Indecision in film: Looking at Kong: Skull Island

There’s an expression in music that says it’s not about the notes you play, but about the notes you don’t.  The consept is applicable accross media and is an important aspect in creating an engaging action, horror or thriller film. Unfortunately, Kong: Skull Island does not subscribe to this philosophy and instead wears itself out with loud, exhaustive set pieces.

Kong: Skull Island  is the second King Kong movie since 2005 and is the second in a series starting with the 2014 Godzilla movie. The film is the sixth film directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts, who is known for his work on The Kings of Summer (2013) and Metal Gear Solid (2011) and stars Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman and John C. Reilly.

The biggest problem with Kong: Skull Island is that, on many levels, it can’t decide what it wants to be. Instead, it tries to be everything.

This movie can’t decide if it’s a light hearted film or a serious monster movie. The action is brutal and heart wrenching, but with seemingly little regard or emotional weight attached to each death. John C. Reilly and Brie Larson provide the comic relief to some extent, but the jokes fall flat due their inappropriately laissez fair treatment of something the audience is supposed to be deeply afraid of.

It can’t decide whether it’s a Vietnam War movie or not. In the first half, it almost seems like a parody of a Vietnam movie a la Tropic Thunder, but then it’s almost completely forgotten by the end. It seems as if they wanted the aesthetic of the 1970s and completely forgot to tie in the political context of the story or the characters.

The camerawork and editing has no rhyme or reason. Each shot and cut is seemingly composed purely for visual impact and has nothing to do with the psychological state of the characters or the plot. At some points, the editing was downright confusing, leaving the viewer lost in the spatial-temporal relationship of objects and characters.

Overall, there was nothing particularly creative about this film and the director seemed to pull out too many stops with no regard for suspense or the art of not showing.

-Luke Webster, Assistant Arts & Culture Editor 

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