Thursday, May 4, 2017

Kong: Skull Island

It's been so long since this movie came out that I've actually seen it twice. As a huge fan of the 2014 Godzilla reboot (not to mention of the creature in general), I couldn't wait to see where Warner Bro's was going to take this expanding movie universe. Being as keyed in to movie news as I am, I've known for months and months now that they were building towards a King Kong vs. Godzilla movie (though Godzilla: King of Monsters is obviously the next on the docket). With that in mind, I went into Kong: Skull Island with a lot of optimism.

I'll spare you the plot details, as it's pretty sparse, but suffice it to say that the government agency known as Monarch (as seen in Godzilla) is looking for an excuse to go and explore this mysterious island, dragging a military escort, a professional tracker, and a war photographer along for the ride. The result is obviously cataclysmic and horrific for the entire party, and mayhem ensues for the following two hours.

That may sound like I'm giving the plot short shrift, but I actually found it to be a serviceable excuse to have an adventure where Kong is discovered. Some of the ties to the greater shared universe being built here work better than others, but for the most part they do a satisfactory job with the world-building. It's very reminiscent of Jurassic Park, to the point where Samuel L. Jackson even repeats his immortal line, "Hold onto your butts."

This cast is tremendous, and I'm honestly a bit shocked they were able to wrangle in so many A-listers for a seemingly run-of-the-mill monster movie. Of course, the King Kong legacy is an appealing one for actors, and I'm sure they were offered plenty of compensation for their hard work. Overall, the acting was just okay for me. I wasn't expecting much, though. These kinds of films aren't designed to be showcases for acting prowess. In fact, I wouldn't go into this film with snacks of any kind. You probably won't have much of an appetite after some of the gruesome things that happen on screen.

Ultimately, this was a fun and a bit forgettable, with the most exciting thing coming after the credits when we hear the iconic roar of Godzilla accompanied by cave paintings of the legendary beast fighting his nemeses. Really, they accomplished what they needed to here by reintroducing us to the titular monster, getting us to like him, and setting up a shared movie-verse where we can see him interact with other creatures we like. It's got some interesting Apocalypse Now homages, and the intensity was ratcheted up to 11 from start to finish. For that, I'm giving Kong: Skull Island three stars.

KONG: SKULL ISLAND is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for brief strong language