Kong: Skull Island
“Is that a monkey?”
Says Toby Kebbell’s character as he questions the species of the beast in the distance. That, was the funniest and best delivered line in the film, with the occasional vulgar line or ceremonious quip from Samuel L. Jackson’s character or John C. Reilly’s, other than that, the comedy fell short for me. There’s a lot to love about this film, especially the eponymous location, and the titular character.
First and foremost, I must commend the film for portraying the iconic gorilla in such a glorious way. Kong is huge, and rightfully so. So far we’ve seen slightly smaller versions of the rage-filled beast, but this iteration does not scrimp on the height factor we’ve all been excited to see increase. This increase in height made for a more menacing Kong, but also, a wider ratio between the heights of the humans and Kong, allowing for their relationships to feel more pet-like than the previous installments, which opted for more romantic and antagonistic approaches. Our opening scene thrusts the King into the spotlight, and he surely is in this film. We get to see him be loving, caring, and friendly, but also frustrated and bust into an angered frenzy. The breakout scene for King Kong was most definitely the helicopter scene; this is when the incoming pilots, scientists and veterans drop bombs on King Kong’s home, causing ruckus and aggravating the beast. This in turn causes Kong to throw a tree at the first helicopter, after that, its simply a blur for the unassuming pilots as Kong decimates their carriers, and lays waste to their infantry, giving us arguably the best King Kong action sequence we’ve ever seen on the big screen. Kong’s end fight scene is spectacular, all though it fails to live up to the suspense and sheer thrill of the Helicopter Devastation.
Unfortunately, it’s time to move on from praising the huge monkey, and rather beat down on the lack-luster writing, and average performances. I for one, enjoyed Brie Larson as the “Anti-war photographer” as her performance brought a more realistic telling of the original King Kong story. In this film, Kong’s relationship with Brie Larson’s character does not seem to be romantic, and rather platonic, this is due to Brie Larson’s believable and nuanced performance. Sadly, the rest of the characters we receive either have incomplete story arcs, flat delivery, or poor writing. John Goodman’s character was the most disappointing for me. At the beginning of the film we are introduced to him, and he is immediately perceived by the audience as the pivot of the film and the crutch to the story’s seemingly intangible validity. As we approach the island and we see the monkey, John Goodman’s character is shafted and reduced to a crazy near-mute individual who has no presence on screen, and merely exists because he was introduced in the first act. His character arc from then on is a stalemate, and does not end satisfyingly, nor does it provide any sense of closure for what his character arc set up in the beginning. Samuel L. Jackson does his rendition of Samuel L Jackson, military edition, and it stacks up just fine next to his other caricature’s of himself. Tom Hiddleston plays an egregiously underwritten “tracker” who’s backstory is so unimportant, he mentions it on a whim with no pay off afterwards whatsoever. The rest of the side characters are mostly unfunny, save Correy Hawkins, who was (as always) charming in his role. The film suffers from the same effect as Pacific Rim, in its underdeveloped and archetypal characters, but suffers slightly more, just for the sheer number of characters they attempted to squeeze into this film.
The huge saving graces of the film are, CGI, Kong, John C Reilly and the fact that we get to see Kong vs Godzilla because of this movie. The CGI was tremendous, bringing Kong to life and accurately depicting his sudden acts of paroxysm and his subtle acts of kindness. The Island itself was magnificently festooned with inventive creatures and an awe-inspiring Landscape. John C Reilly’s performance was great, and his character was one of few to have a full and compelling character arc, so a huge congratulations there on his part. Ultimately, Kong falls short of being an amazing movie, but it is a good movie if you know what you’re going to get, and it will live up to your expectations if you’re hoping for a big ape to smash things, and look cool while doing it.
Story telling: 8
Character Development: 5