It’s bigger and better

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By 2017-03-19

By Nirupa Mohan
Ceylon Today Features

Kong: Skull Island released recently and left most of its audiences satisfied. The audience is taken through Skull Island, an island filled with large creatures and danger at every turn, together with a team of scientists and soldiers.

The movie was rated 80% on Rotten Tomatoes, 63% on Metacritic, 7/10 on IMDb and 3/4 on Roger Ebert. It features a team of skilled actors who clearly managed to deliver a strong performance, backed by special effects, in a world of monsters both good and bad, as they struggle to survive.

The 118 minute monster film, based on King Kong by Merian C. Cooper and Edgar Wallace, follows the story by John Gatins. It was made with a budget of 185 million and has already earned over 151.5 million at the worldwide box office and, is still going strong. The film by production companies Tencent Pictures and Legendary Pictures, was directed by Jordon Vogt-Roberts, backed by a team of seasoned producers, including Jon Jashni, Alex Garcia, Thomas Tull and Mary Parent.

It's all about impact and this new re-make brings in Kong sooner than you'd expect, and he is pissed from the start at the intruders on his island. Though the film is titled Kong, they don't show as much of him but manage to make up for it by making sure that when there is screen time for Kong, he makes that on screen difference that makes the viewer just want to pace themselves for that extra entertainment quality they expected. Though a little more screen time for Kong, could have made it better.

The film mostly revolves around the characters, who almost always manage to deliver an outstanding performance. Though it seems to have many big names, it doesn't give them enough time to develop each individual in having a stronger character for the film to have depth. The film's story is carried at most times by Tom Hiddleston as he stars as James Conrad, a former British Special Air Service captain who helps the group stay focused and on track. Samuel L. Jackson stars as Preston Packard, a United States Army Lieutenant Colonel who is the leader of the expedition group's helicopter squadron. When his men are killed by Kong, he makes it his mission to destroy Kong and avenge the death of his men.

Meanwhile, Brie Larson stars as Mason Weaver, a peace activist and photojournalist who plays a prominent role. But unlike in the previous King Kong movies, where the female character and Kong have their moment, this film reduces that to almost nothing expect for one scene. As for the most important character, the 100 foot King Kong, Terry Notary is the man behind the scene as he does the motion capture performance that leaves the audience wanting more. John C. Reilly stars as Hank Marlow, a man who was left stranded on Skull Island for over 28 years and stayed with the island's Iwi natives and, is waiting to get back home. Supported by a strong cast of experienced actors, but without enough screen time, the movie could have benefited from a stronger script and storyline for each individual.

The film has a bit of random but short lived humour that is overshadowed with the action sequence at play. But the tone becomes very entertaining and visually aggressive with moderate pacing followed by several wide shots that capture the important action scenes quite well, even when it is random slow motion.

The King Kong series of films has come a long way since its cinematographic debut with the film's March 1933 release, that was followed by films in December 1933, 1962, 1967, 1976, 1986, 2005, and now in 2017 as the second film in the MonsterVerse reboot as part of the King Kong franchise prepares the stage for Godzilla vs. Kong which is expected in May 2020.

This film is a well-crafted version that's backed by an ensemble cast of actors and excellent CGI that's best enjoyed in 3D, and is sure to be entertaining with all that epic Kong action.

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