Kong: Skull Island
Kong Skull Island
Directed By Jordan Vogt-Roberts
This revamped take on the iconic monster King Kong has all the right ingredients and no payoff. The film feels like a Universal Studios guided tour of Michael Bay's thought process: Big Guns, Big Monsters, Big Explosions, and Big CGI.
This film is like taking the earlier 1970's version and pumping it full of amphetamines. The story is very thin and doesn't make a lot of sense. Basically in 1973 John Goodman, Samuel L Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, and for some reason, Brie Larson, all go on an expedition to Skull Island. They are instantly confronted by Kong. The surviving members are divided into two groups, and they parade around the jungle encountering John C Reilly, who has been on the island since World War Two and knows the law of the land and has managed to survive. It is realized that Kong is the balance on the island because underneath the Earth there are giant lizards and that have been awakened by the explorers. Meanwhile Samuel L Jackson goes on a would-be Ahab vendetta against Kong, leading to very loud and explosive finish.
Tom Hiddleston plays a tracker who looks and feels incredibly bored. Brie Larson plays an anti war photographer who much does nothing except stand around and take photos. John C. Reily steals the show being the only real character on display. Even though he's been on the island for almost thirty years he proves to be the only sensible person in the whole film and is predictably hilarious.
The film is a mess, with the CGI and Reilly being the exceptions. The monster detail and cinematic exposure of the location is visually appealing, however there were several repetitive annoying transitional shots of the sun sprinkled throughout. This was offset by a sensational nocturnal shot of the skyline signifying the calm before the storm.
As a big budget monster film, it is a success on all levels, but as one with any real depth or meaningful insight it falls flat, an easy pay off to justify the means of the Monarch Cinematic Universe, replete with a nonexistent script, paper thin characters, and an endlessly recycled antiwar soundtrack.