1. King Kong 1933, 1976, 1986, 1998, 2005, 2017

Section
1. Build the Nature-Human Relationship
Chapter
1.5 Film, Documentaries, Podcasts
Page
1.5.1

The still above is from the 1933 classic, and watching it elicits a weird mix of emotions; from humour, to curiosity, to engagement, to sadness. There’s much that is brutal and clunky in the original, but it somehow draws the viewer in and Kong’s capture, humiliation and demise is genuinely moving.

Of course, there are many themes touched on by the movies, but what interests us in T10 is the exploration of the human-Nature relationship, and this relationship is presented differently in each movie. Earlier portrayals emphasise the wild fierceness of Nature, with Kong being one of a realm of terrifying creatures that battle and bludgeon their way across Skull Island. Despite this completely alien ‘unknowingness’, Kong still possesses something noble, something universal – love perhaps – in his care and ultimate sacrifice for Ann Darrow. There is great sadness also in his degradation at the hands of man; a cheap tawdriness at his exhibition as the Eighth Wonder of the World, and some sort of universal cry in his escape and refusal to be bowed, even if it means his end.

Later films emphasise less Kong’s alien nature and brutality and more his vulnerability to rapacious humanity. He is alone, and a metaphor for Nature, and is enraged at what is being done to him and his world – in this case, a very raw Garden of Eden – Skull Island. As an example of this later sensitivity to ‘the environment’, in the 1976 movie he is captured by oil barons and is transported back to New York in the hull of an oil tanker! It is not subtle, but the movie is strangely affecting, nonetheless.

An interesting article by Craig Mathieson (The Age, 8/12/2005), that traces Kong’s development, is reproduced below, and the 1933 original can be viewed here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3vuz-OMF2g

 

(Mathiesen, C. 2005. A Model Monster. The Age, 8/12)

Explore More Film, Documentaries, Podcasts

1.5.1. King Kong 1933, 1976, 1986, 1998, 2005, 2017

The still above is from the 1933 classic, and watching it elicits a weird mix of emotions; from humour, to curiosity, to engagement, to sadness. There’s much that is brutal and clunky in the original, but it somehow draws the viewer in and Kong’s ...

1.5.2. My Octopus Teacher

This is a truly special documentary which starts so quietly you’d think it impossible to leave the viewer at the end emotionally stunned, as well as joyous. I am still thinking about it almost a year after watching it and I think it will remain wi...

1.5.3. Quoll Farm ABC

There is much of ‘My Octopus Teacher’ in ‘Quoll Farm’, though the locations could hardly be more different: terrestrial, instead of aquatic; Tasmania rather than South Africa; an altered farm landscape instead of a largely intact ocean environment...

1.5.4. Etosha: Africa’s Untamed Wilderness. Living Edens Series

It is almost impossible to choose favourites, let alone a favourite, Nature documentary, they are so outstandingly shot and produced. Nonetheless, I will try to list one that I have never forgotten from years ago (1998) because of the way it trans...

1.5.5. Nature Walkabout

I include ‘Nature Walkabout’ both as a personal indulgence and as a representative of the times, and I believe, of several similar TV series and documentaries shown around the world in the ‘60s. (I look forward to readers’ examples of these). T...

1.5.6. Kangaroo: A Love-Hate Story

This is a very difficult documentary to include, not because of any doubts as to its quality or accuracy, but because the content is often confronting, and because of the embarrassment you will feel if you are an Australian. As the New South Wales...

1.5.7. Life on Earth: A Natural History

Just as with Ansel Adams’ wonderful photography (see 1.8.5), or William Blake’s ‘Tyger’ (1.9.7), it would be mean-spirited to leave out ‘Life on Earth’ just because it is so well-known. And well known it is, with an estimated 500 million people se...

1.5.8. Roger Swainston: Drawn to Water

This is a fascinating story of intense focus, exquisite skill, and most importantly, the ability to see life. When I look at a close-up of an illustration of a lobster carapace by Roger I can’t believe he’s drawn it: the detail and the irridescenc...

1.5.9. Off Track: Live Long, Little Lizard

After the ABC’s Natural History Unit was shamefully closed in 2007 there has been precious little for lovers of Nature in this, one of the world’s ‘megadiverse’ countries, and with the globe’s highest number of unique species2. Insid...

1.5.10. Hooked on Growth

Dave Gardner is the perfect heretic: softly-spoken, mild-mannered, unflappable, and with a sense of humour, very hard to demonise and marginalise as ‘crazy’, ‘eccentric’, ‘dangerous’, ‘racist’, or ‘anti-people’. Heretics are, at best, dismissed, a...

Explore Other Sections

1. Build the Nature-Human Relationship
1. Build the Nature-Human Relationship 1.1 Articles 1.2 Art Installations 1.3 Books 1.4 Buildings 1.5 Film, Documentaries, Podcasts 1.6 Music 1.7 Paintings 1.8 Photographs 1.9 Poems 1.10 Spiritual Responses
1/11

1. Build the Nature-Human Relationship

This section is designed to foster appreciation and insight that will – hopefully – lead to novel ways to build a better relationship between human beings and Nature. This section is also atypical ...
2. Reduce Consumption
2. Reduce Consumption

2. Reduce Consumption

I hope Reneé Descartes would forgive us for saying that, at least for the modern world, he was wrong.  When, in 1637, he said: “I think, therefore I am”, he could not have anticipated that the majo...
3. Replace God of Growth with God of Quality
3. Replace God of Growth with God of Quality

3. Replace God of Growth with God of Quality

In a supposedly secular age there has arisen a global religion and god like never before, a religion whose reach and power makes every other belief system before it seem pitiful and insignificant: ...
4. Work, Volunteer, Act for the Environment
4. Work, Volunteer, Act for the Environment

4. Work, Volunteer, Act for the Environment

What we do in our day-to-day lives can have great impact. Section Four divides up these actions into three groups – Work (4.2 & 4.3), Volunteering (4.4), and Action, e.g. voting, protesting, et...
5. Reduce Population
5. Reduce Population

5. Reduce Population

Even on top of Mt. Everest, in one of the remotest, most difficult places on earth, there is a great traffic-jam of people jostling for position. And yet, ever more vociferously, we deny that overp...
6. Ensure Media Acknowledgement of Environmental Context
6. Ensure Media Acknowledgement of Environmental Context

6. Ensure Media Acknowledgement of Environmental Context

The media is one of the three, great ‘poles’ of power in the world (alongside political and corporate power) and how they frame and present ‘the environment’ has a profound effect on how we respond...
7. Stop Further Loss of Natural Habitat and Species
7. Stop Further Loss of Natural Habitat and Species

7. Stop Further Loss of Natural Habitat and Species

New York is an exciting, mesmerising place. Human culture is extraordinary and often wonderful. Our powers of transformation of the natural world seem limitless. The trouble is, we don’t seem to be...
8. Assist Energy Descent and Transition
8. Assist Energy Descent and Transition

8. Assist Energy Descent and Transition

Our current energy largesse is an extraordinary ‘gift’, an unprecedented gift of the ages; millions of years to produce and from millions of years ago. Coal, oil and gas, forming...
9. Support New, Environmentally-Aware, Economic Systems
9. Support New, Environmentally-Aware, Economic Systems

9. Support New, Environmentally-Aware, Economic Systems

Just as with the previous section – ‘Energy’ – which is, inescapably, all about fossil fuels so pre-eminent and extraordinary has been their dominance and transformation of the world in the last 20...
10. Reduce Wastes to the Rate of Natural Assimilation
10. Reduce Wastes to the Rate of Natural Assimilation

10. Reduce Wastes to the Rate of Natural Assimilation

Section 10 will attempt to organise this enormous topic by addressing the context and status of pollution in 10.2, before focussing in on air pollution; particularly greenhouse gas pollution and cl...