Thursday, March 9, 2017

Day 1933 - Kong: Skull Island

So, I find the fact that the day that I'm writing my Kong review- it matches the year the original was in the theaters.  I guess it was supposed to be. 

For those of you who don't know (new friends and the like), the original King Kong is my all-time favorite movie.  There's something about a giant ape that fights monsters,  finds love, gets into show business, and have it all go wrong that hits me in my sweet spot.  And the real trick to all the different King Kong films over the years is its complete disregard for its audience.  Let me clarify - in most monster movies (or giant creature movies), it doesn't take that long for the monsters to show up and start wreaking some havoc.  We live in a time where we want to see these magnificent beasts early and often.  None of the previous Kong films really subscribe to this method of storytelling.  Even the bad ones.And Kong: Skull Island is no different.

The plot - during the waning days of the Vietnam War, a group of soldiers is asked to accompany an expedition to an unchartered island, where they're going to, well, chart it.  Along for the ride is Tom Hiddleston's guide, James Conrad, and Brie Larson's Mason Weaver, an award-winning photo-journalist who knows that something epic is on the horizon.  Their traveling companions are Samuel L. Jackson playing Samuel L. Jackson (and he hates big monkeys), and John Goodman as an independent government contractor, who knows (maybe) what's on the island.  And there's a lot of soldiers.  Some of whom you'll remember and like, and others which you'll forget about five minutes after they've been eaten (or squashed).

And for giant simian action, this really is your go-to movie.  But what this misses that previous Kong movies has is a sense of weight and heft.  The previous movies speak about larger truths.  Sometimes it might be a bit much for people, but that's probably why they resonate so much with me.  And Kong: Skull Island doesn't really have that.  Sure there's a touch of, "We really need to leave the big gorilla alone,"  but there's nothing more past that.

But the lack of a greater theme, shall we say, doesn't make the movie any less enjoyable.  Kong is pretty darn impressive.  When he goes on his various rampages, it's a sight to behold.  The lizard-like bag guy creatures are also solid.  I would have probably prefered a creature that was more based off fact, as opposed to one the filmmakers just dreamed of.  Which is why, when the giant spider showed up, it was easily my favorite scene in the film.  Giant monkeys still have the number one spot in my heart, but giant spiders aren't far behind.

I had been waiting for this movie for a while now, and it was solid.  I appreciated Tom Hiddleston's role, because, even though he really didn't have a whole lot to do, he's still charismatic as all get out.  And at essentially two hours long, the movie really did fly by.  But it's simply entertainment.  It never rises above that.  Ah, well.


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