Kong: Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island ★★½

Here's the thing, I enjoyed this movie, most of the time. I don't think it's a particularly good film, so I'm gonna shred it a little in this review. So don't take this as me hating it. 

Let's talk about visuals, which is what I consider this movie's strongest leg. There are some nice, cool-looking shots, nice compositions, good creature designs, and interesting use of color. However, some of the visuals overstay their welcome. The sunset shots seen in the trailer look nice at first, but they suffer from poor editing and overuse. For example, the scene has a mid-day overcast sky for one shot, then cuts to a sunset shot, then cuts back to overcast. This happens at least three times, mainly in the first encounter with Kong. The visual effects are a mixed bag, from above average to poor. The monsters and environments are pretty well done, but there are moments of laughable blue screen. In the first encounter of Kong, there is a shot with a soldier hanging out of a helicopter above Kong's head, and it reminded me of a 3D theme park ride (funny since there is a King Kong one at Universal). The designs of the creatures are very well done too. One thing I appreciated about Kong was that it looks like they based his proportions off of the original stop-motion puppet, unlike Peter Jackson's version which is based more off a real mountain gorilla. The other monsters have creative designs, like the main villains and some of the other inhabitants of the island (I liked the giant stick-bug). Despite me having some gripes with the visuals, the movie still has relatively strong visuals. 

Now the roast session begins, with the characters and script. This isn't hyperbolic, there is like 17 characters in this movie. And they all have equal screen time. None of the characters have any real characters, with few exceptions, because they don't have any time to really do anything, to make room for other characters. The only interesting character is Kong himself. The movie takes time to show how he survives on the island, fleshing out what his personality is. But I feel they showed too much of him. A common gripe with 2014's "Godzilla" was that there wasn't much Godzilla. I actually liked that they were reluctant to show him, because it made his presence on screen much more impactful. Kong didn't have that same effect over the film that Godzilla had. 

The humor is pretty mixed, some jokes land, but a lot of them, mainly from the four comic relief characters, seem very shoe-horned in or go on for way too long. There is a joke when a character names on the monsters a dumb-sounding name, and I swear, it goes on for like a minute about how dumb it sounds. Speaking of cringe-worthy jokes, lets talk about cringe-worthy dialogue. In a scene in a gravesite of Kong's "parents", someone said "I've seen too many gravesites to know what that is". Why is this so melodramatic all of a sudden? There's alot of cliche dialogue like "he was only defending his territory!".

 In of the story, I noticed this movie really wants to be other movies, mainly "Jurassic Park" and "Aliens". This movie's plot is basically Jurassic Park 3, but with kaiju. Samuel L Jackson un-ironically says "hold on to your butts" in one scene, the shots of the helicopters entering the island mirror the opening of Jurassic, and there is a character who is basically Hudson from "Aliens". So it is subtle on what its influences are. 

Anyway, the audience that like these kinds of movies will like it, and I admit I did get a kick out of it. The pacing is mostly quick, and there are some great action pieces. So if you want to see, go see it, it's pretty harmless.