11 Mar 2017

Movie Review: Kong:Skull Island: Not So Good, Not Too Bad

(Caution: Hyphens and brackets prickle this review.) 

Set at the fag-end of the Vietnam war (1973), a government agent Bill Randa (John Goodman) hires a British Air Service Captain James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) and a military squadron led by Colonel Packard (Samuel Jackson in another stereotyped 'bad ass' role) to explore the mysterious Skull Island in the South Pacific.

The mandatory female lead Mason Weaver (Brie Larson) makes for commercial decoration rather than the photographer she is supposed to be playing. A madcap, chuckle-inducing, endearing cameo by John C. Reilly lightens up the second half. Reilly's Marlow is the only character with any connect here.

A ship sails without anything remotely ominous happening. The CGI created XXL-sized storm cloud is yawn-inducing, As a bevy of helicopters break through to Avatar-like geography and the talented cast contorts awe-stricken faces to a Jurassic Park-like soundtrack, an airborne tree trunk meets a windshield. Enter Kong, bloody red-eyed, mammoth, all too familiar and one-note.

Big budget blues  
Filled, or more precisely, populated with the movie (Apocalypse Now), anti-war (in uppercase and underlined many times over) and literature (Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad) references, Kong: Skull Island gathers audience attention due to its ballooned up budget and cast, rather than anything remotely spectacular.

Lame jokes, cardboard characters 
Mammoth-sized creatures on an unknown island battling man's greed, weaponry and ego is oft-repeated big screen potential.

Kong: Skull Island borrows from all previous reboots and the original King Kong (1933) but falters, scene after scene. Cliches, overcooked dialogues, loud in-your-face action ensures the utter lack of surprises.

Only for a minute, in a haze-induced hunted-hunter waiting does this wannabe monster movie come alive. A decent final Kong-Giant Lizard confrontation ably mimics bits from Peter Jackson's King Kong (2005). These two action episodes just about hold our attention.

No genuine moments, zero on the thrill meter, a brief, forced human-Kong connect, guns, fire, ho-hum.

Too full of itself and a loud chest-thumping, grizzle of a movie, Kong: Skull Island in 3D is a shallow breeze thanks to its incident-filled screenplay and CGI. An optional, not so boring watch at the theaters this week.

For a better experience, catch Peter Jackson's inconsistent but impressive, high-quality King Kong instead.

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