Sunday, August 2, 2020

Kong: Skull Island (2017).

This is awkward.  It's not the sort of confession you make in an article dealing with this kind of subject.  The fact is I'm not sure I was ever all that much of a Godzilla fan as a lot of others out there.  I remember watching a very truncated, Americanized version (featuring Raymond Burr, of all people) back when I was too much of a non-grown-up to know any better.  And that's sort of the whole point.  My knowledge about the Great Big Lizard and his exploits haven't really advanced much since then.  The closest I've come to advancing my understanding of the lore is to watch a very useful retrospective documentary on the subject that lays out all the facts about the original first film that I've seen in just a fragmentary fashion.  Aside from that?  The awful truth is I've just never really managed to find the right door into this particular franchise.

If talking about the giant radioactive lizard sounds like a strange way to begin a review of a film about a giant ape, then that's also sort of the point.  The trouble is I can't just talk about Kong: Skull Island without mentioning the franchise of which it forms an ostensible part.  It doesn't help that I don't have a clue where to begin talking about that either.  Some time ago, it was decided to try and relaunch the long-standing Fire Breathing Monster franchise for Millennial audiences.  The first attempt out of the gate, 2014's Godzilla was a respectable hit with audiences.  The film under discussion today was meant to be it's follow-up.  And as of this date it's the only franchise entry I ever bothered to see.  Even then the reason was pretty simple.  It featured the big damn ape.

I'd been more or less a fan of his ever since he made me keep running to hide behind the couch at the age of about 8.  I'm talking about the original 1933 version.  Some people, after viewing that film, will say its impossible to get any kind of genuine reaction out of a relic like that.  I'm inclined to ignore such judgments.  Besides, their skepticism doesn't change the fact that it's what happened.  It's the only possible reason for why I should have any kind of interest in Jordon Vogt-Roberts's attempt to bring the King to life again.  The real question is, is it good or bad?