Kong: Skull Island (2017): When a CGI Character Upstages Real Humans

Check the official movie site here.

As a fan of science fiction movie, and especially fan of Godzilla (2014, really love this version of Godzilla btw), the movie that comes from the producers of Godzilla is really tempting. I actually expect that the movie will somehow equal the emotion when seeing one of Earth’s giant creature fights for the good sake of the world against another giant creature. And I was not quite wrong. Actually, I just think that this movie is one of the reason why CGI was created.

The movie begins with an obsessed scientist Bill Randa (John Goodman) who wants to explore a place on earth where he claims “God don’t finish His creation”. The place, called Skull Island because the satellite imagery makes it looks like a skull, actually on Pacific, sets on 1973, right at the end of Vietnam War. Randa is accompanied by his assistants Brooks (Corey Hawkins) and San (Jing Tian). Later, join him an ex-British Special Air Service Captain Conrad (Tom Hiddleston), an anti-war top photographer Mason Weaver (Brie Larson), and veteran helicopter squad of Vietnam War led by Lieutenant Colonel Packard (Samuel L. Jackson). 

The movie shares intense sequences right after the squad throws seismic bombs that actually used to study the soil. The bombs provoke Kong to appear and rage violently against the helicopters, just on the first 30 minutes. The survivors were separated into two big groups, one is led by Packard and another is led by Conrad. Packard’s group is trying to pick up every single survivor of his squad, while Conrad’s group encounters Lieutenant Hank Marlow, a WWII veteran who has been stranded on the skull island for the past 28 years. Marlow is the only English-speaking man who has the idea of what’s really going on the Skull Island, or why is it called the Skull Island.

The rest is dragging. All you can see is what could upstage an Oscar-winning actress, our most lovely badass actor for the past 30 years and Loki is just a CGI character. Trust me. The scenario is lame, and it doesn’t give any development to the human character. This is understandable for the movie where the monster is actually the main lead. On this movie, Kong feels more than just a nostalgic character from the 1933 movie (I don’t count that 2005 movie King Kong since that movie is pathetic) that one day equals the Empire State Building. This version of Kong feels more heroic, and somehow reminds me of the concept of Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke (1997) that explains every creature has a spirit to defend their own natural habitat. While Kong shines brightly on screen, our heroes are just lame. Tom Hiddleston’s Conrad that supposedly becomes our Indiana Jones is just keep telling “we must get out of here” in every possible different way you could imagine, not to mention a professional war photographer that runs through tropical forest using tanktop. 

Fortunately, there’s someone that finally realizes that this movie is dragging for much too long and decides to stop it. The last minutes thrilling scenes are back and give the movie the feels of what it used to feel. And it’s good because you can finally leave the cinema with satisfaction, though I would like to suggest that you shouldn’t watch this movie for the actors (like me, I watch this movie for Tom Hiddleston haha), and starts to watch it for Kong. Solely Kong. I give this movie 7.8/10.


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