Giant Apes, White Whales, Cheeky Monkeys, and a Can of Worms
It took two nights for my family and I to make it through Peter Jackson's epic 2005 remake of King Kong and-- despite the three hour running time-- everyone loved it . . . my kids loved the action, my wife loved the romance (especially the ice-sliding scene) and I loved how much the film reminded me of my favorite novel: Moby Dick . . . like Moby Dick, the story is too long, more of an adventure than a narrative, and both Kong and The White Whale are inscrutable violent natural forces-- a yin and yang of black and white, ocean and jungle . . . these creatures have nothing to do with idealistic environmentalism . . . let's save the dolphins and the panda bears . . . Kong and The Leviathan are far too frightening and primitive for that kind of sentiment, but at the heart of both animals is something deeply emotional and intelligent-- they are not monsters-- and because of this, they are both doomed . . . they go down fighting (and though Moby Dick breaks the Pequod in half and drags Ahab to his death, he is full of harpoons, wounded and hunted by man . . . he doesn't die at the end of the novel, but we all know what happened to the rest of his kin) and both King Kong and Moby Dick are stories of love and obsession . . . Carl Denham (Jack Black) has the same monomania for film and spectacle as Ahab does for the White Whale . . . both these creatures would be fine if left alone, but humans open the can of worms (or the barrel of monkeys, lots of metaphors here) and monkeys must meddle, it is in our nature, and then when we stare into the eye of the Other and call it monstrous, we have to wonder: who is the real monster?