As I wade through the surf, back onto Skull Island, I’m wondering if I’m a little outgunned. Are Haven’s arguments the Kong to my Driscoll? If so, I need to find a reeeaaally tall building.
In all honesty, what follows is really my last ditch effort to save the story of King Kong from Haven. His take is very insightful – especially the Rousseau bit from his original post. I’m not sure I even agree totally with what I’ve written below, but if I was to defend the idea, here’s what I would say. In fact, I don’t really have a complete response to Haven’s ideas, which leave me wondering if I’m even allowed to like the film.
Haven asks if the “beauty and the beast” story is a Christian story. Let me first try to defend its being a Christian story. The beauty and the beast storyline is analagous to the salvation story in the sense that we are beastlike when Christ saves us. As the beast is transformed through the influence of his beloved, so we are transformed when . So it is a Christian story (whatever that means).
The problem is applying the theme to King Kong. Does Kong actually change? Of course he does. He finds companionship. He finds “love,” if we can call it that. He actually cares enough for Ann to fight for her. That’s something he never had before Miss Darrow’s advent. Ann does not bring out the worst in Kong. She is a calming influence. Kong is a better monkey when she is around. Shrek is brought into the discussion, but why? Ann does not become a gorilla. All the change is in a postive direction – gorillas becoming more human, not women becoming apelike. (Huh, sounds like evolution)
But Haven says that the monster is selfish, that he fights not for Ann but for himself. He is not behaving in a self-sacrifical way, as Collender argues, but in a self-ish way. This seems like a question merely of interpretation. Do we think that Kong is acting for himself or Ann? It’s just our opinion, right?
The answer depends on what we think Kong is. If we assume (dare I say presuppose?) that Kong is capable of emotion and feeling – in short, if we assume he is has human characteristics – then we can grant that his feelings are unselfish. If we assume that Kong is a brute monster, then of course his motives are selfish. Therefore, we can only show that Kong is a monster if we assume that Kong is a monster.
You tell me: does any of that even work?
Haven’s point about King Kong being an allegory about wanting what we shouldn’t is a fantastic one. I can’t see any way in which that doesn’t hold water.
After all this, I have to ask. The 2005 version of Kong follows the storyline (as I understand it) of the 1933 version. The storyline was not a secret. We all knew what would happen. My question to Haven is this: did you think you would like it? If so, why?
I wish we could go out for a beer and discuss this for hours. That would be neat. Hoos can come, but only if he explains his idea about the church and Kong as the devil.