Favorites of 2017: Kong Skull Island
Subtracting a star right off the bat for the script, everything else conspires to create an often glorious retro B-movie romp. From the gorgeousity that is Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, their stylists and her Wonderbra, to the burnished sunset visuals, to the Vietnam-WW2-Lost World mashup storyline, it's a helluva lotta fun.
Gotta wonder, though, why Larson's embedded photographer isn't constantly taking pictures. Lots of possibilities there, instead of treating this gifted, Oscar-winning actress like mere arm candy for Loki. Which is not to say that she isn't stunningly perfect in shot after shot, unable to be anything less than exactly smart AND sexy at any given moment, and with perfect hair. But, girl, you should be running out of film on this crazy island, if you're this big respected photographer.
This illustrates what I mean about the script. Countless opportunities for creating character go by—for everyone—with no effort from the filmmakers in this regard; instead, we get an oddly rote Sam Jackson barking lame cliches and too many wasted supporting players.
John Goodman fares a bit better, as the nominal expedition leader, because he's John Goodman and thereby infallible. And when crazy John C. Reilly shows up as the Randy Quaid character, who's also weirdly the Tom Hanks character, there's just the right sense of the absurd.
Overall, I would much rather see this kind of movie—lovingly pop big budget B movie, but WITH A SCRIPT—than any "prestige" or "Oscar-bait" bullshit or any portentous superhero sequel. Or even than most indie films.
They say dialogue-driven movies don't play internationally as a way to paper over pure laziness when it comes to developing characters in films. But behavior doesn't require much dialogue, and it's behavior that makes characters more interesting; and interesting characters is what makes good movies great and great movies classics.
Which this Kong ain't.