Macbeth, and Romeo & Juliet are.

There are only a few films that I've seen that I think can fall into the category of Shakespearian tragedy that, of course, aren't Shakespeare plays. It may sound strange, but Jackson's King Kong fits into this slot along with previous entrants being Oliver Stone's Nixon and Clint Eastwood's Mystic River and Million Dollar Baby. Mystic River is unique in that it is really an ensemble tragedy with more than one "hero" at the center of the plot. But that's for a different entry, I guess.

Classical Greek philosopher Aristotle, who for some reason expostulated quite a bit upon drama, delineated the tragic hero as a character that possesses the qualities of goodness, superiority, a tragic flaw, and the realization of the flaw resulting in a moment of clarity. While it could be easily argued, probably because of the fact that it's true, that Kong's tragic flaw is his gigantic ape-ness which could moot the "realization" because it begs the question, "can an ape realize that it is an animal and not the human it wants to be?"

That's hard to say being that I, and most of those reading this, are not simians.

I would argue instead that Kong's tragic flaw is his greed, his need to have what he wants. It's what makes him king on a creepy little island; that he can take what he wants and keep it from a bevy of Tyrannosaurs (despite their 3-fingered hands) is what makes Kong the cocky bastard that scares the natives of the island into submission. He does have a realization of his flaw by the end and it's the innate knowledge the audience has acquired about tragic heroes from films and plays that makes it engrossing. It's the tragic hero's realization in the story coupled with the audience's own realization that they're expecting this sacrificial behavior from a computer generated ape that makes Kong such an amazing character as Peter Jackson has imagined him.

I think by doing this Jackson has made a real step toward bringing class back to the blockbuster movie in a good bunch of movies that are doing that right now, though I think the real reason behind this is to create an Academy Award category for digital actors because he feels Andy Serkis got robbed for his role as Gollum.