Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Looking at Movies *Special Edition* - Kong: Skull Island (2017)

The drive-in season has started, which means that Niagara's Watercooler will start featuring movie reviews every Monday. To get us up and going, we offer two "special edition" reviews of movies that are currently in theaters.

Legendary Entertainment is rapidly becoming my new favorite movie studio because I love the way it operates. Legendary has gone out and scooped up the rights to a lot of old and popular movie franchises and is starting to revive those franchises. The release of Kong: Skull Island is the second in what promises to be a long series of kaiju movies directly inspired by Japan's Toho Studios, and it does not fail to deliver.

For kaiju geeks like myself, there are plenty of Easter eggs in this movie to make us all start salivating for the release of Godzilla 2 in 2018.  The real purpose of this movie is to introduce Kong into the Legendary kaiju universe and even if big monsters are not your thing, this is still one movie you have to see.

Legendary has obviously opted to go down the horror route with its kaiju movies, and it did a decent job of scaring people with Godzilla in 2014. But Kong: Skull Island takes all of that to a new level and creates a movie that is both fascinating and terrifying to watch. When I cringe in anticipation of a movie scene, it is normally during a true horror movie. For the first time ever, I found myself cringing in horrific anticipation of many of the scenes in Kong, and it was just wonderful to see.

This is not a story about a 25-foot tall monkey who gets kidnapped from an island and winds up climbing the tallest building it sees. This Kong is based more on the Kong character created by Toho, which virtually none of the American movie goers have ever seen. The Toho Kong movies are very entertaining and much better than King Kong vs Godzilla. This Legendary movie follows in Toho's footsteps and does an excellent job introducing Kong into the new Legendary kaiju story line.

This is the largest Kong American audiences have ever seen, and the character development for the mighty King was done at an expert level. If you are hesitant to see this movie because of Gareth Edwards' failure at creating an engaging movie about Godzilla, then you can put those fears to the side, The CGI in this movie is masterful, and everything in this movie looks alive and terrifying.

The one issue I had with Kong: Skull Island was how predictable it is in some spots. I am not giving away any of the plot line when I tell you that you should brace for a BOO! moment every time the camera lingers on any kind of cloud. Whether it is smoke, steam, or fog...there will be plenty of BOO! moments to shake you in your seat. I am not a big fan of that type of horror, but it does work in this movie, for the most part.

This is not a movie for the little ones as there is plenty here to scare the living daylights out of adults, much less kids. But while Kong is still rampaging his way across the big screen, horror and monster movie fans should make it a point to check this movie out. Remember to stick around after the credits for a scene that kaiju fans will love.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

George N Root III is a movie fanatic and a drive-in devotee. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3, or send him a message at georgenroot3@gmail.com.

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