Kong: Skull Island: The Bradscribe Review

Let’s Get Down To Monkey Business…

“My Kong is more of a god. He represents the unknown in the world. I wanted to make a movie that was as much about the big moments of Kong punching a helicopter out of the sky as the small lyrical moments” – Jordan Vogt-Roberts.

“Skull Island… shit…

“I’m still only on Skull Island…”

Scientist John Goodman wants to explore an uncharted island in the Pacific and ends up discovering an Eden just too primal to handle. Enter Tom Hiddleston’s ex-SAS survival expert: Captain Conrad (nice nod to Joseph Conrad, author of Heart of Darkness), who curiously knows all the dangers that will confront them on the island…

The essential military escort is provided by Colonel Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) and his hapless – and characterless – band of monkey snacks. Also tagging along is Brie Larson’s war photographer and Tian Jing as a scientist to help sell this movie to China… 

Personally, another Kong movie was the last thing on my wishlist; the 2005 remake was so insipid, and the 1933 original is one of my most beloved movie faves, so this outing was never going to top that…

…or was it? 

“I don’t know that there was an alpha male pecking order. Although I did mess with the young guys. If they started up, I would go: ‘What’s your number on the cast list?'” –  Samuel L. Jackson. 

Notice how the ‘King’ epithet is excluded from the title – his eminence is subdued here by the other – let’s face it, poorly-conceived – prehistoric beasties. The much-touted helicopter-destruction scene came and went with barely a flutter on the Bradmonitor. Apart from ripping out the tongue of that… that – whatever it was – there is very little here to remind you why Kong became such a big screen icon in the first place. And, hey, what’s the point of character development if most of the ensemble are not going to make it out alive? Sheesh! Some snappy dialogue should have been on order – notice how no cool quotes were available at the time of going to Publish…

Must admit the opening sequence with Marlow crashing on the island back in ’44 looked like a neat set-up; considering how this character – played by the usually quite dependable John C. Reilly – could have been the one to bring in some much-needed comedy moments; alas, his performance became a tad too goofy for my liking. 

But honestly, what is with Tom Hiddleston, here?! He looks like how Brad feels: vacant, bored, wishing he was someplace else…

How apt that The Animals’ We Gotta Get Out Of This Place played on the trailer – that was going through the minds of the other twenty cinema-goers, all unaffected by what had just flooded over their retinas. So, watched the post-credits sequence all by me lonesome… 

And am strangely less-than-enthralled by the prospect of a Kong vs. Godzilla clobberfest lined up for 2020…

“Jordan told me he wanted to sneak an indie film into a blockbuster… [Conrad is] a hard, capable man who knows his way around a sharp object” – Tom Hiddleston.

Never a skull moment? 

Upon viewing the first few stills from the movie, was amazed to see the crew armed with ol’ Armalite rifles; oho, methinks – going for a a retro feel here? Only later did news break that Kong: Skull Island is actually set in 1973; does Tom Hiddleston have a phobia of flares and sideburns?! Absolutely no effort to immerse himself in the period! This setting, however, presents the opp to go for a groovy soundtrack: The Stooges! Black Sabbath! Vera frickin’ Lynn?! And of course, three of the most beautiful words in the English language: Creedence Clearwater Revival, with which we are treated to snatches of TWO of their awesome classics. Nice to have Bowie included as well, but all these tracks can be enjoyed in my own time anyway!

Ho-hum, roll out the old monster-movie cliches: (un)naturally, there is yet another attempt to freak out any arachnophobes in the audience; the token pansyass official nerk who is inevitably consigned to meet a grisly end, and other fillers too numerous to mention. Gone are the sacrificial brides, but also woefully absent is – thanks to the CGI, here as abundant as the “lush” vegetation – any sense of terror or menace. 

Or excitement, while we’re at it.

If only Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ direction had been as gung-ho as Samuel L.s “performance.”

By the time Kong engaged in his climactic tussle, my yawns just would not let up. Not even the shenanigans aboard the jolly ship USS Junkpile could salvage my flagging interest…

After a hard week, rather than allowing me to escape into the realms of movie magic, this lame viewing experience felt like being stranded on an inhospitable island for twenty eight years… and eleven months…

and meh…

“John C. Reilly’s Marlow makes you feel like you’re watching a version of Apocalypse Now where Dennis Hopper’s been replaced by Fozzie Bear” – Larushka Ivan-Zadeh.

BRADSCRIBE VERDICT: Uff, monkey nuts…

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