KONG: SKULL ISLAND
Starring Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Hiddleston, Brie Larson and John Goodman, the producers of "Godzilla" reimagine the origins of one the most powerful monster myths of all in the newly released film called “Kong: Skull Island" or more commonly known as “King Kong.”
Since the original film from 1933, and counting international films as well, this is the 12th adaptation of this primate adventure, with this effort telling the story with a new twist of the principles entire story’s plot and development experience exclusively taking place on the island during the full 2 hour running time.
The film starts out in 1973 when a diverse team of scientists, along with US Army soldiers and some adventurers collectively discovering from a spy satellite a Pacific island that up until now had been hidden by its own unique cloud leaving it undetected and as far as anyone knew uninhabited as well. But given there had been many unexplained sinking of ships in close proximity to the island’s location, the highly trained group set out to explore this mythical island in the Pacific in spite of what appears to be many great unknowns about what’s on the island in spite of it obvious beauty.
Once they arrive, the team learns very quickly that this island is the domain of a mighty giant ape the natives there call “Kong” and with their immediate confrontation setting off a major battle, this story is reduced to the basic case of survival between man verses nature.
REVIEW: On the surface the film is fun to watch with first rate CGI action development, but what is glaringly obvious from the outset and subsequently throughout is the writing is very clumsy and largely ineffective of ever coming close to building up any genuine tension or real dread. Nor does it help make the lives of the many members of the cast have any real importance or consequences to their plight on being on such a dangerous island. Instead they collectively seem to be cannon fodder; essentially almost too many cast members to keep count, which in my minds becomes clear they are there for the express purpose of an extensive body count throughout the film before they all are killed or eaten. You add an even clumsier direction and a lot of underwhelming acting performances and you are then left with what looked less like a real modern 2017 action movie on a big theater screen and more like watching a PowerPoint Presentation about a movie idea someone wanted make about “a giant monkey”.
Finally, the director seem to be unable of creating any new plot twist to this story beyond the isolation of the island itself. So what does he do? Well he recycles or borrows if you prefer numerous scene ideas from almost every meaningful and consequential military story and or animal adventure film from the past films 40 years. Scenes almost identical in their look and their execution from such iconic efforts as “Apocalypse Now”, “Aliens”, “The Deer Hunter” “Platoon” and “Predator” to adventure films such as Godzilla, Jurassic Park and Jurassic World.
KONG: SKULL ISLAND is not the worse action reimagined story of an iconic character and story, but this effort is clearly one of the least smart films of its type I have seen in a while.
So I recommend you can see it now or you can wait on it to rent on demand, either way I can honestly say you won’t be bored. But in my critical film going mind if you spend $185 million making this film again in some form which in this case felt like sitting through a story board PowerPoint briefing for 2 hours, at least the next time around (2020 "Godzilla vs King Kong") seriously think about spending a third of that big budget on some better writing so as to create enough imaginative and connective consequential tissue that will stick as to what is being said and what is being shown really matter between cast and story