Viewed – 14 March 2017 Cinema
I can’t say I was all that hyped for this but some friends were wanting to see it so I thought I’d tag along. This latest exploration of the legendary franchise about a massive, mythical ape follows a group of geologists and a band of fresh outta ‘Nam marines as they travel to a newly discovered, unexplored island. John Goodman leads the scientists, whilst Samuel L. Jackson leads the marines and along the way they bring in Tom Hiddleston’s tracker.
This began promising … a dramatic prologue set the stage and when introduced to Goodman, Jackson etc but for a slightly larger-than-life aesthetic, it seemed I was in for a good time. Sad then, that not long after the team arrive at the island did it dawn on this viewer that there was something worryingly cartoonish to the performances and action, and despite some epic monster smack downs once Kong gets screen time and is punching helicopters out of the air etc … what initial potential any of these characters had is rapidly replaced with cheesy, clichéd caricatures displaying over the top attempts at drama, melo-drama and awkward-comedy, most of which miss their target. When it’s trying to be serious it comes off as amusing (sometimes hilarious) and when it’s trying to be exciting it comes off as slow-motion Michael Bay dialled up to ten. This caused me to gradually zone out as any character moments or parts where you’re meant to route for anyone except Kong, fell flat. Even seasoned veterans like Goodman and Jackson came off hammy, especially Jackson who has a silly amount of lingering stares, complete with that bulging left eye, and Hiddleston is woefully miss-cast, struggling as the rugged hero-type despite (fake)tanned good looks and perfect hair. Add to this Brie Larson who initially appeared as a ballsy photographer, but half way through descended into just another objectified pair of boobs. Sigh.
Thankfully we do get some reprieve from the mediocrity and cheese in a wonderfully dead-pan John C Reilly, and the effects and the locations are decent (bar some obvious green screen segments), which means it isn’t a total shot in the foot. However like initial expectations, there’s very little to warrant this one existing in an industry that’s previously given us so much better.
Verdict: 2 /5