The most recent Hollywood take on the giant ape himself, King Kong, should have left us with a monstrous hunger for more. Instead, it feels like a souped-up version of Honey I Shrunk the Kids meets the third or fourth Jurassic Park all set to the soundtrack of Good Morning, Vietnam.
Knowing this movie was heavier on the action than the plot, and wanting the throat-shaking sounds and sights to feel even closer, we went to a 3D showing and don't regret it. Seeing Kong bat choppers out of the air and smash them together in a fiery explosion was pretty badass, and we were entertained by not just Kong but the surprising other monsters that emerge from the forbidden jungle, splendid in its CGI majesty.
Yet, part of what made the flick promising was the thought of seeing Samuel L Jackson take on the biggest gorilla this side of the galaxy and John Goodman as a government monster-chaser. Whether it's the silly script or their shallow characters, neither leaves a remarkable impression.
The story is not supposed to be complicated, but did it have to be so predictable? Did the filmmakers have to write in one more female journalist (Brie Larson, Rampart) who seems to have brought too few clothes for a jungle mission? Why on earth didn't she put her hair in ponytail while she tried to take pictures from the open door of the 'Nam helicopter? And, oh no, why does she go from detesting to flirting with the ex-military expedition leaders in a matter of minutes? Wait for it: Why is she looking so lovingly into Kong's terrifying red eyes?
These and more questions are sure to get non-answers as it seems all but certain there will be a sequel. Maybe even more than one. Plus, do yourself a favor and get your $11 out of the deal by staying through to final scene at the end of the credits. (Julie Ann Grimm)
+ Giant monsters and a sweet '70s soundtrack
- Shallow, predictable and silly
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Kong: Skull Island
Violet Crown, Regal, PG-13, 120 min.