Kong: Skull Island
Everything Peter Jackson got so wrong has been corrected in this remade/reimagined/reinvented homage to the 1933 original film. Kong is never referred to as an anatomically correct “gorilla” (though he is called a monkey for comic relief); it’s firmly established he is a “god,” an elemental, a member of the ancients who once ruled the Earth. He has the misshaped skull and fights pterodactyls, not Count Chocula bats, this time! In 1944, on the eve of the end of World War II, two pilots parachute onto a seemingly deserted island right out of John Boorman’s Hell In the Pacific, which makes the connection between Japanese and American involvement with the island! It’s an undetectable, inhospitable place shrouded by elements, where “Creation was left unfinished.” While the ’33 film drew heavily on Jules Verne’s The Lost World, this time with its setting in 1973 (a time before Dino De Laurentiis could botch it up!), its inspiration is from the pulps, specifically the Richard Shaver Hollow Earth mysteries. Filmed in and around Vietnam and Hawaii, when Skull Island is besieged by a mapping expedition with an escort using military grade detonations, forgotten creatures slither from beneath the Earth’s surface causing island protector Kong to respond. Tom Hiddleston stars as the mercenary tour guide, James Conrad (instead of Joseph but a Heart of Darkness reference nonetheless), who is hired by adventurer Bill Randa (John Goodman) hoping to avoid being permanently labeled a kook, and Samuel L. Jackson, a Lt. Colonel who missed the Saigon airlift. Brie Larson signs on as a photo-journalist and they encounter John C. Reilly, as Hank, a resident among the island inhabitants! With topical era music from Creedence Clearwater Revival, Black Sabbath and The Stooges! Finally, a real MONSTER movie, and hey, stay through all the credits because the set up for the sequel is worth it!