The Fun of Kong: Skull Island is Everywhere
Kong: Skull Island came out of left field when it was initially announced. No one knew much of what to expect from this film, and after the extremely mixed criticism of Godzilla, it seemed like there were only two ways this film could go: hit or miss. Luckily, it didn’t lean either which way too hard. Kong: Skull Island is nothing more than a fun, decently made film with some blaring pacing issues and confusing edits.
The first thing I noticed about this film was just how fun every character was to watch on screen. Each actor brings a great feel to the film. Unfortunately for them, their drive is hidden under dodgy storytelling, cliché arcs, and non-existent motivation. Toby Kebbell’s character especially feels like he has a backstory the writers of the film wanted to share with us, but at the last moment just decided to cut out. In a time when “directors cut” seems to be the new norm for DVD sales, it seems likely that Kong: Skull Island will be given a cut that may finally make sense of the full film. At least I hope so.
Unfortunately for them, their drive is hidden under dodgy storytelling, cliché arcs, and non-existent motivation.
The film feels like it’s riddled with missed opportunities and terrible cuts. Like director Jordan Vogt-Roberts and the editors sat in the room and forgot which scenes were truly important and which weren’t. To put it into perspective, at one point the characters are fighting giant spiders in the jungle, and immediately after cutting from the fight, they’re suddenly transported to an open valley. The cuts are also blended with terrible character motivation. Samuel L. Jackson’s character for instance is given absolutely no reasoning behind his motivation for going after Kong. He loses more than half his crew in the first fight and vows to avenge them by going after Kong. Any actual army leader would know that risking the lives of more of your soldiers to shelter your pride is a pretty terrible way to use your authority.
Every aspect of the film looks and feels powerful.
Kong himself looks amazing, as do all the other creatures and monsters on Skull Island. I’ll also say this; the fight sequences are extraordinary. It feels like each fight scene is its own Pay Per View wrestling match, complete with their own fighting styles and personalities. The visuals of Kong: Skull Island are superb. The film looks beautiful, from the design of the indigenous to the island and Kong himself. Every aspect of the film looks and feels powerful. Unfortunately, this is really the only place where the film feels complete. The team spent all their time on the visuals which forced the rest of the script to fall by the wayside.
The only aspect of the visuals which felt a little strange was actually Kong’s movement. In the 2005 Peter Jackson film, Andy Serkis was tasked with motion capturing King Kong. Serkis is a master when it comes to mo-cap and it showed in the film. The team behind Kong: Skull Island decided not to mo-cap Kong and just use computer animation. This is a fine idea, but it’s a little less impressive in terms of where visual animations are with motion capture today. Kong walks too human like, there is really no bend in his knees, no animal nature to his movement. It felt like a glaring problem when trying to visualize the monster. It just sort of took me out of the film.
Kong walks too human like, there is really no bend in his knees, no animal nature to his movement.
Kong: Skull Island is fun. It’s a great time to watch some amazing monster fights. The characters are okay. The script could have used a lot of work. The visuals are some of the best. That’s really all there is to it. You’ll have fun watching the film but some of the glaring problems like the pacing may take you out of the experience as it did me. If you’re looking for a fun Friday night action film to watch with some friends, Kong: Skull Island may be the movie for you, and there’s nothing wrong with that.