Sunday, March 19, 2017

Immediate Thoughts - Kong - Skull Island

Fresh from the theaters, thoughts racing and popcorn breath fuming - if you're looking for a beautifully written entry, stray away. The following are my very opinionated, unprofessionally immediate thoughts on the above film. For the sake of spitting arguments rather than writing a full review, I'm writing in a tone pointed directly toward those who have likewise seen the film, and have a familiarity with the genre.

King Kong; the biggest American monster this side of anyone in-office. Arguably the father of modern movie monsters, he's a household name to rival the greats - Alien, Predator, and of course, the one, the only, Godzilla. Legendary and Toho struck creative gold with 2014's hit GODZILLA, kick starting an all-new era of international big-budget monster madness; leading films such as Power Rangers, Colossal, and Shin Godzilla to the forefront. Old man Kong couldn't miss the party - and, already seeing dollar signs at the thought of a certain monster mash, Legendary sent him a formal invitation.

With Kong - Skull Island, the gigantic gorilla has smashed back into star-studded Hollywood glory with a burning vengeance; gone are the rubber suits, the intricate models. No more Empire State scaling, or T-Rex clobbering. Feeling fresh for the first time in many a film, KSI brings us an excitingly lively take on the familiar monster.

As the second installment to the Legendary 'MonsterVerse', comparisons are inevitable to it's predecessor. Where GODZILLA failed, KSI succeeded. In many ways, the film feels as if it were a direct sequel to GODZILLA - minus the necessary titular beast, of course. Each character, though a bit upfront and typical, was recognizable; we knew the cast, and we could feel for them appropriately. Being centered on commonplace film tropes isn't always a negative attribute of a character - because we could identify them based on persona and appearance. they effortlessly held our attention, and even managed some very strong moments. There's spectacle galore -  no half baked artistry to constantly pull away from the testosteronefest here. The battles are huge, and look just as incredible as they ought to. Even some dashes of lighthearted, comic book-esque imagery and comedy are sprinkled into the mix, painting an excellently colorful image.

The best way to bluntly describe the movie is as a modern 'Showa' film; upbeat, a bit cartoony, but perfect for some popcorn thrills. There is an inarguable weight to the story and all aspects involved, but it is kept alive by a steady stream of humor and simplicity that can tastefully counter even the darkest of moments. It's candy - there's not a whole lot behind the curtain, but there's just enough character to it all to make that irrelevant.

However, something did feel a bit hollow about the film - not enough drive for the monsters to clash, not enough development and settling time for the large story. Some characters were perhaps a bit underused compared to their importance, and things felt very fast-paced. I've yet to decide if this adds to the eccentric tone, or takes away from a greater experience.

Upon further viewings, I hope to make a full review - I'm a bit of a Kaiju freak, obviously. But, based on one viewing alone, I'm happy to say KSI is certainly among the most fun modern monster flicks I've seen in recent years.

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