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Monday, March 13, 2017

Kong: Skull Island 2017 * * Stars

Kong: Skull IslandDirector: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Year: 2017
Rated PG-13
Rating: * * Stars
Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson

Kong: Skull Island is a big budget movie that likes to show off. It's got Richard M. Nixon bobble-heads, Sam Jackson making another silly speech, and John C. Reilly playing a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan. Being a die hard White Sox fan myself, my question is this: Did "Skull" really need to be made in the first place? No. But hey, all Hollywood execs have to corral a buck.

In Kong: Skull Island, King Kong as usual, beats his chest and roars. In Kong: Skull Island, King Kong the monster is the protagonist once again. In Kong: Skull Island, the story minus timeline constraints, involves a bunch of eager beavers venturing into forbidden Skull Island not knowing the dangers that await them. In Kong: Skull Island, the only thing missing is Kong scaling the Empire State Building. So OK, Kong: Skull Island at a cost of $185 million, is my latest review.

A large cast including Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, John Goodman, and Brie Larson, gets lost in the shuffle via "Skull". And as the eighth film in the King Kong franchise, "Skull" also suffers from pacing that's a little off, a lack of cinematic freshness, and some real patchy editing.

Image result for kong: skull island 2017 movie scenesSo all right, what's left to admire during Kong: Skull Island's two-hour running time? Well it's the special effects and capable cinematography courtesy of Hawaii and Australia.

Now if you decide to view "Skull", you'll probably reminisce about Colonel Kurtz, Martin Sheen, mangoes, and good old "Charlie". Let me explain.

Call it a hunch but I think director Jordan Vogt-Roberts viewed 1979's Apocalypse Now before even making "Skull". I mean how else do you explain the presence of colored smoke grenades, patrol boats going upriver, rampant palm trees, slow motion sounds of helicopter rotor blades, and a similar movie poster depicting Earth's huge, tucked away sun. Yeah Kong: Skull Island bleeds nostalgia for Coppola's drawn-out vision of the Vietnam War. Too bad it's not nearly as epic. Sigh.

Image result for kong: skull island 2017 movie scenesWistful candor and fledgling choppers aside, "Skull" has decent visual effects shots and a scorched look. However, it possesses these traits in nothing but standard fashion. Peter Jackson did more twelve years ago with 2005's vaguely titled, King Kong. Of course Jackson's film is bloated at three hours long. And yes, it also contains the same structural miscues as Kong: Skull Island. Nevertheless, 2005's "Kong" is more eye candy than "Skull" will ever be.

With King Kong, Jackson inserted some real nasty CGI creatures in the form of giant bugs, "Scorpio-pedes", and "Piranhadon". Vogt-Roberts instead, goes the military route giving us an overly violent PG-13 flick that just gets by. Bottom line: I'm a sucker for 60's/70's rock tunes and "Skull" has that kind of a soundtrack (better yet, it's obsessed with said soundtrack). Also, King Kong is a character that in any one of his movies, will never just go away. Nonetheless, I can't quite give Kong: Skull Island a true recommendation. No need to rush out and visit this "island" any time soon. Rating: 2 stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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