KONG: SKULL ISLAND – What stands out in my memory of the original “beauty and the beast” film classic about the gigantic simian lovestruck for Fay Wray (THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME) is the “hammy” acting and the graphic violence, for 1933, of the Skull Island sequences. There’s crappy, cliché-ridden dialogue aplenty in this pointless “reimagining” (Whatever that means.) of those scenes that actually had me rooting for the humans to be devoured and torn asunder by the title character and the settings’ various prehistoric creatures lifted from THE LOST WORLD (1925, 1960) and JURASSIC PARK (1993). Set in 1973, the film serves as an anachronistically trite metaphor for the unwinnable Vietnam War which is more suited for, I don’t know…A VIETNAM WAR MOVIE. Its’ symbolic character is a gung-ho officer (Samuel L. Jackson) who’s still psychically smarting from the “peace with honor” that ended the Southeast Asian “conflict”. Borrowing from a well-known and parodied convention of horror flicks, Jackson (PULP FICTION) and his charges get stranded on the title locale after stupidly flying a cohort of military helicopters within swatting distance of a colossal primate whose “home” they just bombed. After that, what’s left are a trio of screenwriters trying to arrive at creatively gory ways to dispatch some of the uninteresting characters who give the impression of just striking poses. Funny, I thought that was the formula for most FRIDAY THE 13TH movies. The cinematography of the appropriately bleak landscape, shot ironically in Vietnam, and the “loopy” performance of John C. Reilly (CHICAGO) are the scant “positives” of this otherwise big budget blunder which utterly wastes the talents of John Goodman (RAISING ARIZONA), Tom Hiddleston (THE AVENGERS) and Brie Larson (ROOM). Honestly, making another movie about the deadly setting’s badass beast is as unneeded as more drama from the White House. CRITIC’S GRADE: D+
CLOSING CREDITS: I want to give “props” to the attendant at Hollywood Cinemark in McAllen who tipped me off to the post-credit scene in this movie that I wasn’t expecting. What the sequence does is set the stage for yet another showdown between King Kong and Japanese B-movie icon Godzilla which was first put on film back in 1963. After the screen went dark, I could only respond with, “Oh great, another ‘reimagining’”. Whatever that is.