Kong: Skull Island, proof yet again that no matter how big your cast, it all comes down to the screenplay, and boy, was the screenplay bad. Starring acclaimed actors John Goodman, Tom Hiddleston and Samuel L Jackson, and helmed by first time big budget film director Jordan Vogt-Roberts, Kong: Skull Island plays out as just another basic Hollywood set up film for a future franchise that may or may not see the light of day, thought exceeding is visual direction and special effects, severely lacks in plot and dialogue that becomes almost laughable at times.
This adventure takes us on a different path from that explored in its predecessors, as we follow Bill Randa, a kooky scientist who believes in monsters and his military escort team lead by Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson), and Bond-like ‘tracker’ (whatever that means) Tom Hiddleston. The team, accompanied by some other seriously under developed and boring characters like photographer Mason Weaver (Brie Larson) and failed comic relief duo Mills (Jason Mitchell) and Cole (Shea Whigham), trudge their way to an undiscovered island for ‘research’ only to be met with creatures of giant size, and their King ape, Kong.
It seems that in reviewing these films I find myself repeating the phrases ‘spectacular visual imagery’ and ‘great special effects’, and Kong: Skull Island is no exception. This film was beautifully executed, and their choice of using motion capture for Kong, played by actor Toby Kebbell, was the best route they could have taken to give Kong some life and soul. Some of the action sequences in the film used SFX seamlessly, and in saying that, Kong had the best moments of the film. His on screen presence brought more to my viewing experience than any human actor did, and that’s with the likes of Samuel L. Jackson and John Goodman in lead roles.
From that there lies the biggest fail of the whole film, the script. The spoken dialogue was so cheesy it was laughable, almost B grade standard. You can see Tom Hiddleston desperately trying to deliver his lines with some sort of effort and just falling short. It was a horrible disservice to a plot line that, as unoriginal as it was, could have been executed at a higher standard. This felt like the first rough draft, and not the final cut.
This common pattern of good visuals and crappy script makes for disappointing viewing for us critics, yet can bring some ‘shut your brain off’ fun for the average viewer. Don’t get me wrong, the film had me in awe with some jaw dropping moments of visual beauty and tense action, but it was always let down by the ridiculous line delivery and lack of character development. If you’re in for some fun action viewing without a real passion for story then this is a definite hit for you, but if you’re like me and you’re looking for a bit more out of your viewing experience, then don’t waste your money.