Don't you just hate when they have a setup for an amazing movie and gloss over it to make a terrible movie instead?
If you haven't seen Skull Island, it's the latest in the 'classic monster movie 'verse'. Basically they take classic monster movie lore and fuck it harder than a fleshlight thrown into a prison yard. The same people responsible for the latest Mummy movie are responsible for this travesty.
And they made pretty much the exact same mistake: Blow 95% of the budget on big-name actors, then hand them a script written by a third grader with a head injury who was off his Adderall.
Skull Island sported Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, and John Goodman, who, though not a superstar is actually no fuckin' slouch as an actor. He's also lost a lot of weight lately, so well done Mr. Goodman. And all three of those stellar actors gave amazing performances of men collecting a paycheck. I seriously suspect Tom of blinking: 'They have my cat. Please help.' in Morse code in a few scenes.
The only actor who even remotely looked like he was enjoying himself was John C. Reilly and he starred in Stepbrothers, this was not the silliest fucking gig he ever did.
Anyway, back to the monster romp starring Tom Hiddleston and co-starring Tom Hiddleston's skintight, sweat-soaked T-shirt. Don't laugh, like Samwise to Tom's Frodo, that T-shirt was the only thing that got me through the second part of the film.
So it opens to a WWII American pilot and a WWII Japanese pilot ditching both of their planes on Skull Island. They both parachute to safety, then set about trying to kill each other with pistols, fists, and a goddamn katana. Then we get the teaser of Kong showing up, then fade to black.
Then we jump forward to 1973, the Americans are pulling out of Vietnam and John Goodman is pestering some random Senator to get an expedition to Skull Island for reasons. They finally succeed and Samuel L. Jackson, who is a colonel pulling out of Vietnam, fucks over his immediate underlings to go to the dangerous, mysterious island instead of home after years of hellish war. We get a brief glimpse of Colonel Patton looking over his medals and wondering if this is what it was all for, which might lead you to believe he is a sympathetic character. Ha! Fuck you, that's what you get for thinking!
Tom Hiddleston plays an ex-SAS officer still in Saigon, despite the fact that the British noped out of Vietnam in 194-fucking-6. 'But wait!' Hardcore military history nerds are crying: 'The British SAS *did* participate in Vietnam! They provided training and equipment to American troops!'
They also had to resign from the British military and re-enlist in either the Australian or New Zealand military OR resign altogether and just operate as mercenaries in order to keep the Crown's hands clean.
And yet they spend the rest of the movie calling him 'Captain' and the Colonel pulls rank on him multiple times.
There's also a female war photographer who contributes absolutely fucking nothing to the story except bouncing around the jungle in a tank top. At the end of the movie I'm kind of left with the impression that she's supposed to be Tom's love interest, even though he never did anything except lend her a lighter and drag her ass out of danger once. But he also dragged a lot of other people's asses out of danger in this movie, so I wouldn't read too much into that.
So anyway, Nick Fury, Loki, and Sully mount up and ride a fleet of helicopters through the 'never-ending' storm surrounding the island. And if a bunch of whirlybirds can stay in the air through that, it wasn't much of a storm. Just a sailor talking here.
So they're flying over the island, dropping bombs for science. And Kong shows up, fully visible, at the 30 minute mark.
Me: Wow, this movie sure blew it's load quickly. And there's still an hour and a half of this?
So Kong shows up and everybody is way too fucking calm at the sight of a 100 foot tall ape. The people in Hiddleston's helo screamed with a bit of passion, back when they thought this flick could be salvaged. All the military personnel are just like: Hmm, the fifty caliber machine gun isn't doing much. Well, I suppose we'd better keep trying. Fly out of range of his fists? That sounds like coward's talk to me! Oh dear, everyone's dying.
They literally just kept flying in circles around Kong until he'd smashed everything out of the sky. So we're left with a handful of soldiers, all the expensive actors, tank top chick and a couple of 'scientists'.
There's a scene where Samuel L. Jackson just stands and watches while his men scramble away from the angry mega-ape. I think the idea was that the Colonel would be glaring at Kong like he was the evil monkey who lived in his closet, but Sam's expression looks like he's thinking about what to have for dinner.
So the characters are strung out in an area about five or six square miles: Captain Tom Totally-Not-A-Mercenary, some 'good' scientists, tank top chick and one young, impressionable soldier, the Colonel, the rest of the soldiers and the douchey scientists, and one lone soldier camped out by the helo that was carrying all their explosives and totally not destined to become monster chow.
They start trying to meet up and NOW the soldiers are like: Wow, that was crazy. Did you see that? How insane. I'm totally freaking out right now. *stifles a yawn*
In fact, they even try to call out one particular soldier for being too calm about the situation, but they only manage to sound like they're upset that he ate the last donut.
So they're all trying to meet up with each other. Tom and crew only meet nice animals, Sam and company get attacked by weird creatures every five feet. So it's not a real surprise that Tom's group is like: Oooh, how wondrous! and Sam's group is like: Fuck this place and everything it stands for! Burn it to the bedrock!
Oh, and Samuel L. Jackson interrogates John Goodman at gunpoint. John Goodman revealed that he was on a boat in WWII that drifted too close to Skull Island and he was the only one who survived. You would think that would que a flashback to some interesting action sequence that would reveal the reason for his obsession. Ha! Fuck you, that's what you get for thinking! Instead he instantly changes the subject. Hey, you know how we're trying to meet up with the extraction team and get back to civilization? We should forget all that and use all of our resources to kill that giant monkey.
Colonel Patton: . . . . . that makes perfect sense. (<----- No sarcasm intended! This was the actual reaction!)
Tom's group finds old ruins and are suddenly surrounded by elaborately painted humans who are ready to chop them to bits with spears and knives, but then John C. Reilly shows up and says everyone is friends!
And then everyone is friends!
Token soldier: Don't we have AK-47s? Why were we worried about this situation?
Okay, he didn't actually say that, it was just me thinking it out loud.
So John C. Reilly reveals himself to be the American pilot we saw parachute down in the first few minutes of the film. The Japanese pilot he learned to love as a brother. Reilly emotes passionately over the grave of his dead friend, who was eaten by the giant, lizard- like creatures he calls 'skull-crawlers'.
Audience: . . . . You've definitely buried something under a pile of dirt. If he was eaten by monsters, what exactly in that grave?
Reilly: I actually just made the name 'skull-crawlers' up. It sounds stupid now that I say it out loud.
Tom: That's -that's fine, I have no problem calling them that. *blink* *blink* They said if I did this awful movie I'd get Mittens back. If I didn't, I'd get a pair of mittens back! Please help! *blink* *blink*
And of course Kong protects the island from being over-run by skull-crawlers.
So they hop on a boat Reilly patched together from old planes and head to the North end of the island to meet up with their extraction team. Along the way they meet up with Sam's group and he tells them they have to go pick up this lone soldier who's waiting by all their heavy ordinance. So they leave the nice scientists in the boat and head overland to pick up the lone soldier, who, as you might have suspected, has already been eaten.
They get attacked in a boneyard containing the skeletons of Kong's parents (seriously). Reilly pulls out the katana that belongs to the Zero pilot, yells 'Death before dishonor!' in Japanese and lays about him like a master swordsman. Okay, that's kind of cool. Not only did he and the Japanese soldier learn to survive together, they obviously learned about each other's culture, even to the point of wielding each other's weaponry. And I can believe someone becoming a master swordsman out of sheer necessity after 28 years on Skull Island.
Tom: No, I'm the hero! Give me the katana!
Reilly throws Tom the katana because he asked for it, so Tom can slap on a gas mask, run through clouds of lethal gas, chopping up pteranodons, and to save the youngest soldier . . . . for twenty feet. Like this ten seconds was filmed for the sole reason of putting it in the trailer. He gives the katana back to Reilly and never touches it again. media1.popsugar-assets.com/fil…
Look at that gif! Don't you want to see this crappy movie now?!
Tom: Can I have my cat back now?
So anyway, in the midst of all the fighting, they find the dogtags of the lone soldier in the boneyard by his half-digested skull. Tom argues that he's dead now, so they should head back to the boat. Sam holds up the dogtags of all the soldiers killed in the initial ape fight and says Kong killed them, just because they were razing him with machine gun fire, he must be stopped.
Soldiers: Yeah, that sounds right. We have completely blacked out the fact that literally everything on this island has tried to eat us, and we're just going to focus on the creature that is impossible to kill with the weapons we have.
Sam: We're not making it back! We're just going to kill this monkey!
Soldiers: . . . . . yeah, that sounds good. I mean we survived Vietnam, fighting a 100 foot ape, helicopter crashes, killer giant spiders, razor beaked pteranodons, and multiple attacks of skull-crawlers. We should totally give up on making it out alive now.
And just as aside, movie makers, the entire point of dogtags is identification. There are two on the chain so you can take one back as proof and leave the second one with the body. I know the lone soldier got eaten and puked back up again, but the Colonel definitely should have known to leave one with the bodies of his men, not take them both!
Anyway, so they split up again, Sam's group sets up a trap that seems to be pouring napalm on a lake and lighting fires. I know this is a movie about a giant gorilla. I know it has made up monsters and a certain level of belief suspension is required, but this handful of soldiers does NOT have the ordinance to kill something the size of Kong. It just does NOT.
He still falls over, big dramatic standoff between Sam's group and Tom's group, the soldiers turn on Sam, Kong kills Sam.
Me: There's still forty minutes left of this?
Oh yeah, because now the big skull crawler can come up from the depth now that Kong is lying down. So the two monsters fight and I'll give credit where it's due; it's a pretty solid monster fight. The photographer chick gets tangled up in it and Kong snatches her up and still has to fight the giant skull-crawler while holding her in one hand.
Me: Oh, that's why she's here! It's a King Kong movie; there has to be a girl! Okay, I get it now.
So Kong kills the thing and puts her down and everybody hops on the boat and they head for shore.
Random soldier: If people come here, they'll just ruin it.
Tom: They'll never hear about it from us.
Photographer Chick: That's right. *holds a camera full of film*
Me: *Waits for her to drop it overboard*
Photographer Chick: *Takes more pictures*
Then the extraction helicopters show up. And Kong steps out from behind the mountains, beats his chest and roars.
All right, you all can swear an oath of silence all you want, but there's no way the pilots and crew of those helos didn't see that.
And indeed, there's an end credits scene that shows Captain Tom and Photographer chick being pretty much forcibly indoctrinated to the super-secret society of monster hunters.
There's a cave painting of Godzilla.
I hope you got your cat back, Mr. Hiddleston.
So what was I talking about glossing over a good movie? The American and Japanese pilot crash-landing on the island and having to cooperate to survive! Mortal enemies locked in literal combat forced to become allies, then friends, then brothers all while getting caught in the crossfire of monster gangland turf wars?
I would watch the hell out of that movie!
Also, if Captain Tom and the Photographer got assimilated, how come John C. Reilly got to go home and watch the Cubs win? They were on that island for three days, he was there for 28 years. I would think his experience would be somewhat valuable.
I'm going to go see Thor: Ragnarok tonight, but I won't spoiler it like this one.