Saturday, March 18, 2017
I went and saw Kong: Skull Island.
It was terrific! It's set in 1973, as Monarch (the monster-hunting corporation from Godzilla) is back -- this time investigating Skull Island. The pacing is very fast, and it has lots of action. The CGI is top-notch, and almost everything is in full sunlight. And there is a LOT of Kong on screen.
Wonderful acting from John Goodman as the head of Monarch, Tom Hiddleston as a former Australian Special Forces officer who serves as the team's tracker, and Brie Larson as the American war photographer who sees Kong as different from the other threats. Samuel L. Jackson is well-cast as the tortured Army officer who can't stop fighting the Vietnam War. So is Thomas Mann, the skinny blond soldier who seems to survive everything. John C. Reilly is in the film and manages to pull off a tough role; I won't give away who he plays.
There are some astounding set-piece scenes in the film, particularly Kong's first appearance. There are a lot of monsters, just as in the 1933 film, and the script is excellent.
Terry Notary does all the motion-capture for Kong himself. Originally a performer with Cirque du Soleil, he was tapped by Ron Howard to do stunt work and teach movement to actors performing Whos in How the Grinch Stole Christmas. He was the movement coach for Planet of the Apes (2001), Tarzan (2003), The Village (2004), and was the Silver Surfer motion-capture performer for Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007). He's since done mocap for The Incredible Hulk (2008), Avatar (2009), The Lost Tribe (2010), Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012), and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013), among others. He's even been Andy Serkis' stunt-double on some of the "Apes" movies. He was excellent as Kong.
The film was just a hoot. Be sure to stay for the end-of-credits scene!!!!