Kong Scull Island Movie Review

Published on March 14th, 2017

Kong: Scull Island

By Anji Cross

March 13, 2017

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As a huge fan of King Kong, I very anxiously awaited the release of Kong: Scull Island (2017) Friday, March 10th. The old gargantuan ape has been an American movie icon since his theatre debut in 1933 – and in 2017 he has not disappointed.  With a star-cast including Samuel L. Jackson (who obviously needs no introduction), Tom Hiddleston (Loki from “Thor”), Brie Larson, John C. Reilly, John Goodman  which pushed forward a script written by Max Borenstein of Godzilla, John Gatins of Flight, and Dan Gilroy of Nightcrawler.

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You can tell that they (writers/producers) endeavored to recreate and deliver the story a little differently.  It was not the average ambitious fame seeking white dude, typical island plundering, giant ape capturing, love story between a blonde-beauty and beast, the Eifel Tower, a murdered “king of the jungle” – Kong story.  Jumping off with a more current approach, more like a war documentary which cameoed President Nixon and spotlighting the Vietnam Era. Showing exploits of war action and locales Skull Island build a foundation for military presence for a “scientist’s expedition” to a storm-system covered uncharted island. As typical in Kong lore, the powerful white man’s motivations to get to Scull Island is not clearly stated… And right there the story trajectory changes crash landing us in a “Jurassic World” ecosystem, literally. I thought I was trippin – talk about Deja’ vu…Kong’s nemesis looks too much like a prehistoric Velociraptor, the bird skyline is very reminiscent of the Pteranodon migrating forth and so when Samuel L. Jackson’s character says “Hold on to your butts” I thought… wait… for real?

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When I found out Derek Connolly, scriptwriter for Jurassic World had a prominent role in pulling the final script together – everything suddenly made sense.  Even though the script was a little thin (and sometimes a bit cheesy) particularly with the Preston Packard character, that’s not to suggest that the film is not an enjoyable and entertaining one.

 

The island landscape and water-colored gas infused sunsets are breathtaking.  Kong himself is a beautiful and lifelike CGI rendering, even the tears in his eyes looked real. My only complaint is how the mix-master effect was used, a visual bait, switch and cover using action sequences to mask a sometimes low substance storyline. Still multi-concepts were seamlessly meshed together (altho sometimes barely) to create a visually fluid banquet for movie goers. 

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But there were just a couple of things that bugged. For instance, the war concept, laid a thin a flimsy thread to create a space to bring John C. Reilly’s character, Hank Marlow, a World War II vet, into the mix.  Marlow who has been stranded on Scull Island for nearly 30 years, adds a quippy sarcasm that adds comedy to lighten things up here and there (sometimes it worked – other times it annoyed.) Speaking of annoying… I hated how Army Sergeant Preston Packard, played by Samuel L. Jackson, came off.  He was very much like Tarzan’s Clayton … but the revenge narrative, which juiced his desire “to take Kong out”, just didn’t make sense to me. It felt like a dirty band aid barely stretching and connecting one part of the plot to the other.  Packard’s monologs, actions and reactions kept me wondering what hell the man was doing… and why.  Unable to go along with “insane Corporal Kill,” James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) and Mason Weaver (Brie Larson) parted company to save Kong. I liked the scene where “Beauty” connected with the “Beast,” it was a visually ominous “touching moment” that was over too quickly.

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Kong: Scull Island had it all, a star-cast, “Jurassic” giant beast wars, and beautiful scenery. The bottom line is Kong: Scull Island was a magical effort.  What we will remember most, though is not the story, it’ll be KONG himself; a fiercely protective, large and in charge, ruling king. Kong was totally viable, actually real-looking and totally believable (almost.) I give it 4 stars.  

 

 

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