Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Skull Island (2017)
Well, given how much I loved The Great Wall, you'd think this one would be up my alley as well, wouln't you? But this one I did not particularly enjoy. Parts of it were very cool, but overall... no. Not so much. What's the difference? Mostly characters, some plot issues.
I have not seen such a useless, meaningless bunch of characters in a long time. They don't DO ANYTHING. The characters don't exist to do anything but run around and get smashed or eaten. With one exception, nobody has an arc, nobody grows, nobody changes, nothing bloody happens with any of them. I have zero reason to follow these people on their journey, no reason to be invested in their fates.
The exception is John C. Reilly's character, who is the sole saving grace of this movie. He's delightful, has all the great lines of dialogue, and his survival story is at least purposeful and has a satisfying conclusion during the end credits. He gets to open and close the movie, and really, if you junked every other character and just followed him, I would have enjoyed it a heckuva lot more.
So, the plot of this one involves a supposed bunch of scientists with a military escort supposedly investigating an uncharted island. Really, one guy (John Goodman) is there to prove to the world that Kong and monsters exists, except he doesn't actually have a good plan to achieve this without getting everyone killed.... so everyone gets killed. Dude, you've had years to plan this, and that's the best you can do? Samuel L. Jackson plays the military colonel who hates that the Vietnam war is ending and he has nothing to do, so he shifts into full-on Ahab mode and goes after Kong. At least he has something to do in this movie.
Tom Hiddleston, admittedly looking mighty fine, is along supposedly as a tracker just for the money, but he has nothing to do either. My sister is a big fan of his, so I mostly went to keep her company so she could see his latest outing. One of the problems is this movie turns into a survival movies, where the only object is to stay alive... and that is one of my least favorite types of movie (although there's a couple exceptions).
And ye gods! This movie, while only a PG-13, was remarkably gruesome. I had to look away a few times, and I'm not even all that squeamish. But seriously, sheesh! The one death-by-spider-leg moment seemed particularly unnecessarily awful.
Kong himself looked pretty spectacular, however, and the scene where he swats the helicopters out of the sky was my favorite scene in the movie. That was neat. The skull crawler bad guys were pretty cool as well, in that they were about the ugliest monsters I've ever seen, but effective.
Also, as seems to be the case with all King Kong movies... they're a bit heartbreaking. At least in this one Kong survives to defend his island (and fight other monsters) another day, but still.
So, glad I saw it once, but won't be watching it again.