Kong: Skull Island is directed but Jordan Vogt-Roberts, screenplay by Dan Gildroy, Max Borenstie and Derek Connolly, story by John Gatins, based on the character created by Merian C. Cooper and Edgar Wallace. Kong stars Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson and Brie Larson. 

 This movie expecting a fun, destructive good time. I was unprepared and very surprised at the anti-war, anti-colonial allegory and it came as a welcome surprise. The writing, acting and production worked together to ensue neither of these messages was heavy handed, so, if it doesn suit you, you can safely ignore. I like when my mindless entertainment is expectedly elevated so I was happy to embrace these messages.

The pacing was a bit rushed in this – with any “monster movie” you expect that many of the characters won’t make it to the end, so it’s crucial to pace so the audience has time to care about the characters so, when they do die, it matters to us. This film was very eager to rush through character building and many of the characters lacked any moments where you’d care about them enough so their deaths mattered.

Setting the movie just after the Viet Nam war was an interesting choice – the pride of USA is hurting, while Cold War tensions are mounting. I suspect one of the reasons we are seeing so many movies set in the past is that it is uninteresting to watch people stare a their phones and send text messages. Watching characters interact with one another is interesting.

For the most part, that casting was solid, although Tom Hiddleston is woefully miscast as an “Indiana Jones type”, he lacks the gravity and weight to be believable as a tracker or fighter, at one point in the film the characters are given a choice between following a course of action he suggests and a course of action Samuel L. Jackson suggests – it’s simply not believable anyone would follow over Jackson. Brie Larson too is miscast – she is extremely talented but I don’t buy her as a photojournalist and the there is little chemistry between the romantic leads. This is, in large part, to make up, hair and props. As a chick my day to day like requires a purses. A day trip requires a backpack that includes some water and my camera and phone charger. When I’m going on a day hike, it’s my backpack with some gear, including water and bug repellent, a change of socks,  a rain shell and my hair is tied up. None of the characters aside from the soldiers bring any sort of gear win them and both female characters wear their down, even though they travelling by helicopter. Hiddleston’s character doesn’t even bring along a machete for the brush!

Is the audience really this willing to disbelieve?

Cuz let me tell you, I was annoyed at the movie for this but I was livid when they mentioned the Hollow Earth Theory. Like. What if there are people out there (and there are) who are going to take this as proof or another reason why it must be true? Also, if you are going to tell me that no animals were harmed in the making of this film, shouldn’t you also tell me that that Hollow Earth Theory is a disproven idea and totally fictional. Quit making up your own science!

The fight sequences were too fast so it was difficult to get traction during them and, once again, too many tight shots which meant the over all choreography of many sequences was difficult to discern. I didn’t see this in 3D and I can’t imagine that it translated into 3D.

Some of the casting was very effective – Samuel L. Jackson always brings to this roles a sense of seriousness and likability, even when the character isn’t very likeable and you know you should be rooting for someone else. And John C. Reilly, who brings that sense of fun and reminds us that we are watching a monster movie and should be having a good time, Reilly also serves as the conscience and heart of the story which is a wise choice as the other characters aren’t particularly likeable.

I enjoyed the movie, it looks like they are starting off a franchise of these classic monster movies, so I’m hoping that they only get better from here. Unless you are a fan of monster movies, you can probably skip this one.  If you are a fan of these classic flicks then you’ll have some good nostalgia.

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