Friday, 17 March 2017

REVIEW: Kong - Skull Island

I'm a sucker for giant monster films. When I was younger, I was actually fascinated by how many things Ultraman and monsters are able to destroy, that's the point in all. I also immensely enjoyed 1998 Godzilla, even though it's cheesy, stupid and wrong on so many levels, the destructions laid to waste by monsters are all I need. Pacific Rim is another film I also loved, even though it's stupid. Then, Godzilla got rebooted in 2014 and we finally have monster movie with decent story, even though destruction has been kept to a minimum.

In 2017, King Kong was rebooted into Kong: Skull Island, a appetiser film prelude to Godzilla vs. Kong in 2020 (Yes, it's happening). I was eager to see it. Another monster film? SIGN ME UP! However, does Kong: Skull Island lives up to the hype? Yes, just.

Kong: Skull Island takes place in the 1970s, right after the Vietnam War. An expedition group and a squad of soldiers travelled to an undiscovered island in the South Pacific to "study" the island. Shortly after entering the island, the group is soon meet with unknown beings that are awaiting them.

In terms of action sequences, Skull Island is great. When Kong appears, he looks huge, like a towering figure looms over the island. The sequence where he appears and attacks the group of expedition looks great, it is chaotic yet easy to keep track of where the action is. The best treat is when Kong is going up against other monsters in the island, this is because Kong is placed against monsters that are almost in similar footings as Kong is. For me, this is the best action sequences from King Kong yet.

The visuals are a great treat too, capturing the 1970s flavour in vivid colours, but it fell short in certain scene, as if the film is shot in a studio, even though the crew actually took the filming to the jungle to capture the island. I'm not sure it was deliberate or it was the colour popped up too much.

However, the movie ultimately falls short in terms of storytelling. I don't mind stories at all in monster films, but Kong: Skull Island takes itself a bit too seriously. I get it, they might go with these direction to align itself with Godzilla, but it takes place in a different backdrop. Godzilla makes sense in telling a serious story, as our society just experienced the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster in 2011, so the film has to reflect the tone of our anxiety. Kong doesn't need to that at all. Not to mention, at one point of the movie, Samuel L. Jackson's character subplot almost overshadowed the main film. The worst part is, when Mason Weaver (Brie Larson), try to touch Kong, to feel the soft side of Kong (like any other King Kong movie would), that emotional feeling is completely missing!

Some of the actors are great. John C. Reilly is the best for me, who plays a missing person that ended up in the island, he is very entertaining and has a very interesting backstory to back it up as the missing person wandering around the island and survived. John Goodman is great, playing a Monarch scientist with a hidden agenda and Samuel L. Jackson is great as well, playing Colonel Packard, a leader who is losing himself during his time in the island. Brie Larson and Tom Hiddleston are disappointing, they are great actor and actress, but their characters poorly written, and are bland and forgettable. Jing Tian, well, she is just there as a token Chinese actress for the film to enter the Chinese market, let's leave it that way.

She's there for China's box office

Although, the story is terrible and the characters are forgettable, I still immensely enjoyed Kong: Skull Island. This could be due to my unexplainable love for giant monsters destroying objects. Despite the fact that this Kong has completely changed the message from the core of this franchise, forgettable characters (like Godzilla) and taking itself too seriously, the action sequences are enjoyable enough to watch this film. Having said that, I still can't wait for Godzilla vs. Kong in 2020!

P.S. Please watch this film in biggest screen possible. They used the scale well for Kong to create a very good size differences between Kong and the humans.

Score: 3/5

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