The Tone is All Over the Place
This is a movie where Hiddleston and Larson take turns seeing who can pull off the most heroic pose on a monster-infested island, while Samuel L Jackson goes fully mental, spouting inane platitudes and one-liners. Let’s not even start on the overly-schmaltzy home video that comes out of nowhere to play over the end credits.
Now, it isn’t hard to imagine this as a straight-up action romp a la Pacific Rim, but Skull Island’s filmmakers bit off more than they could chew in attempting to mine emotional material from characters who barely register as caricatures.
Now, when it sticks to monsters wailing on each other, the film is at its best; but the scenes in-between that should have been breathing room just come across as laughably half-baked, failing in their attempts to create pathos. The end result is a disparity in tones and performances that throw off what is otherwise an enjoyable giant monster movie.
The Visual Effects are Top Notch
Without question, the film outdoes itself in the visuals. Executed by the world’s foremost effects house, Industrial Light and Magic (established by George Lucas four decades ago to create the effects for the first Star Wars) King Kong has never looked this good. From the creature designs to the actual rendering of the monsters in motion, CGI has rarely looked this impressive, with the majority of encounters boldly taking place in broad daylight amongst various environments.
Too Much of a Good Thing
Remember the last ten minutes of Jurassic World, where the three-way fight between the Indominous Rex, the T-Rex, and a raptor brought the house down by being the most batshit crazy thing ever in a movie that was full of bashit crazy moments? Imagine that, but stretched out to a couple of hours – it’s fun for a while, but it gets exhausting!
Where Jurassic World built up to its prehistoric brawl for all across its entire runtime, Skull Island blows its load early with a spectacular attack on the heroes’ helicopters and tries to up the ante with one grandiose set piece after another.
Of course, it is only at the end of the film, after the credits have run, that we learn that the monster-on-monster fisticuffs of Skull Island was just the set up for..
Introducing the Monster Verse (SPOILER ALERT!)
In a move that should surprise no one at this point, the studio behind Skull Island is looking to create a multi-film series out of the King Kong property by placing him in a shared universe with other classic monsters. The monsters in this case hail from the classic Toho Studios stable, including Mothra, King Ghidorah, and yes, Godzilla himself. With a 21st century version of King Kong VS Godzilla already announced for release in 2020, we’re just hoping against hope that they get around to rebooting Gamera at some point.
Because there just aren’t enough giant flying turtle movies being made.
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