Monster movies are back in style
author: ethan butterfield | a&c writer
Kong: Skull Island a huge win for the genre.
Monster movies: the tried and true cinematic visual masterpieces of yesteryear. Granted, with that being said, it would seem that this particular genre still has a lot left in it with such hits as Pacific Rim, Godzilla and, indeed now, Kong: Skull Island emerging at the box office. I suppose calling it quits wasn’t in the memo.
Monster flicks are some of the most enjoyable films out there now. There’s nothing quite like hitting up the cinema, buying your ticket for the latest creature feature and watching a giant ape go toe-to-toe with a lizard. It’s pure adrenaline in a way that allows us to suspend our disbelief. In a way that doesn’t have us judging if, like in the new Bourne or Mission: Impossible films, the hero could make the jump or defuse the bomb in time. No, films like Kong: Skull Island help us get lost in a rich and vastly detailed world filled with monsters, explosions and, surprisingly, well developed characters.
Featuring the likes of Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson, Tom Hiddleston and John C. Reilly, this star-studded film has everything going for it and more. The humour hits on point with cleverly placed dialogue and quips, the action is paced well throughout, not giving the viewer too much at any given time, and the emotion is real and intriguing as characters have different personalities that conflict on varying levels.
Kong: Skull Island takes a pretty straightforward route. Government scientists want to travel to a mysterious island in order to explore unmapped territory. This is, of course, not by any means true. The real reason behind their journey is to discover creatures that may inhabit the lost island and thus prove their existence. This proves detrimental to their very lives because of Kong. Without wishing to spoil too much, I’ll just say that Kong is the least of everyone’s worries on the island.
One of my favourite things about Kong: Skull Island is just how fast you see the title character. There’s no buildup, no epic reveal, just one mad monkey. This is a nice change of direction as, usually, there’s a whole story arc that needs to pass before you can get to the big fight and see what you’ve been waiting to see all along. This is also a negative in a way, mostly because since the buildup is gone, so too goes the payoff that comes from waiting. I understand that the viewer wants to see what’s what right away, but the anticipation is killed almost immediately. 2014’s Godzilla was a long, suspenseful run that, sure, may have taken some liberties with patience, but I was into it from start to finish, holding my breath all the way just to see what full-scale Godzilla looked like.
With those petty grievances out of the way, all in all, Kong: Skull Island is a well-executed gem that brings more life into a genre that needs a little. If you’re a fan of fun, action-filled popcorn flicks that allow you to sit back and take your mind off things, I wholeheartedly recommend Kong: Skull Island.