Kong
The big guy himself. Kong: Skull Island. Photo courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures.

Dear Billy,

How did your Dad end up in a movie that is quite possibly the biggest waste of money in recent movie-making history?

I hope for your sake that you don’t understand that “Dear Billy” reference, because that would mean you wasted a couple of hours of your time seeing Kong: Skull Island. You would think with Mace Windu, Molly Tracey, Loki, and a plethora of other highly respectable cast members, that this movie would be top-notch. And it is, if all you’re craving is the stereotypical King Kong storyline with the most intense staring contests you’ll ever have with a CGI man-ape. Or maybe your cup of tea entails a video-game type montage of Legendary Entertainment and Warner Brothers’ putting on a creature show-and-tell until they reveal the much feared final boss that—spoiler—is quite disappointing.

However, I will give the studio props for their tremendous CGI renderings and special effects, for the production design and creatures that drag you right into every scene. But then every scene is kind of ruined with the actors displaying the three faces taught in acting school:  Did I leave the stove on? Oh my god, I left the stove on! Good, I definitely turned the stove off. That’s it. That’s the movie. If you can imagine the actors doing those faces, blended with the far-too-frequently-occurring close-ups of Samuel L. Jackson’s “come at me, big boy” expression, then you’ve experienced the whole movie. Thank you, Peter Jackson for your tremendous directing skills.

Perhaps I’m being too harsh (but I don’t think so). For the simple action/romance/comedy/horror movie that Kong: Skull Island is supposed to be, the movie wasn’t terrible. A mere suggestion would be to re-write the whole script, include less predictable jump scares and deaths, avoid forcing every scene’s emotions in to an extreme close-up of someone’s eyes, and you may actually have a movie worthy of the $185 million budget. Easy peasy.

Now, I could go in to depth about how the movie industry is deteriorating since lazy, cheap explosions and gimmicks are taking precedence over high-quality storytelling, but I think you can surmise that yourself. Especially if you see this movie, which after reading this, I don’t know why you would. 

Kong: Skull Island opened March 10. 

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