Upon a Second Experience with Jackson’s King Kong

king_kongI recently watched the latest King Kong—again. I saw it at the theater when it was released some time ago. I remember the feeling I had when I left the first time and made a mental note to see the movie again; to think deeply about why I was so moved by this strange, otherworldly adventure. What really captured me was the relationship between Watts’ character, Ann Darrow, and the beast himself. You all know the story: the old beauty-offered-as-sacrifice-by-island-natives-beast-accepts-sacrifice-then-falls-in-love-with-beauty-but-has-to-chase-her-to-New-York plot. It’s tried and true. But this King Kong is so much wilder; so much more out of control and fierce. In the world that is King Kong, this creature is the alpha. And this version of Ann Darrow so much more broken and delicate. Even though I knew what was going to happen, I didn’t believe it was possible. Clearly Darrow is just no match for Kong. Clearly. But then something unexpected happens (at least as unexpected as it can be the third time around).

A friend of mine always says, “Pay attention to what moves you.” The relationship between Kong and Darrow slowly, or maybe not so slowly, stirred something within me as it was played out on the big IMAX screen. What happened is Darrow captured Kong’s heart. Through her antics she touched him. Just being who she was created to be, stepping into that “self” with everything it meant and with every flaw, she touched Kong. She decided, as a last resort, to reveal of full weight of who she is. In the final analysis all I can conclude is that Ann Darrow unveiled her heart. And in this vulnerability she touched even the most powerful of beings.

As I thought about it more afterwards I asked myself what it was about their relationship that was so moving. Was it his pursuit of her? Once enamored, he was relentless. Tireless. Fearless. Was it how fiercely he fought for her? Was it how beauty—neither inner beauty nor physical beauty, but a beauty greater than either—altered what appeared to be a certain fate? Through it all I began asking, “Is it possible that I could touch God in such a way … just being me? Nothing else?” In the unseen world that probably looks a lot like Skull Island, is God that fierce on my behalf? Are the battles for my heart that fierce? The whole flood of emotion prompted by Peter Jackson’s King Kong completely caught me off guard. But then again, I’ve also been known to shed a tear or so when that guy salutes Liv Tyler at the end of Armageddon, too.

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