Stars: Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, John C. Reilly, John Goodman, Terry Notary, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Thomas Mann, Shea Whigham, John Ortiz, Toby Kebbell, Jing Tian, Eugene Cordero, Will Brittain, Richard Jenkins, Marc Evan Jackson, Thomas Middleditch.
Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Screenplay: Dan Gilroy & Max Borenstein.
This almost has it, almost but I guarantee that this will be in my re-watch as it has just enough to make a massively fun movie. With an insane ensemble cast to some of the prettiest saturated imagery, Kong: Skull Island (2017) is a decent early year blockbuster.
But there is also a better film lurking within this edit. If there was just another pass, using different takes or even just letting a shot exist for a little longer could have taken this imagery and made it magical. Again they nearly had it, but another editing team could have made a better film with it.
But Kong is a beautiful creature, a more elegant Kong than Weta's in 2005 with more soul even if he takes a more back seat within his own film that the previous one. And that spider or ant that is as tall as the trees was absolutely fucking terrifying, there are not many movie monsters that freak me out but this one had me squirming.
As you can see I am talking about everything but the characters, and that is because there are no characters in this film, or rather no one person to empathise with. They all feel like supporting roles with no main to play off. Hiddleston and Larson get the main titles but very rarely do they lead the film in any logical way, they just happen to be there. There could have been a really interesting balance between James Conrad (Hiddleston) and Mason Weaver (Larson), or even Weaver and Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) as she is the foil to the wartime antihero. Her role within the film feels like a lost opportunity, she could have represented the anti-war sentiment that they were going for but instead they literally just made her say it "you're a war photographer" "anti-war photographer"...
So this film has a bit of everything but not that one thing that you need and that is substance. And I don't mean to sound like this but Jing Tian's inclusion in this film feels so out of place and forced. I know that the Chinese market is an important one to Hollywood but instead of shoehorning in a Chinese character actually make an interesting and vital character and then cast a Chinese actor, not just have them in the background with a few awkward pieces of forced dialogue