View Poll Results: KONG: SKULL ISLAND

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Thread: Kong: Skull Island (Jordan Vogt-Roberts)

  1. #26
    A Platypus Grouchy's Avatar
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    Agreed that the dialogue was awful at times (in that trying-too-hard-to-be-clever way) and the characters sketchy, but once the monsters showed up, I just had a giant stupid grin in my face the whole time. The action was really spectacular, the cinematography and the creature design top notch. Vogt really made a huge jump from an independent feature like Kings of Summer to full scale extravaganza with this. Reilly gave a memorable turn, stealing every scene he was in. It's not a 100% solid film, but it delivers on its promise of good, gory fun, something which its predecessor Godzilla failed spectacularly to provide.
    Last edited by Grouchy; 04-17-2017 at 03:43 AM.

  2. #27
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    Probably weird to say this, but I end up more admiring than enjoying this film (although I still enjoy it quite a bit). If only more mindless summer blockbusters are able to apply efficiency and excess where each is appropriate like this, last year's summer would be a hell lot better. It embraces in being a brash, snappy, and spectacularly colorful wild ride wholly, right from the characters introduction. That section would normally be lumbering in recent blockbusters, but the film paints most of the characters and their first encounters to the island in giddily broad, quick, and fun strokes, realizing that we are not here for them; performances and direction can fill in the blank by themselves.

    Indeed, there are two characters pretty unnecessary because they still hew to the boring tradition of hero/heroine in Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson (especially their main character beats: him a long-winded backstory; her a bleeding heart against the war and the injured, which results in a pretty stupid giant buffalo moment) instead of being nutty and unhinged like everything else. The film is certainly messy and there are times when it pushes so much at full speed that it drags more nearer to the end, but it's one of the few times where the studio excess of giving the audience more and (obscenely) more of what they come for largely pays off for me: big monsters appear and clash spectacularly in regular intervals, with humans efficiently moving things along and providing comparative scale. 7/10
    Midnight Run (1988) - 9
    The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) - 8.5
    The Adventures of Robinhood (1938) - 8
    Sisters (1973) - 6.5
    Shin Godzilla (2016) - 7.5

  3. #28
    Moderator Dead & Messed Up's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting amberlita (view post)
    This was pretty terrible. Kong himself was great, but not on screen nearly enough, and he certainly didn't have a cock and balls.
    Dealbreaker.

  4. #29
    Weird mix of an interesting directorial eye and abysmal characterization and story-telling. Seriously, this thing has a number of talented and/or charismatic actors to take advantage of, but the movie totally fumbles them with arbitrary introductions (seriously, Brie Larson's character literally applies for the position because she heard rumors that something strange was happening and this is explained at length over the phone to a nameless/voiceless support character, and Hiddlestone is some rando tracker whose talent seems to be beating up pool players, and their very first conversation (!) is a hackneyed psychoanalysis of each other's character... oh Jesus, come on scriptwriters, at least try) or no introductions at all (sorry, Jing Tian, you just stand there for a while and we'll think of something for you to say halfway through the movie, and then you just stand around some more) or just weird arcs (Kebbell, baby, you can make this work!).

    The first appearance of Kong is well handled and interesting, and there were moments where the focus on the crew as they awaited going onto the island threatened to turn this into something deeper and more meaningful, but then Jackson's character takes over because without him, there is literally no other story worth telling, so they film is forced to keep circling back to the contrived plot machinations... why not just have the misunderstanding over Kong's role dispelled quickly and then have the rest of the film about helping him out with a threat that would otherwise take him down?

    Clumsy and rushed.
    Last 10 Movies Seen

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  5. #30
    The Pan Spinal's Avatar
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    I greatly appreciated that this was a monster movie and not a love story with ice skating. Somehow it still can't help including moments where a giant ape recognizes the beauty of an attractive human female a fraction of his size, but thankfully the moments are not the main thrust of the film. None of that "beauty killed the beast" nonsense. I was cracking up joyfully during the final absurd battle sequence. Not a particularly well-written film, but it's got good performances from Jackson and Reilly that keep it fun.
    The Night of the Hunted (Rollin, 1980) **1/2
    The Demoniacs (Rollin, 1974) **
    First Man (Chazelle, 2018) ***
    A Star is Born (Cooper, 2018) ***
    A Simple Favor (Feig, 2018) **1/2
    Mandy (Cosmatos, 2018) **1/2
    The Three Musketeers (Niblo, 1921) **
    Chi-Raq (Lee, 2015) ***1/2
    The Headless Woman (Martel, 2008) ***
    Searching (Chaganty, 2018) **

  6. #31
    The Pan Spinal's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting amberlita (view post)
    This was pretty terrible. Kong himself was great, but not on screen nearly enough, and he certainly didn't have a cock and balls.
    I'm more of an ass man myself, so I was taken care of.
    The Night of the Hunted (Rollin, 1980) **1/2
    The Demoniacs (Rollin, 1974) **
    First Man (Chazelle, 2018) ***
    A Star is Born (Cooper, 2018) ***
    A Simple Favor (Feig, 2018) **1/2
    Mandy (Cosmatos, 2018) **1/2
    The Three Musketeers (Niblo, 1921) **
    Chi-Raq (Lee, 2015) ***1/2
    The Headless Woman (Martel, 2008) ***
    Searching (Chaganty, 2018) **

  7. #32
    The Pan Spinal's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting transmogrifier (view post)
    (sorry, Jing Tian, you just stand there for a while and we'll think of something for you to say halfway through the movie, and then you just stand around some more)
    Yeah, this was very disappointing. Felt like she was there to be able to tick off a diversity checkbox and nothing more. I saw her with that big gun in the trailer and thought we'd get more from her.
    The Night of the Hunted (Rollin, 1980) **1/2
    The Demoniacs (Rollin, 1974) **
    First Man (Chazelle, 2018) ***
    A Star is Born (Cooper, 2018) ***
    A Simple Favor (Feig, 2018) **1/2
    Mandy (Cosmatos, 2018) **1/2
    The Three Musketeers (Niblo, 1921) **
    Chi-Raq (Lee, 2015) ***1/2
    The Headless Woman (Martel, 2008) ***
    Searching (Chaganty, 2018) **

  8. #33
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    It's a movie about a giant monkey. Why does the monkey need a backstory?

    Why do any of these characters need a backstory? This movie was so lame that it made me sentimental for shit like "Jurassic Park II," which has a few similar characters and much the same plot. (Pete Postlethwaite FTW.)

    A sample of the things I thought about during the runtime: Hiddleston delivers an inane monologue about his lighter for no particular reason, "My father tossed it to me from the train right before he left to fight the Nazis." Tom Hiddleston is 36. Let's assume his character is the same age. The movie takes place during 1973, so, okay, let's assume Dad went off to war sometime during 1940...when Hiddleston's character was 3 years old. Why would a grown man, a father, throw a cigarette lighter at a toddler, as if doing so were some kind of sentimental gesture?

    You see how bored I got.

    Kong was terrific. The rest of the movie was terrible.
    Matchcut: A vicious snowflake

  9. #34
    Moderator TGM's Avatar
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    This is not the in-depth monkey cock analysis we were promised, Irish.

  10. #35
    - - - - - Irish's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting TGM (view post)
    This is not the in-depth monkey cock analysis we were promised, Irish.
    Hehe. I thought about it, briefly, as I watched. There's two problems. One is that, as somebody else already noted, Kong is mostly shot from the waist up.

    The other problem is that the film doesn't lend itself to silly reflection. It tries too hard to be a serious action movie and the level of violence is waaaay over the top (I couldn't believe this thing was rated PG-13). I mean, I couldn't really sit there and amuse myself with, "Tee hee hee! Monkey cock!" while dudes on screen are getting impaled, regurgitated, and torn limb from limb.
    Matchcut: A vicious snowflake

  11. #36
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    Fairly diverting. Best viewed in its designated B-movie monster mash status, as opposed to its somewhat vacuous stabs at Vietnam commentary piece. It's funny how Larson and Hiddleston prove functional but otherwise dull characters while some of the soldiers are sketched lightly but clearly enough that when a stand-off precipitates the final act, I understood who would align with who, why they would, and who might turncoat. [Goodman disappoints by offering little beyond grave exposition. We know he's capable of as offbeat a performance as Reilly.]

    Speaking of Reilly, what a fantastic bit of work. It reminds me of how Larry Cohen would come with lunatic premises and then let Michael Moriarty run wild and steal the film. The film recognizes how he's the soul of the film, too, and gives us that coda that's so sweet you won't even mind that its handheld 8mm quality implies a spontaneous and unexpected event was rigorously photographed from multiple angles.

    The movie goofs on '70s style like that, most successfully when grain-affected footage at a government building tilts down to a completely clear Goodman getting out of a car.

    And the monsters. God, the monsters. This is the kind of ferocious adventure pic that Harryhausen lived for, in terms of imagination. Kong, skull-crawlers, sword-nosed pterodactyls, tree-sized spiders, the tree-stump insect, oversized buffalo like something out of a Miyazaki movie. There's a scene where Kebbell simply watches as Kong (also Kebbell, a fabulous mocap effect) rests in a lake and tends to wounds. Suddenly, a giant squid attacks, Kong quickly defeats it and sucks down the tentacles like a primal Oldboy, and we realize Kong was actually going fishing to regain his strength. Then he stands and lumbers away like a giant out of "Shadow of the Colossus." The scene is wonderfully unnecessary, in the great tradition of monster movie fights. [One of my favorite things about this sort of movie is that biomes with one giant animal per species have evidently cohabited for millennia in peace... and suddenly go at each other's throats the second human witnesses arrive.]

    I don't think this film offers near the aesthetic heights of Edwards' "Godzilla" film, which remains one of my favorite movies to simply look at (shot to shot, reveal to reveal, it's a masterpiece of how to deliver visual information). And it doesn't offer the confident cartoon tone of "The Mummy" or "Pacific Rim." But there's enough here to warrant a viewing. Enough chuckles and gasps and, in Reilly, some late-story heart. As he might say, better late than never.


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  12. #37
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    And I agree with Irish re: how in the HELL did this skate by with a PG-13? There's a scene of impalement here worthy of Deodato.


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  13. #38
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    This movie is still kinda dumb and shallow, but I keep thinking about individual shots and cuts. Vogt-Roberts and his creative team did some creative work bringing the dreck to life.

  14. #39
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    Quote Quoting Dead & Messed Up (view post)
    This movie is still kinda dumb and shallow, but I keep thinking about individual shots and cuts. Vogt-Roberts and his creative team did some creative work bringing the dreck to life.
    Having re-watched this weekend I agree.

    Still better than Godzilla.

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  15. #40
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    Quote Quoting Dukefrukem (view post)
    Having re-watched this weekend I agree.

    Still better than Godzilla.
    But seriously though, that cut from a soldier falling into Kong's mouth to Science Boy biting into a sammich is 10/10.

  16. #41
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    Quote Quoting Dead & Messed Up (view post)
    But seriously though, that cut from a soldier falling into Kong's mouth to Science Boy biting into a sammich is 10/10.
    So is the shot of Kong sitting in the water eating a large Octopus.

    But yeh, the Match Cut is way better.

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  17. #42
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    Quote Quoting Dukefrukem (view post)
    So is the shot of Kong sitting in the water eating a large Octopus.

    But yeh, the Match Cut is way better.
    For sure. And soldier setting up a three-legged gun mount on a Triceratops skull. And bobblehead Nixon going crazy before impact.

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  19. #44
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    Funny that the helicopter stuff was an issue for him. It never crossed my mind.

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  20. #45
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    There is some Stephen Sommers level bad CGI in this flick.

  21. #46
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    Just some things I made note of during a rewatch.

    1) Both GODZILLA and KONG open on Japan/America tensions post WWII. Both films “originate,” narratively, with the infamous Castle Bravo nuclear testing. John Goodman’s Randa cites it as one of the first encounters with MUTOs, and Serizawa claimed those tests were attempts to kill Godzilla.

    2) There’s an underlying tension established in the credits. Each new speaker talks about new discoveries and knowledge being used to promote either peace or war.

    Harry Truman suggests nuclear power can bring peace, and that’s spliced together with shots of nuclear submarines. Eisenhower discusses how satellite technology doesn’t necessarily relate to ballistic missiles. Other voice-overs discuss “knowledge beyond comprehension” and “cameras in space.” Some offhandedly mentions that the future of science will not belong to man or monkey (cute joke, KONG movie) but to machines (prefiguring the LANDSAT element of the plot). JFK suggests new knowledge will foster a sea of peace or a theater of war. RFK implores listeners to tame the savageness of man.

    A strong echo of this comes later on, when - during a mission briefing - Tom Hiddleston’s Conrad recontextualizes the LANDSAT payloads: “Bombs.” There’s also another touch of this when the science team encounters the enormous bison. Just as a soldier drops his gun, Larson lifts her camera to “shoot.” (That image is probably the best evocation of this whole idea.)

    However, this eventually feels more like texture than deep theme. The chopper disaster forces the humans into two teams, one dominantly soldier, one dominantly scientist (and tracker and photographer). But their adventures don’t highlight the difference between war mentality and peace mentality as much as I would've liked. You get glimmers. The soldiers’ first animal encounter is a voracious spider that jams a leg into one poor bastard’s mouth (evoking CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, of all things). The scientists’ first animal encounter is a peaceable water bison. But that feels a bit convenient, doesn’t it? The better move would be to offer similar animals and different reactions that show us that gap between war and peace mentality.

    And maybe later we could see both teams experience a dangerous predator, and maybe the scientists aren’t as well equipped. (Or maybe they handle it well. The film could take a side or simply display the difference in ideologies.)

    3) Nearly all of the “needle drop” moments are actual needle drop moments. In that you see the record and tape players. There’s something coy in this, like the period-piece soldiers are already self-mythologizing their adventures by placing the events to music.

    4) There are a couple of real clunkers in the dialogue. The worst line is probably a tie for me. Tian Jing looks at a reading on a computer and announces, “The seismic response is… incredible.” And later on, Brie Larson stops and evaluates the enormous field of bones that signifies the Skullcrawlers’ lair. “I’ve seen been in Vietnam long enough to recognize a mass grave when I see one.” Oh, really? Quite the deduction you’ve made, that this boundless field of bone is a mass grave of some kind.

    5) Shea Whigham’s character emerges on each viewing as an interesting soldier, especially with his to-the-point loyalty and concision. When another soldier points out that an ape the size of a building just shredded their choppers, he pauses and admits, “Yeah… that was an unconventional encounter.” It’s a great laugh line.

    6) Two death scenes exist to castrate positive/heroic emotion. The first when the separated teams get on the radio with each other. The science team cheers, and just as they do, one of them suddenly gets pulled out of the boat by pterodactyls and dismembered in silhouette against the setting sun. The second, when Wigham attempts a heroic sacrifice.

    My hope on rewatch was that there might be a Verhoeven-esque second layer of satire or subsumed commentary, and that that it might lie with Vogt-Roberts’ professed nihilism. And I saw moments of that, sequences of that, with more clarity than on an initial viewing, but nothing that amounted to a coherent through-line or full exploration. On the other hand, I’m glad to have what there is, and the film is uncommonly gruesome and bleak for a PG-13 monster movie, and the Harryhausen-esque monster encounters still delight, esp. Kong vs. helicopters, scientists vs. bison, Kong vs. octopus, and the final throwdown. I mean, Kong at one point rips a monster's guts out. 13-year-old me would've loved this movie unconditionally for that.

    7) Both this film and GODZILLA (2014) are about Kong/Godzilla as a steward of nature who protects the equilibrium of its environment (Skull Island/The World) against the threat of Even Worse Monsters like Mutos/Skullcrawlers. A cast of A-listers gets to watch. Also, both films climax with a shocking instance of oral trauma. I wonder if producer Thomas Tull is into vore.

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