Kong: Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island

Assorted notes on Kong: Skull Island, with spoilers.

— Aggressively mediocre. My mind looped endlessly between the same two thoughts: "This worked better in Jurassic Park" and "Hey, that song! This film must be set in the 70's!"

— Enthusiastic pulp is one of the best things, but perfunctory joyless pulp is one of the worst. The dialogue should have been so hammy, but instead it feels written by an algorithm.

— The creature CGI is the clear highlight. Kong and No-Leg Skull Lizard (band name called it) feel rich and alive. But all my favorite stuff involved a sad enormous water buffalo. Dude was MVP. His sad face. His unbelievably well-rendered fur. I shall name him Bill, after the pony.

— Also, why does Kong's eye turn into the Eye of Sauron at the end? And why does the only genuinely emotional moment of this film happen during the credits?

— Would a little risk or experimentation have been so bad here? You can smell the exact moment of fear when studio execs thought the film would lose people. Hint: you can't John C. Reilly your way out of a boring time at the movies.

— If you're going to spend hundreds of millions creating a wondrous world, why not, I don't know, hang out in and explore that wondrous world? I had the same thought after Avatar, though now I'm feeling reflexively grateful for how much world-building it actually had.

— Bronzed and shiny Brie Larson and Tom Hiddleston are far from the worst way to sigh your way through a dull movie.

— I was too busy fending off Creedence Clearwater songs like angry mosquitos to even start thinking about the way this movie represents Skull Island's indigenous people.

— Wait, wait, there is one great moment of enthusiastic pulp: it's when Tom Hiddleston runs into a cloud of bright-green toxic fumes with a gas mask and a katana and starts fucking carving up pterodactyls. Five stars.

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