Written By Jacob Chimilar
After a 12 year hiatus Kong is back on the big screen with another all star cast in a film set during the end of the Vietnam War as satellite imagery has just come into play. John Goodman is looking to survey a previously uncharted island, Skull Island, in search of monsters with a team only concerned with mapping the area as their way in. They do however pull some strings and get a military escort just to be on the safe side of course.
The story is about as basic as can be. The message is the usual, humans force their will on nature and nature fights back. I mean it is a King Kong movie so it's not like we're watching an original film but still this one brought very little to the franchise. I can't really say that it had iconic moments or scenes that will hold up as some of the best of the genre. There were some cool shots for sure and one or two cool scenes with Kong and that's the extent of it. There were some purposefully pretty shots in here as well that felt like a weird cut away to something they nailed the shot on and then went back to normal levels of filmmaking again. to quote a Key and Peele sketch "This movie has an inconsistent visual language!" The pacing was OK but the editing could get pretty choppy like it was someone stitching things together trying to give everyone talking their close up. Kong's fight scenes were great, big sweeping shots that were awesome but everything else was just chopped together in the most distracting way. The dialogue wasn't really allowed to breath and it wasn't even good. Most every line was not really necessary. Just a bunch of bland people saying bland things while being stuck on an island.
Kong himself looked very cool, I think effects artists have apes down pat, even in the 2005 King Kong he holds up really well. The scenery however was laughably fake looking at times, like a stylized comic book movie. Larry Fong the cinematographer has collaborated on many Zach Snyder films so this makes sense but doesn't fit in this context.
The only person I even remotely got attached to was John C Reilly. He was funny and had a backstory that gets rewarded. He had to essentially carry the film himself with his eccentric charm and he does his best. Samuel L Jackson was just kind of ok but I think the way the character was played wasn't as strong as the story we were given about him. The rest of the cast was so expendable it wasn't even funny. I honestly couldn't tell you their reason for being in the film at all. They were just pretty bodies that could move and fight with very little in the way of personality that was in any way interesting. It wanted to evoke that 70's rock and roll war movie that has been done better by films like Forrest Gump and Apocalypse Now (Even the IMAX Poster says so) even going for a similar color palette to Apocalypse but it can not hold a candle to that film in the slightest.
There was a trailer for War for The Planet of The Apes before this film and I have to say, that is probably your best bet for a movie revolving around an ape ruler. It doesn't try anything new. The score and cinematography are great. The production value overall is pretty strong but the obvious CG backgrounds and lack of much character depth and story doesn't really make me want to see it again or really make me glad I saw it in the first place.