“Is that a monkey?” – Man, you do not come to popcorn movies for Oscar winning dialogue, you want to hear dumb stuff like this and Kong : Skull Island is full of such stupid quotes. It is a real leave-your-brain-at-the-door extravaganza that five seconds after you leave the theater, you will have forgotten about, but for those two hours, you are pretty likely to have a smile on your face.
The first thing about Kong : Skull Island that you notice, when the big guy hits the screen mere minutes in, is that this is not a tease-and-reveal film which sticks the monster on the poster and then only has it on screen for a few minutes at the end, no, Kong is the main attraction and pops up at regular intervals, along with some creepier foes that are guaranteed to have you reching for the RAID.
For much of its running time, Kong is essentially a war movie, it follows all the cliches – the storming soundtrack, the slow motion helicopter blades, the Colonel Kurtz fading into the darkness character, all things we have seen before but normally they are fighting an enemy, whereas here, it is them versus nature, which unless this is 80s Stallone or Arnie, is a pretty much unbeatable fight. The strength here is that there are no A-listers in the cast, you have Goodman, Jackson, Reilly, Hiddleston and Larson, all great but not enough to sell a film alone, but this means that any character can be lost at any time. And there are a number of great shock and awe moments, where nature sticks its fingers up and swallows ‘the good guys’.
My favourite performance here is by Brie Larson, who drifts through the tale with wild abandon, this is no docile female who needs to be saved by the constantly arguing and sometimes idiotic testosteroned bunch that she is with – she reminds me of a prime Jodie Foster with the spirit and fizz of Jessica Harper and, well, you can’t really ask for much more can you?
Kong : Skull Island has peril, explosions, monsters, you name it, it is here. One minute it apes Apocalypse Now and the next it feels like The Green Inferno, but overall it is a big dumb tentpole movie that deserves an extra large diet Coke, plenty of snack treats and not being taken too seriously. GIANT MONKEY! 🙂