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Indyfreak's Movie Reviews (544)

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Kong: Skull Island 
.....Monsters Exist....
3.5/4 stars

Kong Skull: Island kicks off the 2017 blockbuster summer with a monster sized adventure with enough action and spectacle to satisfy popcorn audiences everywhere. The Lost World genre in its classic literal form is almost gone from cinema let alone popular culture. It has to be revamped in a high tech setting like Jurassic Park as an example. I applaud director Jordan Vogt-Roberts for playing the material straight and giving viewers what they want in spades all within a reasonable two hour running time.

But here we have an uncharted island untouched by the outside world for eons until an expedition backed by the US military stumbles upon its terrible secret: Kong, a 100 foot prehistoric ape who wrecks havoc on the explorers' team and strands them on the treacherous Skull Island. Worse yet, Kong is not the only monster on the island. There's giant spiders, pterodactyl swarms, tentacled Kraken, and saurian terrors called Skull Crawlers lurking around.

From a technical standpoint, Kong and his monstrous costars look fantastic and frightening. The scenery and location shots of Vietnam and Hawaii look beautiful. The creatures each have a unique design that fits the strange environment that is Skull Island. Even the initial set up for the story has visual ingenuity. A characters' sunglasses reflect explosions in the jungle or something as simple as helicopters taking off among a flock of birds. Like Gareth Edwards' Godzilla remake or Peter Jackson's King Kong, this is a monster movie that recognizes the need for visual storytelling.

The ensemble cast is game for the pulpy and sometimes silly plot proceedings. John C. Reilly is the standout actor despite his supporting role as Marlowe, a castaway that survived on the island since World War 2. Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson do fine as the two most grounded characters, a mercenary and photojournalist. John Goodman and Samuel L. Jackson absolutely sink their teeth into the script's gonzo lunacy. There are nice turns by character actors such as Shea Wigham, Toby Kebbell, Corey Hawkins, and Jason Michell. It's not a dialogue heavy movie but this is a film where each character does have their moment to shine or leave an impression at least.

Now as for the action scenes, they're AMAZING. I am not going to spoil them as they're a lot of fun to watch and seeing the creativity with the monsters and how the humans react to what's happening is just so awesome. It's truly a roller coaster disguised as a movie. But it does have quiet moments to offset the mayhem and carnage.

Kong: Skull Island is an anomaly among the superhero movies, disaster epics, and space operas populating cinemas lately. And an excellent one at that.


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