Kong: Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island ★★★½

Dear Billy,

With Kong: Skull Island, director Jordon Vogt-Roberts seems intent to remind us of the meaning of the word 'blockbuster', foregoing deep and meaningful characterisation for chewing gum for the eyes. I'm also amazed how much of a 'Vietnam war' film it is trying to be without actually being one, borrowing a number of tropes in terms of plot, style, aesthetic and soundtrack. The soundtrack, which is pretty bitchin', is exactly what you would expect from a film that could come under that Vietnam umbrella. It's funny how this is becoming a kind of cliché in itself. I wrote an essay recently on that quickly developing cliché and did rather well with it so I have a lot to thank it for.

I feel slightly uneasy by 98% of the cast comprising of cardboard cutouts - John C. Reilly's marooned Hank Marlow is the clear standout but from a field of basically one - and I really don't like Samuel L. Jackson's Preston Packard being given some sort of spiritual connection to Kong, which equates to the ever-exploited guilt over the job not being finished in 'Nam.

That being said, the film aims for spectacle and it delivers. Each new action sequence that comes has a unique creature at the centre of it, a unique way that the creature is used and a unique way in which the human characters deal with the threat.

Ultimately though, I don't think a film should have such uninspiring characters just because it looks a bit good.

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