Kong: Skull Island Reviews
As I stood at the box office, debating whether I wanted to watch Beauty and the Beast or Kong: Skull Island, I did something I seldom do. I bought a ticket to watch a movie I had not informed myself on.
You see, I usually research who was the director, writer, cinematographer, editor, and producers (in that order) of a movie before watching it. After doing this on a typical Sunday, I usually pick what movies I am going to watch throughout the week. In this instance, I did none of that. Instead, I allowed myself to be swayed by Tom Hiddleston‚??s soft eyes. Did I say Tom Hiddleston? I meant Brie Larson *ahem*.
Thus, I researched the crew who made Kong: Skull Island on my phone as I made my way 8 steps up and 9 seats in to the seat that practically has my butt engraved on it by now. Then it happened.
After finally informing myself on the production of the movie, I found out why King Kong was brought back and who was behind it. I spat out my Dr. Pepper after nearly choking to death and tried to claw my way out of the theater. Too late. The film had begun and I suffer from a weird habit that disallows me to leave a movie I started unseen. I was in to see Kong as envisioned by the same heretics who made the 2014 garbage that was Godzilla.
What I saw was no upgrade. Gone are the Academy Award visual effects that Peter Jackson surrounded King Kong with. Instead, the movie made Kong appear like the ugly plush gorilla a child threw away and its back for vengeance. The movie was shot in Hawaii and Vietnam. But I don‚??t feel that justifies trying to make the shots look like the ugly cousin of Apocalypse Now or Miss Saigon. The editing is almost insulting. The editor oddly focused on creating visual comedy rather than suspense or awe. I will say, some shots are done very well. For instance, there is a shot in which Samuel L. Jackson‚??s character hatefully looks at Kong as his soldiers scramble in fear (that‚??s what you get for sending soldiers and not Marines GOT ‚??EMMMM) and it does a stellar job at presenting the hate that will fuel his character arc the rest of the movie.
Unfortunately, the writing is underwhelming so none of that hate I mention will manifest into anything worth your time. None of the characters are intriguing in any way, shape, or form. In fact, they are the painfully cliched characters: the ex military, the scientists, and the pretty girl. This is upsetting because the movie does not lack a talented cast. However, none are used to their potential, not even Academy Award winner Brie Larson. They all play choppy characters, none of which have an interesting backstory or real reason to be there. Actually, now that I recall, nobody has a reason to be in Skull Island. The reason given at the beginning of the movie was ‚??let‚??s go to the island before Russia does.‚??
However, none of this pains me more than the writing of King Kong‚??s character. The essence of Kong is that he is a misunderstood beast. He has feelings and he is not just an average chest-thumping gorilla. And that is all he is in this adaptation. He is nothing but a big monkey that goes and beats up other big animals. In Peter Jackson‚??s adaptation, there is a relationship between Naomi Watts and Kong that allows the audience to feel for Kong. Here, Brie Larson‚??s character touches Kong‚??s face. Once. And that automatically changes the whole direction of the movie. Preposterous is what it is.
This being said, I enjoyed John C. Reilly‚??s character. A lot. He plays a WWII veteran who has been stranded in the island after crash landing there during the war. His acting was actually phenomenal and he was very entertaining. Was there a reason for his character to exist though? Nope. He‚??s just John C. Reilly doing John C. Reilly things.
Overall, I would not recommend this movie. But if you are a masochist who enjoyed the 2014 adaptation of Godzilla or just likes seeing big CGI things beat up other big CGI things, this is your movie. My review though: 1/4.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: With all of that in place, it's exceedingly frustrating that it actually relies more on the standard blockbuster side of things than it does on anything else, as it fails to properly delve into its charming elements and ideas, and crucially forgets about its characters too. Yes despite a great cast, none of them are able to peg a remotely investing character, as they're each given very little exploration, and actually spend the majority of their time talking about how they're going to get off the island. The irony of that is that we know our leads will all be fine, so it's almost biting time, and all the cool stuff consequently feels like an unnecessary diversion. Of course you may not be worried about that if the investment was strong enough, but the fact these weak characters keep going on about it only drives home the feeling all the more.
VERDICT: Whilst there is some quirky, cool and intelligent stuff here; in the end, 'Kong: Skull Island' winds up a pretty average blockbuster with very few engaging elements at all.