1 Star: Horrible! This movie makes me want to quit watching movies.
2 stars: An OK movie that could’ve been good, but it was sunk by some major flaws.
3 stars: A good movie that just misses being great.
4 stars: A can’t miss movie, a movie that you need to see.
Some movies are bad and some are good. There is no in-between. They are either good or bad. This makes it simple to review movies, but it’s those movies that are in the middle that make it hard to review movies. Kong: Skull Island is one of those. Sure, it has some good creatures, special effects and one character you can like, but the rest of the movie is a mess. The rest of the characters suck, the story is bland, and the directing is mediocre at best. That is why this movie is so frustrating. This could have been a great movie, but we got a mixed bag instead. Let’s get into the review.
I know monster movies aren’t known for their acting, but there are ways to act in them without effecting the movie. That strikes Kong: Skull Island out. Samuel L. Jackson’s acting is too over the top, Tom Hiddleston is boring, he looks like he is reading off of a badly written q-card, and John Goodman just grunts and yells his way through the movie. OK, there is one decent performance. That would be Brie Larson, who does a decent job of making you feel for her character Mason. You don’t want her to get crushed by the monsters. The rest of the characters, you can’t wait for Kong to squash them so he can put you out of your misery dealing with these downright annoying characters.
Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts isn’t without talent. Some shots are very well done, but he is very inconsistent. Some of the action scenes are well done. He does a good job of keeping the camera focused on the characters, but he does too many unnecessary cuts that make Michael Bay look like Orson Wells. The giant spider scene is a perfect example of this. When our “heroes” try to tangle with the spider. Some of the angles make it hard to know what is going on in the context of the scene. You want to scream at the screen and tell the director to focus the camera. Some scenes that should’ve been on the spider were on the humans, and vice versa. The final fight in the movie is well done, but the overuse of slow motion is a bit of a distraction. See what I mean? This movie is so frustrating! They can’t keep the consistency.
This movie had four writers, think about that. That should tell you why this movie was a mess. The writers, Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein, Derek Connolly, and John Gatins are like the movie itself, a mixed bag. Some scenes that try to come off a dramatic come off as goofy instead, and the story is so paper thin. I wish some depth would’ve been added to the story to make it more interesting. Also, whoever wrote the scene that King Kong should have a stare down with Samuel L. Jackson, needs to work at Pizza Hut instead. Never mind, if their pizza making skills are as half baked as their writing skills, then we would all get sick from under-cooked pizza. The writers don’t know how to balance action, with character development. Good action movies know how to do that. Even 2014’s Godzilla did a very good job at balancing character and action. This one relies too much on the monsters and not enough on the characters to carry the movie.
Typical military characters who don’t have a lot of depth. The best character (Mason), isn’t a great character, but she does give you one person to root for. The difference between a mediocre special effect movie like this and a great one like Aliens is in Aliens you still remember the characters, (Ripley, Newt, Hicks, Hudson, Apone and more). Special effects shouldn’t overshadow the characters, they should help propel the story and the characters.
Were to begin! The forgettable characters, the silly dialogue, wooden acting, and wasteful story bring down the one good character, a few decent action scenes, and the cool looking monsters. This movie is a complete mess. It is worse than a bad movie, it is a frustrating movie. I would rather spend twenty four hours lost in the Forrest being chased by bugs (I have a phobia of bugs) with no map or compass. That would be less frustrating than watching this movie again.
This movie is so frustrating that it made me want to stop watching it and go watch Fox News! Kong: Skull Island could’ve been a great movie, but most of the characters, bland story and inconsistent directing make this movie a chore to watch. There are some good scenes in the movie, but there are too many bad scenes that hurt the movie. Some action scenes are thrilling and the monsters look very impressive, but no amount of cool monsters can make up for the huge flaws of this movie. Go watch Godzilla 2014 instead. The end credits of that movie are more thrilling than anything in this mess of a movie. Kong deserves better and so do we.
My grade: 2 stars
Photo courtesy of: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Kong-Skull-Island-Blu-ray-DVD-Walmart-Exclusive/55702349