Friday, March 10, 2017
Kong: Skull Island Review
King Kong is a character that first showed up in the 1933 classic "King Kong" and has since made his way to various forms of media since, including several different movies and remakes throughout the years, the most recent being the 2005 remake by Peter Jackson. How does this movie hold up to all the previous King Kong material? Well, I'll let you be the judge of that. I wasn't expecting it to live up to any previous movie. I just wanted to see a fun movie with a giant ape wreaking havoc when some dumb Americans decided to trespass on his island. As far as expectations go, I went in not sure what to think. I loved the first trailer. I didn't like the second trailer. I heard mostly negative things from the YouTube critics I subscribe to, but the movie was certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes despite all of that (79 percent currently with 195 reviews counted), so there is apparently some sort of disconnect. But that's exactly what happened with the 2014 "Godzilla" and I landed on the positive side of that train, so I still had plenty of hope despite bracing for potential disappointment. Turns out I had quite a bit of fun with this iteration of King Kong. It has it's fair share of flaws, but it's a perfect movie to just turn off your brain and enjoy. Your typical summer blockbuster. Released in March.
I will admit that I was a bit bored during the setup. That being the events between our opening scene and our arrival on the island. Because that opening scene is pretty great. And the arrival on the island is also pretty great. In between that, though, not so much. John Goodman is obsessed that monsters exist and no one believes him when he claims he found a mythical island that he wants to explore, but he gets support anyways for some reason. They find Loki in a bar and for some reason decide that he needs to be their guide. Brie Larson, our future Captain Marvel, is a photographer that is along for the ride for some reason. Then they are given a military escort to tag along that is led by the extremely stubborn, stuck-up military commander commander in Samuel L. Jackson, aka Nick Fury. So yeah, we have a group of random people led by some Avengers characters and John Goodman, none of which have much depth to them or much of a background that is explored. I don't like simply going with the flow and saying the same thing everyone else has been saying, but as things were moving along, I was beginning to understand where everyone was coming from and I was actually dozing off a bit because I was bored, when suddenly... BOOM!!! I'm awake!!
That "BOOM!!!" is when they got to the island. I wasn't expecting an attack right away. I was thinking they would fly in, land on the island, explore a bit, meet some exotic creatures, then accidentally run into Kong. Nope. That's not what happens. They're flying in with their brigade of helicopters and get attacked right away before they can land. They've pissed off the beast to begin with and he starts smacking their helicopters around, swatting them like flies and then crushing them like ants when they're trying to escape. We lose quite a bit of "red coats" right from the beginning and it was freaking epic. Once the dust settles and Kong is gone, that's when the journey begins in a few different parties due to their helicopters being swatted around like flies. Quite honestly I loved Skull Island, which is the name of the island they are on. It's rather entertaining when they are walking through a bamboo field and one "red coat" looks up and gets jabbed through the mouth with a giant piece of bamboo that turns out not to be a piece of bamboo, but rather a leg of a Kong-sized spider. And that's just one of many fancy creatures on this island. It was a fun journey that did a good job of keeping me entertained throughout the movie. The CGI on all of these creatures was great!
Overall, though, the characters were fine and the journey was fun. And the visual effects and cinematography were phenomenal. There's a lot of epic camera shots. Every time Kong shows up, the movie is fantastic. And he shows up more than some people are giving him credit for. He makes the opening scene great. He makes the arrival on the island jaw-dropping. He makes the final showdown epic. And he shows up in small doses throughout outside those scenes to make things work. Yeah, the journey to get to Skull Island was boring and the characters don't have much depth to them, but once they get to Skull Island, the movie is really entertaining. Whenever Kong isn't there, various other creatures show up to fill space, thus keeping the journey exciting, the best of which being the skull crawler creatures they have to avoid. Yeah, there's some decisions made by certain characters that don't make sense. There's also a few elements of the movie that didn't actually do much to help or hinder the plot. They're just there. But overall this is a fun movie. And different from the other King Kong movies as this tells a different story with different characters than the 1933 and 2005 versions. It does its own thing and it works. I'm going to give "Kong: Skull Island" an 8/10.