Thursday, December 15, 2005

Review of King Kong(2005) and relation to Christian faith

After watching the movie King Kong, I found myself deeply mesmerized bythe story plot and the way Peter Jackson directed this supposedly adventure movie.

Before watching this show, I had assumed that it was something like a pure action movie starring a monster fighting against others and holding a woman in his hand, based on the caricature of the original King Kong (1933). However, once the show started, I found my assumption to be totally wrong. In this movie, the lead actress, Ann Darrow, found herself caught in a merciless world where profits and commercialization dictated the motives of the leading figures in the city. She was tricked by a director, Carl Denham, to board a ship that's supposedly bound for Singapore but eventually found themselves on a primitive island that Carl had in mind. On this island, Ann was kidnapped by tribal native and sacrificed to King Kong. Ann's lover, Jack Driscoll, convinced the others to make a rescue attempt. The captain of the ship, Captain Englehorn, together with Carl headed an incredible attempt to rescue Ann out from King Kong's hand. In the epic that followed, we witnessed how the friendship between Ann and King Kong built up. King Kong risked his life to save Ann. Though Ann had forged a friendship with King Kong, she chose to leave with the rescue crew back to the ship. However, at this point, King Kong refused to let her leave. Captain Englelhorn and Jack used Ann as a bait to trap King Kong and induced him into coma using chemical. King Kong was used as a commercial attraction to make profit in a urban city in America. As there was no way to domesticate King Kong, the Americans resorted to military weapons to kill him and that ended the friendship between Ann and King Kong.

After watching the movie, I took some time to reflect and I must tell you that this movie is worth reflecting. You may not agree with the insights that I have gleaned, but it's alright. We are unique individuals after all.

On the whole, I find this a tragic and sad movie, laden with exciting moments though.
(1) I sympathize with the plight of King Kong and Ann. Many a times, like Ann, we find ourselves trusted into situations that we did not choose. We may even be manipulated by others to achieve their ends. Even forced into situations which Ann herself did not choose, there is one thing she chose: she chose to befriend the alleged frightening and towering monster, King Kong. She was the only friend that King Kong ever had. Similarly, I am asking myself whether I would choose to befriend someone who looks threatening on the out front but actually is looking for companionship deep in the heart. There are a number of people whom we have come across who threaten others to increase their sense of security, who do not open themselves up so as to protect themselves. These are the groups who need friends more than others. They need someone to assure them that they are created in the image of God and we are to show care and concern even for them.

In Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, he taught us: "You have heard that it was said, `Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.'But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?

In a parable (Matt 25:40), he mentioned that:`I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

(2) When I saw King Kong risking his life to save Ann, this act reminds me of what Jesus said: "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." in John 15:3. The tragic in this movie is that Ann was helpless to save King Kong and to watch in vain when her friendship with him was manipulated by men for commercial benefits. Eventually, in the world dictated by profitability and material gains, King Kong would forfeit his life. Jesus entered into our world in times of tribulation and upheavals. He came at a timewhen there was no such thing as human rights, when the Romans ruled the Israelites with force and brutality, when the society was stratified into various classes and the various authorities like the Sadducees, Pharisees, Sanhedrin could not tolerate His existence. He was too much a radical to be allowed to live. He must die. Yet He died for our sins. The people whom He had taught before and whom He had healed before could only watch in vain as He hanged in extreme pain from the cross. (The most touching effect in the movie King Kong is how the eyes of King Kong and Ann were portrayed: Their eyes would look straight at you in your own eyes and that is enough to wench voluminous tears from your eyes). How would Jesus' eyes looked then? How would Mary, John, Peter and rest of the followers' eyes looked then?

(3) In asking why good people continue to suffer in this world, I found that the movie offers one of the answers. We are living in a world of where people have sinned and where all of us are selfish in nature. Even if we claim innocence, we may not escape the fate of being knocked down by drunken drivers, of being infected with diseases that we did not cause, of being trapped in a war that we did not call for, of being scapegoat of blames that were unknown to us, etc. Just like King Kong died in a city that he was foreign to and the cause which was not his in the first place.

As I reminisce, I can't help but to be conscious that we live in a world full of tragedies. One day, we will die. Our relationship with others will come to an end. Our parents and loved ones will leave us. Even in a country that's supposed to symbolize prosperity and equality like America, I found the country's history to be dotted with injustice. Examples: the native Indians were displaced and tricked into giving up their land and their population decimated after the invasion of the European settlers, either due to disease outbreak or under wars. Most black people were enslaved and denied their dignity until redeemed during the American Civil War in 1861-1865. But they were continuously being segregated and denied suffrage till the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960~1970. Right now, in Singapore, there are still some race/class discriminations: someone who is being abused, either at home as a maid, or in working place as an outcast, or in public places as being of the lowest class.

Where then does our hope lay? Is it in future, where the Isaiah prophesied (25:7-9): On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations;he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken. In that day they will say, "Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation." ?

Though, our faith offers us much hope and consolation in the future, but I believe our faith does speak to us powerfully in the present moment. The day Jesus Christ started His ministry about 2000 years ago, Hehas ushered in the Kingdom of God. In Luke 17:20-21-- Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, `Here it is,' or `There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you."He instructed us that the kingdom of God is already here, within us. It is already, but not yet. In His other parables, He also mentioned that though it started out as small as a mustard seed in a garden, one day it will be the largest plant in the garden. One day, the kingdom of God will overshadow all sorts of kingdom on earth. But we got to continue bringing the dominion within our sphere of influence under the influence of God. We got to continue to let God has sovereignty in our life. Tragic will ultimately result in good ending, because it is in the hand of God, always.

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