Thursday, May 10, 2018

Movies That Suck- Kong Skull Island

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Movies That Suck is a feature where I watch a bad movie and share my reactions to it in real time. Sort of like live tweeting without the tweeting. I watch it so you don't have to! This will be spoilery I guess by definition but since you probably won't want to watch these anyway it probably won't matter? But heads up anyways. So get comfortable, grab a favorite beverage, and let me tell you about a movie that sucks. 

This week is Kong: Skull Island. I don't even know why but this sounds fun- I mean it's got Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson in it, so it can't be all bad, right? Wait, don't answer that. Seriously though, hasn't Kong been done like 1,837 times? Do we need another? But... I note with interest that Legendary is doing a shared monster-verse, and that Kong and Godzilla are gonna show up together in 2020's Godzilla vs. Kong. So... maybe it's good to get in on the ground floor. And this can't be as bad as Godzilla, right? Wait... don't answer that either. 

So let's see if this is a trainwreck. We start out with a beautiful establishing shot of an island, somewhere in the south Pacific, in 1944. World War II is of course raging and an American and Japanese pilot both parachute down, their planes wrecked, and they immediately resume hostilities. War is hell even in paradise. And unlike previous Kong outings, this time the monster appears in the first five minutes! We don't see what happens to the two airmen but... it doesn't look good? 

We then fast-forward to 1973 and some guy named Randa lobbying a senator to approve his expedition to... Skull Island. Ooh. "The land where God did not finish creation." Okaaay. He's found an uncharted island in the south Pacific, and loads of ships and planes have disappeared there... but how does he know if it's been uncharted all this time? Moving on. Oh and the 1954 nuclear tests were not "tests"- they were trying to kill something (which we know was Godzilla because we all saw that awesome movie right? Turns out Randa's with a group called Monarch that is investigating all this stuff. And they want to get to Skull Island before the Russians do. It always comes down to that. 

Off to Vietnam! Because a military escort is needed. Ya think?? Oh Lordy... Samuel L. Jackson is in this. As a jaded colonel who jumps at the chance to do something besides go home- yeah he's gung-ho. And ooh here's Hiddleston- he's apparently a badass (ex-SAS) showing off his moves in some seedy Vietnamese dive. He's the tracker apparently. And then Brie shows up- she's playing Mason Weaver, a photographer who's on to the whole Skull Island expedition, and wants to go. Are introductions done yet? Good, we're underway. 

So we set sail and a briefing informs us that the island has been undiscovered for so long because it's surrounded by a perpetual storm system. Cough *bullshit* cough. A perpetual storm system? Anyway... we have a few more team members, biologist San and geologist Brooks. All the military people I'm just skipping cause...really? I mean how many will be left anyway? Oh and they won't have radio contact with the ship while on island, and also they'll have three days to make it to the extraction point. Because of that pesky never- ending storm system, you know. So far this sucks. 

Conrad (Hiddleston) and Weaver (Larson) have the usual verbal sparring match to take each others measure, and then we're there! And Randa clearly knows more than he's letting on, because of course. Larson so far is the best part of this, BTW. Wait...they had a few helicopters on the ship and now that they're airborne there's a whole shitload more! Who edited this movie? Seriously, I'm counting ten choppers at least, and there were like five on deck. I think? I could go back and double check, but... who cares? Okay so they're on the island now- ooh nice shot of a dragonfly paralelling the choppers- and they're dropping seismic charges to study the geology of the island. Uh-huh. And guess what? The bedrock is practically hollow! What does that mean? Oh I'm sure we're gonna find out! 



So the military guys are having fun dropping bombs until Kong shows up. Death by palm tree! Right through the cockpit. Two choppers down- wait, make that three. Kong is wreaking havoc on these guys, y'all. Choppers going down left and right and he's... stepping on dudes, too. Man. Oh crap one guy gets thrown into the air and hits a helicopter, right in the windshield before the rotors get him...eww. Lotsa carnage. And everyone is either crashed or toast. Oh and way to ruin a pretty good action scene- we have Col. Packard (Jackson) staring down Kong as burning choppers crash all around him. Seriously, why did Jackson have to be in this???

So everyone is down on the island now but separated. Packard tells Randa to fess up about what he knows or he's dead, and Randa admits he's part of Monarch, an agency that looks for MUTO's (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms). And ooh we're getting some Hollow Earth theory too- Brooks helpfully explains that it's not a crackpot idea, it's real! The island is an emergence point for stuff that lives below. Cool. Beautiful scenery too, by the way- a lot of it was shot in Vietnam, apparently. Anyway the island is home to some unusual fauna, you know, like a huge water buffalo and a... eww, is that a spider? Bigger than shit and pretty gross. Good grief. 

Conrad's group finds some ruins and a guy named Marlow, who's been there for a looong time- he's the airman from 1944! Turns out there are people here, and a big ass wall to keep stuff out. Kong is a god to the people and he protects them from the skull-crawlers- big reptiles that come from below. We see Kong kill a few while we're learning the story. And Marlow's got himself a jury rigged riverboat, made out of old plane parts, that they can use to get to the extraction site- hopefully. Weaver, meanwhile, has a close encounter with the big guy- Kong- when she tries to rescue a trapped water buffalo. 



Okay I like the northern lights thing- even though they're in the southern hemisphere, that perpetual storm bullshit must cause the effect. Conrad and Weaver are bonding again, staring out at it, as Kong admires its beauty as well. Meanwhile Packard is all about killing Kong, to avenge the men he's lost. The weakest part of the plot, frankly. But they all meet up eventually, even though the floating plane/ boat is silly. And Packard wants to rescue his man, Chapman, who's still out there. Problem is, Chapman got killed a while ago, but they don't know that. Conrad agrees even though Weaver (and me, frankly) think that's a bad idea. 

So they're passing through a graveyard strewn with bones and it's skull-crawler time! One of them happens to retch up Chapman's skull- nice, by the way- but does this right next to Conrad, so he sees the dog tags. Seriously convenient. And then it's go time as they're attacked by 'crawlers- oops there goes Randa. Things are going to shit, predictably. Ooh they have a flamethrower- where'd that come from? Oh wait... no they don't, he's history. Bullets clearly have no effect, but fuck yeah Weaver is on the case, using a lighter to ignite some gas (or something) and blow up a 'crawler. Yes! 

So they're splitting up now. Packard is hell-bent on killing Kong and Conrad wants to get everyone to the boat. Packard's team starts setting off napalm to attract Kong, while Coneaver (yes I'm giving them a ship name) have a face to face encounter with the big guy himself, and Weaver touches him. You know, I like this spending the whole movie on the island, unlike previous versions where they capture him and take him back to civilization and all that. Anyway Coneaver decides to save Kong, and we have a showdown after Packard's plan (mostly) works. Kong is down and everyone's pointing their guns at each other, and Weaver tells Packard to stop and he's all "bitch, please." Then... the big skull-crawler arrives, everyone runs, and Kong kills Packard just before Packard can blow him up. Finally. I seriously need a break from Samuel L. Jackson in all the movies. 


It's getting good now! Kong vs skull-crawler, and just in the nick of time too, because 'crawler was about to off our people. Weaver's up on a cliff shooting the flare to attract help, and Conrad and the remaining soldiers are trying not to die while the monsters scrap it out. Kong's in trouble though, but hey Brooks to the rescue, with the boat/ plane's big gun! The 'crawler's pretty tough, but Kong gets back in the game and manages to take it out, although Weaver gets knocked in the river for her trouble. She did shoot the 'crawler with a flare though, so she's like the MVP of all the humans in this movie. And of course Kong fishes her out of the drink because they have a connection or some such. Whatever. 

I was wrong! Three military guys made it! I still don't know all their names but who cares? And the movie ends with like old movie footage of Marlow arriving home in Chicago and being reunited with his wife and the son he's never met. That was kinda nice. Oh and like a Marvel movie there's an after credits scene. Conrad and Weaver are being held at a Monarch facility and Brooks, along with San, inform them that there other monsters out there, not just Kong. And they're shown footage of cave drawings depicting Godzilla, Rodan and Mothra. And... a three-headed monster, which must be King Ghidorah. So that's apparently happening. And the movie ends with Godzilla's distinctive roar. 



So... that ended on a bit of an exhilarating note. More monster goodness to come, apparently. And the idea of seeing Ghidorah, with today's technology, is pretty exciting. Time will tell if Legendary's monster-verse gets off the ground, but hey there's potential. But as for this one... yeah it kinda does suck in terms of the lame dialogue and the horrible Samuel L. Jackson nonsense- and Coneaver didn't have enough to do besides running and shooting- but it's also not bad as action movies go. I'll give it a toss up. Does it suck? Well, kinda yeah, but it was better than Tremors?

38 comments:

  1. Haha love this post! I thought Brie Larson was the best part of the movie, but honestly it sucked otherwise ;) Hiddleston is usually good, but in this he was just wooden? And enough Samuel L. Jackson. Please. I'm begging you. Enough close-ups, camera.
    Oh, and the dialogue.....laaaaame. So bad.

    Great post!

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    1. Thanks Amy! And yeah... Brie Larson was the sole shining light here. Honestly I thought her and Hiddleston didn't have nearly enough to do, and some of Jackson's screen time could have gone their way? But ya it mostly sucks :)

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  2. Ha, it's really fun to watch though! (Except for the spiders - yuck!) Seriously, watch the Honest Trailer for this on YouTube, it's amazing! XD

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    1. It was fun! A sucky movie can definitely be awesome. :) But ye no spiders. Ooh I'm off to check that out! Thanks!

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  3. Haha, great post, Greg! We watched this, just to watch it, I guess. I didn't remember that end-credit scene, though!

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    1. I'm glad I saw, it's a fun popcorn movie!

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  4. Ha. I love how in these movies “beating the Russians to it” is always a plausible reason. LOL Oh, and a perpetual storm system. Sure, why not. And the skull with dog tags getting hacked up right next to the guy? Gee, how very convenient! Awesome reaction/wrap-up, Greg. :)

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    1. Right? What would we do without Russian baddies?? And I abut fell when I saw the perpetual storm system- I mean it was (kinda) plausible up til THAT point. Thanks Tanya!!

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  5. Oh come now. It was at least entertaining in that “yeah, right” way.

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    1. It was! I actually think this is my favorite Kong movie (that's not saying much) but with the scenery and the fact they spent the whole movie on island- I liked that!

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  6. I've not watched this - glad I don't have to after reading this post. No-one needs another Kong movie :-)

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    1. Yeah I hope they don't make ANOTHER!

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  7. Hahaha this was fun to read. I watched Kong Skull Island while on a 6 hour flight and I fell asleep about half way through the movie. I agree the idea of "King Kong" has been WAAAAAYYYY overdone now. They should make a movie with a giant rampaging bumble bee. Now THAT I would see.

    Keep on Reading

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    1. Ha thanks! And yeah I can see this one putting someone to sleep. Too much Kong too. Oh a bee would be awesome- and since I'm the master of B movie trivia (not really( how about this- there is an old 60's movie called The Mysterious Island where a giant bee fights people.

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  8. I can't read the review as I haven't seen it yet and I want to watch it...but my dad enjoyed it.

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  9. Hey I loved Tremors! I feel like I'd love this too lol

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    1. Yeah I need to be nicer to Tremors :) but yeah this is fun!

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  10. I don't think I could sit through this one. And if I did technically sit through it, I'd probably be on some sort of electronic device: phone, laptop, ipad, anything.

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    1. Yes it might be passabl with something else to do :)

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  11. I don't think this one is for me. I have seen one old King Kong movie and that filled my need for Kong. Great description of the movie!

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    1. I actually liked this more than I expected, but it's not a great movie by any means. :) I'm not super fond of Kong in general, and it amazes me that I think I've seen them all!

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  12. Aw come on, it was fun :) And yeah, haha, don't you just love trying to predict who is going to live or die when it comes to movies like these? I can't remember any of their names either!

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

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  13. I had such high hopes for this movie, but I agree there was a lot of bad in it! The dialogue was definitely a low point and it was just way too over the top for me.

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  14. When I saw this in the theater I wound up thinking it was just some big, dumb fun. Which isn't bad! I think it makes the perfect popcorn movie for a little mental break, but it's far from fine art 😂

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  15. I have this on my DVR. I'll have to watch it this weekend so I can come back and read this without skimming. I'm not expecting much though - it was a free weekend on HBO so I recorded it lol

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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  16. hahahaha I love this. But I LOVED the movie! :)

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  17. This sounds awful, not gonna lie. And I mean, "not as bad as Tremors" isn't exactly a glowing recommendation 😂 I wonder how much they pay Samuel L Jackson for all these crappy movies? Probably wayyy too much. I honestly couldn't get past the whole "perma-storm" nonsense. I am glad you watch these so I never, never have to.

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  18. I don't really have any intention in seeing this film. I kind of agree with your opening statements. Kong has been done so many times, and it feels so recycled! But yeah, it sounds like there were some good moments peppered in so it isn't terribly terriby terrible.

    My recent post: http://oliviascatastrophe.com/2018/05/april-wrap-up-2018/

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  19. Hehe, I liked this one, I did not think I would, but it was cool and to learn about the mythology I did not know

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  20. This was a fun post! I haven't watched this one but I want to cause Hiddles is in it and I just love him haha.

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  21. You know, I've not seen this. I heard some positive things (in terms of action film anyway) and did consider it but the whole monster-verse doesn't appeal. That being said, I really enjoyed the newest Godzilla film, it was really smartly done from what I remember (I watched it on a plane, I was very tired and didn't pay the closest attention) so maybe I will watch this. If this monster-verse gets off the ground I would be interested .

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  22. I've been watching and loving the Godzilla, King Kong ect... movies since I was a kid watching the old black and white versions of them. I liked this one but was so thrilled at the ending and the story that seems to be extending to the next movie with Godzilla in it. King Ghidorah has always been a favorite. I think I still have a Ghidorah plushie toy packed away in my closet somewhere. I might even have a Mothra. lol

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  23. I liked this one, I did not think I would, but it was cool. Maybe because I knew it was going to be bad))

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  24. I still kind of liked this one but kept wishing for Kong to kill everyone! That's just how I roll with most animal films.

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  25. I still haven't seen this, but I plan on it. It's got a good cast behind it. I love watching those older monster movies, and Ghidorah could be cool today! :)

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  26. I just bought this and as terrible as it sounds it still sounds perfect for me!

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  27. Samuel L. Jackson is not a good sign! I question is his selection method. This sounds pretty dreadful but kind of fun. This would be a movie I would end up watching if it was on TV but otherwise I think I'll let you take the watching hit on this one.

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