Kong : Skull Island
The movie “Kong : Skull Island” is the third remake of the original classic from the 1930s. The public being so familiar with the plot details of the recurring franchise, the producers had to struggle to find new ground. In this they succeeded masterfully.
Whereas previous efforts offered the allure of amazing prehistoric beasts, the uplifting thought of man’s mastery over all, and a highly unusual love story between beauty and beast, the current production thought to pave over these well trod paths to inject novelty by veering sharply into the disgusting and the vile. As partial compensation they added stereotypical villains so often remembered from the more mundane scripts circulated in the drug addled haze of Hollywood as to put one to sleep between the screams.
The new villains somehow involve a large corporation secretly planning to earn huge sums by exploiting and ruining nature in ways that were never explained. If one said that perhaps they wanted the prehistoric island to develop condominiums, having just seen the movie, I could not honestly contradict them. Another villain is an insane stereotype of a military officer driven crazy at the end of his acting career by being forced to act in such a farce in order to put food on the table. This madman wants to rescue a good friend, whose character development borderers on non-existent, by getting everyone else killed. Makes perfect sense if your view of life and the military comes from comic books and drug induced hallucinations.
The love-interest human hero is almost entirely written out of the script and contributes nothing to the story. The heroine is so forgettable as to be nerve-wrenching. Her connection with the beast is so trivial as to be unbelievable. The monster monkey is more human than any of the rest of the cast and the most effective helicopter killer ever invented. Five, ten, hundreds, perhaps even thousands of helicopters are no match for him. Likewise he is impervious to heavy duty machine guns regardless of their number. Then to save production costs and afford repairs to the equipment, the New York scene is entirely eliminated.
But these minor disappointments pale in comparison to the new monsters. They are called “Skull Crawlers” and resemble nothing so much as overgrown lizards suffering from both gonorrhea and leprosy. They are obscene and disgusting enough to be neither truly frightening nor otherwise interesting.
Indeed, the only glimmer of interest and comic relief comes from a WWII aviator mourning his friend of a Japanese pilot who shared his struggle for survival on the island.
This production more resembles other all time favorites like the “Psycho” remake or “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” than anything in the previous franchise. Nevertheless, if this genre remains of interest, you might consider instead seeing the movie “The Hateful Eight” also reviewed here.