There’s not much more I can say about Kong:Skull Island other than that it exists. It’s not really good, but not bad either. I personally loved the trailer, but then again who couldn’t: it’s Apocalypse Now meets monster movie! In hindsight that trailer should’ve been just another YouTube mockup, one that the internet shares like crazy for two weeks and then just vanishes from our collective minds.
Skull Island looks nice. There’s a lot of shots in it that make you go “oh that’s cool”. The big problem with it is that it never rises above its “Apocalypse Now meets Kong” pitch. This isn’t a movie that feels like its own thing, it’s one that’s constantly stuck in referential state. Let’s look at the soundtrack alone: if you type in Vietnam songs on Spotify, you will get a list that has all the songs in this movie in it.
I’m mentioning this because it’s part of what plagues this movie: it’s not made by someone who has something to say about Vietnam, or the war. It’s made by someone who adores the filmic language of Apocalypse Now and ignores the fact that movie’s substance is what made it so special. Not one character in the Kong universe feels like more than a stock character. It’s as if someone took the world of Apocalypse Now, and dumped its action figures into it.
To make this successful perhaps it would’ve been better to look at Predator instead, which had a cast of lived-in characters that felt like they had seen their fair share of horrors pre-encountering a monster.
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