Pick-it or Flick-it: Kong: Skull Island, The Prettiest B-Movie Ever Made

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Kong: Skull Island movie poster - Legendary Pictures

Let’s get one thing out of the way right now, I love monster movies. In fact, I grew up on them and still go out of my way to watch new ones. I even love the classic cheeseball monster mashup King Kong vs. Godzilla, so it’s pretty hard to make me hate a monster movie. But one thing I do hate? Taking a great idea and wasting it on a movie that does nothing else but try to meaninglessly connect two movie universes so a studio can remake a movie that no one ever wanted. Consider this your warning, I hated Kong: Skull Island.

Kong: Skull Island is the latest attempt to bring everyone’s favorite mega-monkey back to the big screen. The movie follows a team of scientists working for the Monarch (Fans of the most recent Godzilla film already see the gears turning here.) Corp. who are sent to explore an uncharted island hidden within a super storm in the Pacific Ocean. This island turns out to be Skull Island, the home and domain of King Kong. After these scientists drop several bombs in order to map the island’s terrain (thank god for 1970’s technology), they are attacked by Kong and have to make their escape off of the island.

If that plot sounds like a good movie to you, you aren’t alone. I was very excited for this movie when it was announced, and I got even more excited once the trailer was released. But, sadly, what could’ve been a great movie was turned into nothing more than a means to an end prequel to the upcoming 2020 film, Godzilla vs. Kong. The film even has an a-class cast, featuring Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, Tom Hiddleston, John C. Reilly, and even John Goodman, all of whom are wasted. With the exception of John C. Reilly’s character, all of these actors are given the most bland characters they’ve ever portrayed.

The setting could’ve been more interesting, considering the film takes place around the end of the Vietnam War, but the setting is just used as an excuse to show mouthy soldiers flying around in helicopters to the same songs everyone has heard in every other Vietnam-era war film. Like almost every other aspect of Kong, the director uses interesting ideas in the most bland of ways.

What is a monster movie without the effects? You either get comically bad practical effects that at least make for funny movie nights with friends, or you get dazzling effects that leave you in a daze. With Kong, you get neither of those, you just get the most lazy computer-generated effects you’ve ever seen outside of a Sci-Fi Channel Original Movie. Normally bad effects can be laughed off for a monster movie, but for a film like Kong: Skull Island with its AAA budget, the effects in this film are just insulting.

At the end of the day, Kong is a film that I’m confident the studio spent their entire budget getting the actors they wanted, because it definitely doesn’t seem like it went towards the special effects, the writing, or the directing. Kong: Skull Island is a solid flick-it, and I’ve never been more disappointed to write a review. The only reason it’s worth watching is if you are having a King Kong or Godzilla movie marathon, and even then I would say there are plenty of other films worth watching before this one.

Edward Smith is a reporter for the Picket and can be contacted at esmith08@rams.shepherd.edu or on Twitter @e404smith