Saturday, March 11, 2017

Kong: Skull Island Brings New And Fresh Approach

King Kong and a Skullcrawler in “Kong: Skull Island.” 
Warner Bros. Pictures

By Darlene Donloe

This is not your mother’s King Kong!

Kong: Skull Island is a behemoth movie in more ways than one. Everything is BIG!
The action! The adventure! The fantasy! The science fiction! The cinematography! And, of course, the ape!

The film, which takes place in 1973 and was primarily shot in Vietnam, takes fans to an island never seen before - for the latest adventure in the franchise.  The result is a non-stop, violent, sometimes comical, loud, action-packed crazy ride!

This is solid, spectacularly visual fun!

Kong Skull Island is light years away from the 1933 classic King Kong, which starred Fay Wray.  That film took place in New York City with the Empire State Building as an iconic backdrop.

Brie Larson and Tom Hiddleston

This time around humans (the military, some scientists, a guide and photographer) have invaded the fabled Kong’s home on an island far away from civilization. They are on his turf – uninvited – to do research - and he’s not happy about it.  

Kong’s home is all at once beautiful, yet deadly. There are some enormous, dangerous creatures lurking that are equally unhappy about the humans'  presence.

The team of explorers must tread lightly and literally watch their own and each other’s back because there is danger lurking behind every corner.

What ensues is nothing short of mayhem. The chances of the team surviving the island decreases by the minute.

While others are touting how the film is similar to Apocalypse Now – and it is – I kept thinking of how similar it was to the Jurassic Park franchise.

Although the reimagining of the story is a bit murky, the action scenes and enormous spiders and lizards, keep the film elevated.  The question becomes – why are all the creatures on this island HUMONGOUS?!!!

Samuel L. Jackson

Samuel L. Jackson is a big, bad, no-nonsense military man bent on killing Kong for having killed some of his men. John C. Riley, who plays a long forgotten, but charming WW1 veteran, nearly steals the movie with his sincere, yet comical repartee.  He’s been living on the island for 25 years – so he knows the terrain intimately. The rest of the cast moves the film forward.

But, lets talk about the real star of the movie – KONG!  Kudos to Industrial Light & Magic for the incredible effects. While Kong is massive and scary and violent, he also has a gentle, protective side. He makes a real connection with Brie Larson’s character, who is the photographer.  There is a mutual admiration society between the two that is crucial to the film's ending. 

While Kong: Skull Island is epic, it doesn’t take itself seriously.  It’s high-energy romp that may call for a large popcorn with plenty of butter.  Sit back and enjoy!

Be sure to stay until the end of the credits. There is a nice surprise.

Kong: Skull Island is directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts and stars Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, John C. Reilly, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Tian Jing and John Goodman.

Rated PG-13 (for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for brief strong language); Running time: 2h

On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likeable), O (oh, yeah) and E (excellent), Kong: Skull Island gets an O (oh, yeah).

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