Kong: Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island ★★★★

Vogt-Roberts is a little bit too in love with art directing nearly every shot of this film, sacrificing plausible geography and editing rhythms in order to get the Maximum Cool effect of every scene. Still, there’s no denying that his efforts aren’t wasted, as Skull Island is a very pretty movie filled with very pretty (and charismatic) people running around a lush jungle getting attacked on all sides by all manner of wild beasties. On this watch, it was interesting to pick up how the film tweaks the MonsterVerse tissue connecting device of Monarch slightly—John Goodman’s Randa isn’t necessarily revealed to be a founder or the CEO, but he sure seems like a figurehead, and his view on the monsters Monarch looks for is very much one with an elimination agenda in mind. However, perhaps that’s part of the film’s overall arc, as Randa is eventually replaced by the more humble Brooks and San, just as Samuel L. Jackson’s mad warmonger Packard learns the hard way that giving into rage and aggression will only cause more destruction and more bloodshed. As opposed to Marlow, who made a lifelong friend as soon as he laid his arms down, and Kong, who lives in a constant state of war, but lets his aggression slide enough to care for the helpless little creatures in his staid. Like the first MonsterVerse entry, Godzilla, there’s a melancholy to the monster here, too, but this time it’s more to do with the inevitability and unstoppable nature of war. No man—or giant primate—ever truly comes home from it.

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