Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island (2017)
Rent Kong: Skull Island on Amazon Video
Written by: Dan Gilroy and Max Borenstein and Derek Connolly (screenplay), John Gatins (story by), Merian C. Cooper, Edgar Wallace (based on the character created by, uncredited)
Directed by: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, John C. Reilly, John Goodman, Corey Hawkins, Toby Kebbell, Jason Mitchell, Shea Whigham

My rating is simple, Watch It, It Depends, Skip it. Read my previous movie reviews!

A team of scientists and military explore an uncharted island in the Pacific, discovering the mighty Kong which forces them to fight to escape the island and its inhabitants.

Kong  is a big budget popcorn movie. It's an action movie with plenty of punch. Setting it in the '70s gives it the quality of a mythical tale. While the science is a bit wonky, introducing more giant beasts than just King Kong definitely helps. This can be ridiculous and scattered, but it's a lot of fun. It doesn't delve far into the characters, but with such competent actors it fools you into liking them.
Watch it.

This doesn't start how I expected, with a World War I pilot crash landing on an island, but this plays a larger role later. We then pick up in 1974. The time period works well. King Kong has always been an old time classic, and this time period makes it more of a fun myth. It's like a story your grandpa tells you about. With a quick paced movie and solid actors, it works.
While the characters are little more than stock, the actors get a lot out of them and the movie throws a lot of them at us to cover the deficiencies. Brie Larson plays photographer Mason Weaver who is the start of a character but receives no development after the introduction, a standard for most of the characters. Tom Hiddleston is a blank slate former solider serving as a guide.
Samuel L. Jackson has a Captain Ahab by way of Moby Dick arc that seems strange, but is there just to get us to the big finale.

The introduction to Kong and ensuing fight is just awesome. It does everything a big CGI fight should and plays in part on Apocalypse Now (1979).
The hollow Earth theory seemed like unnecessary science, but despite being unlikely it serves as a fragile bridge to the host of animals on this island. We keep meeting new creatures that just get worse. I wondered why Kong was so scarred up, but you'll meet that creature soon enough.

The most ridiculous story point employed just to push the plot forward is the boat that seemingly has magic gas, the non-existent tools used to fix it, the short time in which they fix it, and the radio that plays while they work. Yes, they play a radio on an island far removed from civilization.  Set in the '70s we get lots of period songs.

This all leads to the big final battle. The movie isn't without flaws, and it hints at much more character development that ever occurs, but it's miles better than Godzilla (2014) (read my review).

This is part of a MonsterVerse series of films. The first movie was Godzilla (2014). Future plans include Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), followed by Godzilla vs. Kong (2020).

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