*By Victoria Gebremedhin, Knightly News staff reporter*
Kong: Skull Island is a testament to modern cinema spectacle; yet it seems to be just that, a spectacle, and falls short of creating any emotional connection to the audience.
I found myself in awe witnessing the intoxicating, awe-inspiring realism of King Kong and the various creatures in the movie, but also, I found myself at times, disconnected from the cast and the central tone of the movie. It is as if, it does not take itself as serious as its predecessors, and the film indulges in the habit of jumping between comedy, tragedy, and seriousness.
Films usually give an audience a tone, typically from the beginning, but Kong: Skull Island falls flat in this aspect. The characters, I never found myself caring for, and the King himself was never quite explored beyond his ability to habitually kill anything and everything that opposed him.
I came into this movie hoping for a new, perhaps more modern, take on the Great Ape and his trials and tribulations mounting with a great schism between various characters and their approach to such a behemoth sized problem, but instead, received a typical, in your face, visual marvel with characters that are almost background noise. I found myself groaning at the forced, clichéd attempt at a romance, or kicking myself for predicting a death or scene, and the process of sitting through the movie became arduous.
Aside from the faults, this movie does offer stunning visuals, set pieces, and creatures galore to “oo” and “ahh” over, and the movements and attention to detail bring alive this new setting that’s being explored. This film is by no means “bad,” it just doesn’t go beyond “okay,” and for me, that is what sets the tone for movies of this type. They are wonderfully crafted, visually, but offer no connection or reflection of human interaction beyond clichés and humor that can, at times, be overbearing.
Kong: Skull Island, although seemingly well intentioned, offers nothing beyond graphical marvel and stunning visuals, and should be watched with that very expectation; this movie isn’t going to tackle or challenge a societal structure, a cultural or ethical dilemma, or even an institution. It’s meant to be ogled, it’s meant to be breath-taking, and it’s meant to entertain the most basic human senses.