A movie crew, travelling to a mysterious island to shoot their picture, encounter a furious gorilla, taking their leading actress and forming a special relationship with her, protecting her at all costs.
In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X somewhere on the Mexican border. However, Logan's attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are upended when a young mutant arrives, pursued by dark forces.
A rookie officer is teamed with a hardened pro at the California Highway Patrol, though the newbie soon learns his partner is really an undercover Fed investigating a heist that may involve some crooked cops.
A washed up monster chaser convinces the U.S. Government to fund a trip to an unexplored island in the South Pacific. Under the guise of geological research, the team travels to "Skull Island". Upon arrival, the group discover that their mission may be complicated by the wildlife which inhabits the island. The beautiful vistas and deadly creatures create a visually stunning experience that is sure to keep your attention. Written by
The director has said an inspiration and reference used for the design of the Skullcrawlers came from the Pokémon Cubone. See more »
When Packard looks in his box of medals, there are a couple dog tags in there with black rubber "silencers" around their edges. These were used extensively in Vietnam to keep the two tags from rubbing together and creating noise. Yet later when the dead men's dog tags are collected, not a single one has a silencer. See more »
Kong Rocks - practically all of this does too; a sharp, smart, exciting blockbuster
Though not without a few WTF moments - and not in the way that is fun but more head-scratching, like a couple of characters dying out of nowhere - this is the most entertaining monster movie since The Host and possibly from Hollywood since... well, the Jackson King Kong (though it also has some debt to Jurassic Park and, to a degree a friend reminded me after seeing the film, Aliens). Aside from what is in the movie in and of itself, which is plenty as an ironic and satirical blockbuster (at least up to a point, in small but enough doses), as a world-building enterprise it's spectacular, and is a step up from the previous entry in this new WB/Legendary "Moster-Kaiiju-Verse", Godzilla.
I think the difference between the two is simple but profound: Edwards was fascinated more with spectacle and the presence of Godzilla, but he wasn't so set on building human characters to connect with (except for Bryan Cranston, who was shamefully wasted after a promising start). Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts is all about characters, and even gives some time to people who should be nothing secondary ones (I know the complaints already coming, that there are too many, and that may be true - on a first viewing I was fine with it for the simple fact that the dialog given to these military runts and other scientist-types were either funny or clever enough. Everyone has charisma and characters who need to have chemistry (Hiddleston-Larson, or Larson and Kong) give it enough juice in that area.
But more than that is that Kong himself is done right by the writers and filmmakers. Unlike in Godzilla as well, here we have a character who actually IS a character, someone who functions in the story, shows deeper wells of emotion (yes, a carry-over from the best of the 1933 and 2005 Kong movies is that Kong is vulnerable), and finds through non-verbal communication how to connect - or decidedly not, quite the opposite - with these Vietnam war hosts. He has goals and real motivations; while they are steeped in monster movie lore, it's sharp and exciting monster movie lore, and things are explained by John C. Reilly here and there (he's the 28-years-gone survivor of being left during WW2, a more innocent-yet-still-bloody time in US history, also with us vs some Asian menace), yet a lot is left to the imagination.
How do these prehistoric-ish "Skull Crawlers" come out from these blasts put out by these helicopters? Who knows? Who cares? The point is these giant lizard things are genuinely terrifying; there's some limited creativity in their designs, but what's exciting is that the direction is all about drawing out suspense. And the island itself has many surprises (there's one point where a creature is revealed as something you would thing you could sit on!) and also with the natives who are... just scenery, mostly, but at least the movie doesn't try to go too far into cultural insensitivity or anything. They're simply there and do what they can for the Reilly character over these many years; Reilly, by the way, scruffy and laughing often and happy even as he is totally terrified ("I've only been here 28 years," he says at one point up against military/US egotism personified by Samuel L Jackson) is what Bryan Cranston was to Godzilla, only here there is much more and he's possibly the best human presence in the movie.
How about the satire, if it is there? I think there's more that could be dissected with it being Vietnam, or more specifically in 1973 as Nixon is preparing for pulling out troops (of course that wouldn't be for a full two years later, but you get the idea). Jackson's Col Packard is trying to hide his anguish at having to "abandon" this war (he can't bare to say defeat) so this other South-East conflict will do; it's Us vs Them and Us as usual not recognizing all of our might is insignificant when on their turf. It's not the sharpest commentary ever, but it's not without accident it's there either. The iconography is compelling as well: all of those helicopters, blasting away Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" as these charges drop on the island - asking for it, in monster movie fashion (messing with nature, you fools!), but this time there's the added element of how soldiers and civilians act, and recognizing who is "King" in the end.
This is a spectacular good time at the movies, in case I didn't make that clear. All of the actors are doing excellent work, the kind that you would never get to see back when monster movies were in the realm of square B-movie territory. If anything this would be a splendid double feature with Jurassic Park (aside from the eye-roll at Jackson repeating a "butts" line straight-faced, as if the movie would be in trouble unless he did it), as both involve charismatic, memorable actors and relatively decent supporting characters facing off against monsters that are from another time and place, with snappy dialog, and visual effects that are out of this world. And the climax - my Kong! Spinkle some 70's Vietnam-Rock icing and you got yourself a blockbuster cake of exceptional proportions.
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