Sunday, March 12, 2017

Kong: Skull Island

Movie Name: Kong: Skull Island
Year of Release: 2017
Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Stars: Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, John C. Reilly, John Goodman, Corey Hawkins, John Ortiz, Toby Kebbell, Jason Mitchell, Shea Whigham, Thomas Mann, Eugene Cordero, Marc Evan Jackson, Tian Jing
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6
View Trailer Here

After a career directing shorts and TV Series, director Jordan Vogt-Roberts made a name for himself with the well received "The Kings of Summer". This follow up is a huge difference in themes and scale, and is a somewhat successful B-Movie/Grindhouse film, wrapped in a big blockbuster style. The film follows an agency and government expedition to a mostly unknown island, that has surfaced on the radar, but that no one knows much about. Under the guise of getting further geological information, seismic charges are dropped into the Island, which in turn awakens the herculean Kong, a colossal ape that is the undisputed king of that island. The teams get dispersed, some die, but thanks to the unexpected help of a long lost survivor, they figure out a plan to reach their evacuation point. However, they soon realize that Kong isn't the only creature they should fear.
Unlike Peter Jackson's retelling of the King Kong story (from 2005), Jordan Vogt-Roberts goes for a different tone, one that is definitely more anchored by influences of B-films, and even Francis Coppola's "Apocalypse Now". The film takes place in 1973, and successfully captures the dynamics of that time (political, military and social), the colors, and the music, but soon that quickly becomes background when the team reaches the island. The film then quickly becomes a creature feature, with Kong quickly coming into play, decimating part of the team, while other equally menacing creatures surface to also challenge the human teams of reaching safety. Sadly none of the characters are actually given much to do, particularly the always interesting Brie Larson, who as photo journalist Mason Weaver, spends most of the time behind the camera (her motivation is to discover why the island is so secretive). Tom Hiddleston is sadly miscast as the lead tracker - he lacks charisma, humor and depth to actually make the character memorable, the same going for Samuel L. Jackson (who by the way looks like he just phones in his more recent performances, such as David Yates' "The Legend of Tarzan"). The film manages to be entertaining thanks to John C. Reilly's always welcome presence, and the tone of the film, that oscillates between large budget extravaganza (fantastic special effects), and B-movie aesthetic, which perfectly suits it. A mildly entertaining film.