Monday, March 20, 2017
Film Review: Kong: Skull Island (2017)
The smashing, the roaring, and the screaming of terrified humans starts early and rarely lets up. The effects are fine, and kids, the real and traditional audience for this kind of film, should have a joyous time at the theatre. The rest of us can marvel at how little in the way of directorial competence and script writing ability one gets for a budget of $200m. There are far too many supporting actors (none of whom are introduced properly), all the dialogue is flat, and most of the actors seem unsure of what tone to adopt. Samuel L. Jackson takes his part very, very seriously, John C. Reilly is looking around for Will Ferrell to riff with, Brie Larson seems distracted, and Tom Hiddleston gives us the poshest ex-SAS mercenary ever--instead of a gun I was expecting him to be armed with a Fortnum & Mason's picnic hamper.
As shambolic as most of the film is, it at least delivers lots of visual thrills in a reasonable running time, something that none of the recent monster megafauna movies have managed to do. Peter Jackson's King Kong was farcical, Pacific Rim was tedious and visually muddy, and, the worst of all, Godzilla (2014) was perversely determined to not show off its titular hero. So let's hope the Kong: Skull Island sequels are all as enthusiastically dumb.