A Skull Island Travelogue – A Kong Review

[[image:kong.jpg:Kong is King:center:0]]
Last night we finally saw Peter Jackson’s version of King Kong. Upon reading initial articles that said that the movie was too long and were boring during the beginning and had pointless scenes aboard the Venture part of the movie, I thought “I’ll take whatever you dish out.” I would enjoy what I could and get it over with.

To my surprise, the movie did not bore me to tears at all. Sure there were the trademark lingering close up shots of actors’ (and one giant CG alpha male silverback’s) faces that inundated Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, but I did not think there were any pointless and unengaging scenes in the movies. Everything added to the storyline, and the overall atmosphere of the movie. To me everything worked.

Of course to a SF and fantasy fan like myself the high point of the movie was without a doubt the creatures of Skull Island. WETA Workshop’s creations were amazing. Kong himself was a fluid and dynamic creation, though I thought Ann should have suffered from painful whiplash from being carried around by Kong violently like that. Andy Serkis studied the movements of real live gorillas in preparation to be motion caputed as Kong, and it shows.

The brontosaurus (no relation to real apatosaurus), the raptor-like venatosaurus, the four legged foetodons, and the three large vastatosaurus rexes were regular monster movie dinosaurs, but the scene adapted from the missing 1933 movie, the bug pit sequence, made me cringe so much my neck hurt after viewing it. The slug-like carnictis that ate Andy Serkis’s Lumpy the cook is the most disgusting creatures to be designed for a movie in recent memory.

And the final line of the movie did not sit well with me. “Beauty killed the beast”? Yes, I understand it meant that Kong was killed because of his relationship with Ann, but does that mean Carl Denham couldn’t see his hand in the death of Kong? If it was so, then what a real downer the ending is to not just having Kong die, but also having Denham totally oblivious to his involvement in Kong’s imprisonment and death.

And finally, this is the part where I put pictures from the 1933 movie with a note to those who might argue with me about it (at least 4 times in the last 3 months):

The original King Kong HAD dinosaurs and there ain’t nothing you can do about it.

[[image:kong33a.jpg:Kong vs a pterosaur:center:0]]
[[image:kong33b.jpg:Kong vs a Tyrannosaur:center:0]]

For more information on the island and its inhabitants check out The World of Kong: A Natural History of Skull Island written, researched and illustrated by the good people at Weta Workshop.

Posted in Movie Review and tagged , .

Khairul Hisham J. is a tabletop RPG artist, writer, proofreader, translator, teacher, grad student and learner-in-general.

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