Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Writers: Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein and Derek Connolly
Starring: John Goodman, Brie Larson, Tom Hiddleston, Corey Hawkins, Samuel L. Jackson, Toby Kebbell and Jason Mitchell
Release Date: Mar. 10, 2017
Runtime: 2 hours
Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for brief strong language
Plot Summary: “A team of explorers and soldiers travel to an uncharted island in the Pacific, unaware that they are crossing into the domain of monsters, including the mythic Kong.”
This movie disappointed me so much that I almost do not even want to review it. I was really excited for this movie. I, like many others, thought that “Kong: Skull Island” (2017) looked like a really cool homage to “Apocalypse Now” (1979) and older “King Kong” movies. I have great nostalgia in the character of Kong, also; when I was in kindergarten, I begged my dad (literally, on my knees) to take me to go see Peter Jackson’s “King Kong” (2005) and he would not because he thought I would get scared. Fast-forward 12 years later and here I am, scared after seeing a “King Kong” movie. Do not get me wrong, though. I am not scared because the movie was scary. I am scared because of how bad this movie was.
Where do I start? Let’s begin with the number one complaint everyone has had; the characters. Jason Mitchell’s character (who is not in the movie very much) is the only one that I found likeable, entertaining, relatable and interesting; everyone else has flat-out confusing motivations and no common sense whatsoever. This is unfortunate because “Kong: Skull Island” is blessed with an incredibly talented cast and they all deliver sterile and bland performances. Tom Hiddleston’s character is only on the island for money, John Goodman is there because he has a confusing diabolical plot, John C. Reilly is there because he has been stuck on the island for forever, Samuel L. Jackson is there because he is a lunatic who loves violence and Brie Larson is there because … because … I do not know. I spent most of the movie wondering why she was there. How on Earth does a movie with Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, John Goodman, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Toby Kebbell, Brie Larson and King Kong end up being bad? You tell me.
The characters and dialogue between the characters are not the only things that disappoint though; the editing and camera shots and movements are also inexcusably awful. If there was anything I expected from this movie it was some cool visuals and cinematography. Unfortunately, “Kong: Skull Island” contained numerous camera shots, movements and angles that had me squinting at the screen in confusion. The way the action is filmed in this movie honestly reminds me of how Michael Bay handles the “Transformers” franchise (2007-present); big, loud creatures attacking each other in slo-mo with sparks and debris in the background. This movie might as well be renamed Michael Bay’s “Kong In Slo-Mo” because that is was it is.
And surprise, surprise. “Kong: Skull Island” is also chocked full of exposition for Warner Brothers’ MonsterVerse because heaven knows we do not have enough cinematic universes already. I literally facepalmed myself when this movie started throwing in references to other aspects of the MonsterVerse before desperately wondering when it would all be over.
I get that this is a monster movie; I know that the mission is not to deliver an Oscar-worthy script, story or performances, but that is not an excuse to make a bad movie. The creative team behind “Kong: Skull Island” could have put some effort into this movie instead of saying, “Eh. It’s just a monster movie. No one will care. Add in some more explosions and punches.”
The only aspects of this movie that I liked were a handful of cool throwdown scenes between Kong and Skull Island’s monsters and the soundtrack. The problem with this movie’s soundtrack, however, is that the mood of 1960’s-70’s/Vietnam-Era songs do not fit in with the events of the scenes. That is all I liked about “Kong: Skull Island”; the rest of this movie is a colossal mess of cliches, bad characters, poor dialogue, a ridiculous story and flat humor.
I am sorry to have to do this, but “Kong: Skull Island” is getting a “D+” from me. I really did not like this movie. If you are a fan of action movies like “Transformers” with little-to-no character development, choppy editing, a mediocre script and plenty of explosions, you will probably love this movie. If you want to spend your money on films that actually contain some real content and messages, do not waste your money. Trust me when I tell you that it is not worth it.