Thursday, 16 March 2017

OJ's Movie Review - Kong: Skull Island

Time to fund another franchise I guess.

Kong: Skull Island is the second film in the "MonsterVerse" after Gareth Edward's 2014 film, Godzilla. It stars a lot of people, including, Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman and John C. Reilly as a group of scientists and soldiers exploring a mysterious island. I've seen the main Kong films throughout the years and I have to say I do enjoy the concept of people finding an enormous gorilla on a primeval island; I always remember when I was younger being creeped out by Peter Jackson's 2005 King Kong and at one point was quite obsessed with it; since then I've enjoyed the 1933 original and even watched the not-so-good 1976 attempt. Now though we see a different take on the character, one set in the 70s, and of a larger world.
   I'll start with what I enjoyed, and first and foremost would be both the soundtrack and original score. Being set in the 70s, director Jordan Vogt-Roberts gives us some great pieces of music to accompany various scenes giving the film an upbeat, feel-good vibe, similar to that of Guardians of the Galaxy, or The Martian. And Henry Jackman delivers a well-composed dramatic score which includes some 70s vibes.
  Another thing to enjoy is that this film is full of really cool moments; scenes or shots that intend for you to be awed. Whether it be a silhouette of choppers flying towards Kong or just the animals and people of the island being framed through the Brie Larson character's 1970 era camera lens which makes for a really nice touch. Vogt-Roberts certainly has an eye for interesting and unique camera set ups and there were some great ones in here I really loved as well as some epic wide shots that you could just frame.
  Now unfortunately it's these amazing moments and "awe shots" that sort bring the movie down for me. While it's great to have those kind of scenes, you can't rely on them. Kong: Skull Island was visually stunning, almost to a surreal sense at times, adding to the island mystery, but as far as story and script goes, it was a bit underdeveloped. For the first two-thirds of the movie it felt like the story was just quickly written dialogue to get us from one cool shot to the next. The characters hardly had any development and surprisingly the most fleshed-out and interesting character was John C. Reilly's Hank Marlow. Although Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson are certainly great actors and look great, their characters were very one-dimensional. Hiddleston's was a generic former military hunter/tracker man with convenient skills and Larson's was a photographer, and that was pretty much it. Sam Jackson and John Goodman are also great actors and have delivered some incredibly iconic characters but here even they almost seemed expendable at points.
   So although the film is let down script-wise and is quite unevenly paced throughout most of it the final third is really good as it flows much better and the creature is design is amazing. Kong looks great, as well as some of the other fearsome creatures that inhabit the island but the stand-out for me were the disturbingly hideous Skull Crawlers whose mere existence you were thankful were only fictional.
  In the end Kong: Skull Island isn't quite what I expected it to be but it is a great-looking monster-movie and even has an after-credit scene for those who like to get excited for what's to come.