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I'm not a film critic, but I'll tell you what I think about the movies I watch. I enjoy understanding the history behind the movies we watch, as well as the collaborative effort necessary to produce movies.

Kong: Skull Island


Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts

Story by John Gatins

Screenplay by Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein, Derek Connolly

Starring: Brie Larson, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John C. Reilly, John Goodman

When a mysterious island appears in a satellite photo the U.S. government sends a team to investigate. The team soon discovers that the island is home to something unknown to the world.

This movie signals the reboot of the King Kong franchise. The story was developed by John Gatins (Hardball), and the screenplay was written by Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler), Max Borenstein (Godzilla), and Derek Connolly (Jurassic World). Jordan Vogt-Roberts (The Kings of Summer) directed the film. The cast of the film includes Tom Hiddleston (Crimson Peak), Samuel L. Jackson (The Hateful Eight), Brie Larson (The Gambler), John Goodman (10 Cloverfield Lane), and John C. Reilly (Chicago).

This movie was written by three talented screenwriters; Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein, and Derek Connolly. The resulting film unfortunately bears evidence of differing visions for the direction of the story. The movie has a nice premise and the right era was chosen as the setting of the story. There are also some nice moments early in the movie as the main characters are introduced. The film also has some fun dialogue throughout, recycling Vietnam war film lines and other fun bits.

Unfortunately this movie is a bit of a mess. What should’ve been a straightforward monster movie feels more like a patchwork quilt of Vietnam movie references and misguided attempts at character development. The later parts of the movie fall flat due to the film’s lack of ability to connect all the pieces. While the action is strong, the lack of connection to the main characters really hurts the overall experience.

The stars might not have had much to work with, but there are some good moments. Brie Larson did a very nice job in the best-written role of the film. She was able to connect with the material in a handful of moments that stand out. John C. Reilly added a very good performance of his own. Tom Hiddleston also has some good moments in a very under-developed role. It’s a shame we didn’t get a better part since he really did good work. Samuel L. Jackson was given one of the more poorly written roles in this one. Despite that, he still managed to make some things work. John Goodman also made the most of his role. It’s a shame that the writing let these stars down.

While the rest of the movie might be weak, the visuals are not. I might not have loved all of the stylistic choices, but the special effects and CGI are great. The different creatures in the world of the film are intense and so lifelike. The film also features nice sound work that really brings the jungle to life. The only area of production that really suffers is the editing, which seems to find all the right ways to kill the pace late in the movie.

I really wanted to like this one. Unfortunately there are just too many issues with the story for it to work. While the acting has good moments and the visuals are cool, that just isn’t enough. If you’re a die-hard monster movie fan this might be worth checking out. Otherwise it might be a bit too messy for most. At best this is a movie you can wait to see on one of the many streaming sites it’s sure to end up on. I give this one 2.4 out of 5 stars.

Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 118 Minutes

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