Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Okay, I’ll admit it.  I’m a sucker for this kind of movie.

I’ll concede my first reaction to the trailers was that their Kong was ridiculously big.  Godzilla sized.  But then he’d have to be, if he’s going to go on and fight Godzilla in that future movie they’re promising us.

But the curious thing is that the movie never lets you get that feeling.  When Kong first arrives, he does so in a scene that keeps him in proportion to the extremely mountainous island on which he lives.

Originally, of course, King Kong was a mere eighteen feet tall (in the jungle), or twenty-four (in the City) – and only the Toho version did he reach the incredible height of over 140 feet, only slightly smaller than the early Showa Godzilla.

Supposedly, this Kong is about 100 ft – which is puny compared to the nearly 400 foot Godzillas in Gareth Edwards 2014 film and Shin Godzilla.  He looks bigger than that, but he is undeniably one of the best looking Kongs in a long time.  Peter Jackson’s movie – whose Kong was roughly the same size as the original – followed the Disney remake of Mighty Joe Young in making him nothing more than a big Gorilla.  But this Kong, like the original, is far more anthropomorphic:  like the original, he stands on his own two feet.   The end result is more force of nature than big ape, all rippling muscles and ferocity.

The basic storyline is very familiar – an expedition goes to a mysterious island, although this time it is a scientific expedition at the very end of the Vietnam War, complete with its own military helicopter escort.  However, it is a welcome change that this time we don’t have the romance between the big guy and the blonde.  Instead, his encounter with the token female is one of overwhelming awe.  Which, when you think of it, is probably the right response to a creature the size of a ten story building.

We get an excellent cast, with John Goodman and Samuel L. Jackson, although the standout is John C. Reilly, whose character has been on the Island alone for far too long.

This is your classic, overblown, summer blockbuster, complete with lots of explosions, lots of creatures (mostly CGI), lots of hints about Monarch, Godzilla and future Toho monster appearances, and an epic version of King Kong.  It is also ridiculous amounts of fun, a marvelous accompaniment to the biggest tub of popcorn in the place, and is sure to keep the Kaiju Eiga fans out there in a state of cinematic bliss.

In fact, the only real problem is that Warner reportedly sank about 185 Million dollars in this film and will have to make half a Billion (yes, with a “B”) in sales before they make money on it.

Let’s face it, there haven’t been that many movies that even came close to making that much.  This is a huge risk, and they’ll probably lose money on it.  Maybe they won’t be making any more Kaiju Eiga at Warners.  Who knows.

Darn.  I was really looking forward to seeing their version of King Ghidorah



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