Kong: Skull Island and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures
Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Truth be told I’ve always been more of a Godzilla fan, and while the recent Shin Godzilla was pretty good (if a bit disjointed and tonally uneven) the American film with Gareth Edwards wasn’t so much. Now Warner Bros is trying to create yet another Expanded Cinematic Universe (because the DCCU is working out SO well for them) and this is in some ways a sequel… or prequel I guess… to the 2014 Godzilla film. Does this manage to make up for the mistakes of that film while setting the groundwork for future monster movies to come, or are we much better off watching that 1962 film where the two of them duked it out and threw rocks at each other? Admittedly that wouldn’t be the WORST thing to do as it’s still pretty freaking awesome, but let’s find out!!
The movie starts by introducing us to Bill Randa (John Goodman) who is the head of Monarch; an organization that is hell bent on proving the existence of monsters. They’ve hit a rough patch, mostly due to them never finding any monsters, but 1973 just might be the year they turn things around! They have some satellite images of a heretofore unknown island which may or may not contain resources that the government can use in their fight against the Russians, and Monarch wants to tag along with another organization already headed there for some basic geological research. Actually, all Bill wants to do is find monsters, but the US government gives them the go ahead to tag along and to also bring a military squadron who JUST SO HAPPEN to be one day away from heading back home from Vietnam. Of course the commander Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard (Samuel L Jackson) is thrilled at the opportunity as he doesn’t seem too interested in leaving the war, but those under his command which includes Jack Chapman (Toby Kebbell) are less so. Still, they follow the orders that are given to them and they are even joined by former British SAS bad ass James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) who’s supposed to be an expert tracker and photojournalist Mason Weaver (Brie Larson) who somehow manages to be a part of this expedition as well. The crew packs up, they fly to the mysterious island that is colorfully known as Skull Island, and IMMEDIATLEY get their asses kicked by Kong who mows down all their helicopters; leaving all of the name actors but only a handful of army and scientist extras. Along their travels, they run into even MORE monsters, find a World War 2 fighter pilot who’s been trapped on the island for almost two decades (John C Reilly), and ultimately have to come up with a way to escape the island before their one chance of rescue passes them by. Can the remaining survivors make it off the island before they become monster food, or will some of them refuse to leave until Kong is dead? Just what is Kong fighting on this island when he’s not swatting down humans? Most importantly, WHEN ARE WE GONNA GET A NEW GODZILLA VS KING KONG MOVIE!?
“This guy doesn’t have thermonuclear breath, right?” “No, but he can still throw stuff at us.”
Shin Godzilla and all the images you see in this review are owned by Toho
Directed by Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi
I may not be the biggest fan of the King of the Monsters as I’ve probably seen seven or eight of his movies at most, but giant monster movies are right up my alley when they’re done right. Now we’ve recently gotten our own Born in the USA Godzilla movies which is another of his films I haven’t seen (yet somehow I’ve seen the Roland Emmerich one), but this is the first Godzilla movie in over a decade from Japan and Toho itself, with their last outing being Godzilla: Final Wars which is one of the more… interesting entries in the franchise and is one of the films I’ve actually seen (imagine if there were WWE monster matches happening the background of a Matrix sequel and you get the basic idea). Now while I would have liked to get a more toned down version of that kind of movie with updated effects, this time around they’re trying to get back to basics and rediscover what made the character such a force to be reckoned with when he first premiered in 1954; a mere nine years after we dropped the nukes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Oh look! It’s been five years since the earthquake that causes that nuclear crisis in Japan! Maybe it really is the perfect time to take this character out of retirement. Does the movie succeed in making Godzilla the cinematic powerhouse he once was, or is this yet another failed reboot of a series long past its prime? Let’s find out!!
The movie begins with some odd seismic activity happening just off the coast of Tokyo that’s causing underwater tunnels to leak and a major disruption of government services to the area. The Prime Minister (Ren Ohsugi) has called in various experts to find out what the hell is going on in the bay, but only one of his aides, Rando Yaguchi (Hiroki Hasegawa), is paying attention to social media which is saying that there’s a giant monster just below the waves. Sure enough, Godzilla comes roaring out and rampages the city before diving back underwater. Well CLEARLY no one was ready for that, so the Prime Minister assigns Rando to head up an Anti-Godzilla task force where the best minds of Japan will try to figure out the monster’s weakness before the next attack which can put the entire country, if not the whole world, at great risk. Of course, this creature didn’t just come out of nowhere. Well okay; I THINK it did, but there’s one country (take a guess which one) that seems to have a bit more information than they’re leading on and have sent a special envoy, Kayoko Ann Patterson (Satomi Ishihara), to assist in whatever ways she can… while keeping her country’s interest in mind. Can the Anti-Godzilla Task force stop this creature from taking its problems out on the citizens of Japan? Where exactly did this creature come from and what does the rest of the world know about him? Can I please get a plushie of this new Godzilla design!?