King Kong & the Battle of the Islands

Posted: November 7, 2013 by jperritt in Action, Adventure
Tags: , , , ,

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I realize I was one of the few who actually really liked this movie. I think most people didn’t care for it, because it’s difficult for them to categorize. People often want to lump this movie into the action/adventure/sci-fi genre and just move on. However, this movie is just as much a drama as it is an adventure tale.

Many critiques of the 2005 version of the film were in reference to the length. Those who paid money to see an action/adventure film were disappointed that the film had depth of character and plot. They wanted to see Kong destroy a bunch of stuff, but didn’t care about the emotional level Jackson created. Jackson has stated that King Kong was his all-time favorite film, and you can see that he told it with care. He paid homage to the classic film by recreating some of the exact scenes, but he gave the 1933 film a needed revamping.

An alternate title of this film could be, A Tale of Two Islands – Skull Island and Manhattan Island. The question I want to raise today is, which Island was more evil?

I understand that Skull Island might appear scarier. It had dinosaurs, bugs the size of a Mini Cooper, scary tribal people (not to mention the little tribal girl that made you think you had stumbled into a horror film) and a giant ape. You may even say that many people died on Skull Island, so that makes it more evil. Before we jump to any conclusions, however, let’s take a look at Manhattan Island.

Why were these group of people setting sail for Skull Island? Vanity, money, & fame. Carl Denham [Jack Black] and Bruce Baxter [Kyle Chandler] can’t wait to see their names in lights, as well as, the paycheck that accompanies it. There’s lying and cheating among the men of the ship. Denham uses the ship and crew for his selfish gain, ending up bringing about death and destruction all for the sake of money.

I understand that the creatures of Skull Island were vicious and destructive, but they are animals that act on instinct. They need food for survival, they need to fight for survival and they do not intentionally betray their own for survival – people do, though. While one can say that Carl Denham begins to question his motives, he stills proves to be quite selfish throughout the film.

One still might want to assert that humans aren’t near as destructive as Kong was, however, the humans did kill Kong. Yes, by that point in the film Kong had killed his fair share of humans, but there was no beast that was able to destroy Kong on Skull Island. It isn’t until Kong makes his journey to Manhattan that he finally meets his match.

While some might desire to assert that humans are naturally good, I think King Kong makes a pretty good case for those who make the opposite assertion. And, it’s a helpful reminder that Jesus also made assertions about the evil of mankind. He said, “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” [Mark 7:21-23] King Kong may be pretty vicious, but his heart ain’t got nothing on mankind’s.

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