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REVIEWS:

* The Avengers (5/6/12)  * MEMORIAL DAY 2012 – Red Tails, Memphis Belle, Flyboys, The Blue Max (5/28/12) 
* Prometheus (6/11/12)   * The Amazing Spider-Man (7/9/12)   * 42 (4/17/13)   * Iron Man 3 (5/9/13)  
* Godzilla – 2014 (5/18/14)   * Jurassic World (6/21/15)   * Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2/18/16)
* Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice (6/21/16)   * Captain America: Civil War (5/13/16)

* Kong: Skull Island (3/12/17)



VIEWS ON FILM BY CEJ -      

The GRINDHOUSE: Reviews      
  

______________________________




No Spoilers Review:
 

"MONARCH" & THE KING: "KONG: SKULL ISLAND" EARNS IT'S CROWN
(... and what's up with this "Shared Cinematic Universe" thing, anyway?)

by CEJ 
(posted 3/12/17)

KONG: SKULL ISLAND (2017)
(Warner Bros. / Legendary Pictures / Tencent Pictures ) 
GullCottage rating (****½ on a scale of 1 - 5)

Dir. by - Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Screenplay by - Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein, Derek Connelly
Story by - John Gatins
Based on KING KONG by - Merian C. Cooper & Edgar Wallace
Prod. by - Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni,
Mary Parent, Alex Garcia

Dir. Of Photography  -  Larry Fong
Edited by - Richard Pearson
Production Design by - Stefan Dechant
Costume Design by - Mary E. Vogt
Music - Henry Jackman
Running Time: 118 mins. 




CAST:


Tom Hiddleston (James Conrad), Samuel L. Jackson (Lt.Col. Preston Packard), Brie Larson (Mason Weaver),
John C. Reily (Hank Marlow), John Goodman (Bill Randa), Corey Hawkins (Houston Brooks),
John Ortiz (Victor Nieves), Tian Jing (San), Toby Kebbell (Maj. Jack Chapman), Jason Mitchell (Mills), Terry Notary / Toby Kebbell (Kong - motion capture), Shea Whigham (Cole), Eugene Cordero (Reles),
Mark Evan Jackson (Steve - Landsat tech), Will Brittain (Young Marlow / Marlow's son), Miyavi (Gunpei Akari),
Richard Jenkins (Senator Willis), Allyn Rachel (Secretary O'Brien), Robert Taylor (Capt. of the Athena)




     Bottom line ... . After all, why the hell else are you reading this, right? “Is KONG: SKULL ISLAND any damned good?”.  Our modest response, ... “Holy F#@&in’ crap! Hell yeah! It‘s a Monster Mash of a blast!”.  Legendary Pictures’ Vietnam era rift on everyone’s favorite “Eighth Wonder of the World” proves why the Good Book said, “… and on the Eighth Day God created IMAX 3D!”. Well, okay, maybe it doesn't say that exactly. But it should. Because KONG: SKULL ISLAND is the reason the big screen (and seat-shaking, wall-rattling Dolby Atmos Sound) was invented. Perhaps not since AVATAR or DOCTOR STRANGE has there been this good of a reason to endure wearing those damned bulky 3D specs which far too often darkens the image, and shrinks the size of even the most enormous, peripheral-breaking movie screens. Oh yeah, and there’s always that extra “E Pluribus Unum” you have to shell out for IMAX 3D too . But on this one we recommend maybe you buy one less hot dog or order of nachos, and put the extra few bucks towards the most massive 3D screen you can find. Because this time around size (and sound) indeed matters!   


        


     It's easy to forget that every now and then movies are allowed to be fun as all hell without being stupid. And whereas a couple of years back we referred to the rebooted JURASSIC WORLD as being a perfect example of the “Dumb to Fun Ratio” - wherein a movie can be so enjoyable you’re willing to overlook the most numb-skulled aspects of it’s plot and characters, we’re happy to report that SKULL ISLAND, while certainly Space Mountain rollercoaster-like fun, and while definitely not falling into the trap of treating itself too reverentially, still manages to cram into it’s brisk 118 minutes a healthy dose of bone-crushing, Willis O’Brien / Ray Harryhausen-esque, “Super-Slam” monster mayhem, a bit of emotional poignancy, and even (hush yo’ mouth, and dare we say!) a  little socio-political commentary along the way. Call it a very creative "cinematic / thematic bi-polarity" if you will. Now, whether or not you dig this new KONG as much as we do is, of course, contingent on what it is you expect from it in the first place.


     What KONG: SKULL ISLAND is not, nor does it pretend to be in any way, shape or form, is a remake of the classic 1933 Cooper / Schoedsack film - which was later remade (for better or worse, everyone has an opinion) in 1976 by THE TOWERING INFERNO’s John Gullerman and producer Dino De Laurentiis, then again in 2005 by THE LORD OF THE RINGS’ Peter Jackson. What the new film cleverly does, however, is to take the DNA of the KONG character and his Skull Island origin, and “reset” them in a new story, setting and context. And in this particular case that context is an evolving “Shared Cinematic Universe” of films wherein the lynchpin connecting the series is a secret U.S. government agency called “Monarch”.


   GODZILLA (2014 / Dir. - Gareth Edwards)


     Out to prove, X-FILES-like, that ancient prehistoric creatures outlived (and were possibly even responsible for the demise of) the dinosaurs, many in “Monarch” fear that after millions of years these ancient beings are beginning to emerge from their subterranean, and hidden terranean, “lands that time forgot” into the world of humankind, where they may very well reclaim their position at the top of the evolutionary food chain. The first film in the “Monarch” SCU (shared cinematic universe) was Legendary Pictures’ 2014 GODZILLA, directed by Gareth Edwards.



     While both a critical and worldwide box office hit, Edwards’ GODZILLA met with disfavor among some Godzilla purists who felt the film wasn’t a faithful redo of Toho Pictures’ original “King Of The Monsters” - those fans feeling it veered too far afield from the premise and setting of the original 1954 black & white nuclear nightmare classic directed by Japanese cinema sensei Ishiro Honda.  But this was because, like KONG: SKULL ISLAND (co-written by GODZILLA‘s Max Borenstein), it was never intended as a faithful redo of Honda‘s film. It too was conceived to take the character DNA of that classic monster, create a modern era version of him, then transplant him into an entirely new cinematic setting where he'd interact with other transplanted denizens from the iconic halls of movie monsterdom - the latest among those “others” being the legendary Kong.  Now, while GODZILLA took place in the present day, KONG: SKULL ISLAND takes place in 1973, and as such functions as a prequel of sorts in the "Monarch" series chronology.

 
        


     If this all seems a bit too sacrilegious for some,  think of how John Badham’s 1979 version, and Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 rendition, of DRACULA are more straight ahead adaptations (albeit with fresh elements) of Bram Stoker’s original 1897 novel, while say Tom Holland’s 1985 film FRIGHT NIGHT takes the classic character DNA of Stoker’s vampire, along with the character’s narrative scenario (his aversion to crosses, the fact that he can‘t enter one’s home unless invited, the taking of a human bride, death by sunlight, etc.), then places him and those canonical attributes within a new setting and context - that of contemporary suburbia, where a young horror movie fan comes to believe a Stoker-esque being has moved into the vacant house next door, and that he is the Ripper-like serial killer responsible for a series of local murders.


   KONG: SKULL ISLAND dir. Jordan Vogt-Roberts

     The same with the two major cinematic versions of H.G. Welles’ THE TIME MACHINE. George Pal’s 1960 film, and Simon Wells / Gore Verbinski’s 2002 rendition, are actual “adaptations” (with Moorlocks and all) of the original 1895 novel … with a few alterations. Whereas Nicholas Meyer’s 1979 sci fi thriller TIME AFTER TIME takes the “transplanting the character and narrative DNA” thing to intriguingly entertaining and wholly original new heights by making author Welles the story's protagonist. In Meyer's still clever film the legendary author of THE INVISIBLE MAN, WAR OF THE WORLDS and THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU plunges into an adventure his imagination never could have conceived when he uses his own time machine to chase Jack The Ripper into 20th century America, after the famous murderer used the device to escape the police back in his and Welles' own Victorian era. KONG: SKULL ISLAND, and Legendary Pictures’ new “MonsterVerse” are doing that same sort of thing.


     Oh, and if you’ve seen those new trailers for THE MUMMY with Tom Cruise, that film, slated for release in June 2017, is intended to be the first chapter in Universal Studios' modern day return to it‘s own crossover / shared  “MonsterVerse“. Later entries in that series will include cinematic transplants of the studio's own THE INVISIBLE MAN - starring Johnny Depp, CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON - with Scarlett Johanson, JEKYLL & HYDE - with Russell Crowe, THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN - starring Javier Bardem as the obsessed doctor, and more. And, as Cruise was reportedly cast in a project last year as legendary monster hunter Abraham Van Helsing, the smart money believes that's whom his "Nick Morton" character in THE MUMMY actually is.


     The “through line” connecting the new series of Universal films (their version of "Monarch" if you will) will be “The Prodigium” - a subterranean vault / storage facility where inhuman and / or supernatural beings are safely stored away, and kept from interacting with mankind. Crowe’s modern day Henry Jekyll (here a scientist) is the “Nick Fury-esque” overseer of said Prodigium.

Universal's contemporary crossover "MonsterVerse" begins with THE MUMMY (2017)

       More about this “shared cinematic universe” business in a bit. But right now, back to KONG … .

KONG: SKULL ISLAND (U.K. trailer #3)






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KONG: SKULL ISLAND (2017) score - "The Temple" (H. Jackman)


 

    
     Anyway, as we were saying, as far as the "Shared Cinematic Universe" thing goes, first get out of your head that the concept was conceived / invented by Marvel Studios. Uh uh! That’s a myth. Marvel certainly (and spectacularly) revived it for the modern screen. But shared fictional worlds existed in comic books themselves, and even in novels, prior to the debut of 2008’s IRON MAN and THE INCREDIBLE HULK. See for example how (among many examples, by the way) numerous Stephen King and Elmore Leonard literary characters over the years have lept from novel to novel and short story to short story in CUJO, THE DEAD ZONE, THE STAND, PRONTO, FIRE IN THE HOLE and numerous others.





Universal's' original shared "MonsterVerse": (incl. clockwise) FRANKENSTEIN (1931),
DRACULA (1931), THE WOLFMAN (1941), ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (1948)






     Going back even further (and this is kinda / sorta where King, Leonard and the others got the idea) one has to acknowledge the early Universal Horror Films of the 1920s - 1950s as the kickstart / ground zero of the major studio "Shared Cinematic Universe" concept. The original FRANKENSTEIN, DRACULA, THE INVISIBLE MAN, THE MUMMY, THE WOLF MAN and others - starring Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney, Jr. et al, were huge individual successes. Then in later years the popular ghouls would crossover into "combo films" such as FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLFMAN, and even a hugely popular run of comedies such as ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET THE INVISIBLE MAN, ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN and more. These yuck-fests would often even feature the stars of the earlier original films such as Lugosi, Karloff and Chaney, Jr.  No Russell Crowe or Prodigium needed.

     Less than two decades later the global post-war generation (those ever popular "Boomers") would be introduced to their own version of the major studio "Shared Cinematic Universe" when Japan's Toho company unleashed it's "MonsterVerse" stable of celluloid legends upon an unsuspecting world.  First individually, then collectively in popular, city-destroying group smack-downs such as DESTROY ALL MONSTERS, GODZILLA, MOTHRA, GHIDORAH, RODAN and the gang took the concept of crossover characters in multiple films to even greater heights.





     Toho's biggest, baddest, and most popular star, GODZILLA (known around the world as “King of Monsters” thanks to how the American dubbed version of the first film was marketed) himself alone starred, co-starred and / or crossed over into an astounding 13 films in the first phase (the "Showa Period" from 1954 - 1975) of Toho classics; then would raise that total to 28 over the next twenty years.

     Oh, and for those of you who still believe this sort of character-crossover thing is the business and purview of hacks, comic books and grade "B" genre fare, take note that 'Ol "Wild Bill" Shakespeare himself was even fond of doing the same with certain characters from his "Histories". So, this "crossover characters" / "shared fictional universe"-type thing is really nothing new, … if it is perhaps forgotten, or was never know, by modern audiences.




      “Yeah, well regardless of how old the concept may be, today's industry-wide ’Shared Cinematic Universe’ fad is nothing more than each major studio jumping on the big profits bandwagon’ in the wake of Marvel Studios' success”.


     We’ve had close friends and cinema die-hards say that, and … . Oh, and we promise we’ll get back to our primary review of KONG: SKULL ISLAND. But why we enjoyed the film as much as we did is very contingent on all of this “cinema history”-type backstory stuff. Anyway, that said ... 


     Our response to that was (and is) always, “Yup! You’re absolutely right!”, followed up with, “So what? Ultimately it’s more the end result which counts, isn’t it? The finished film itself is what's judged, and not necessarily why that film (or series of films) was greenlit?”. Or at least we've always believed that's the way it should be.






     Toho Studios' "Shared Cinematic 'MonsterVerse'": (incl. clockwise)
     GODZILLA (1954), RODAN (1956), KING GHIDORAH (1969), KING KONG VS. GODZILLA (1962)








     Think back to the paradigm-shifting success of the original STAR WARS in 1977, and how it kickstarted an industry-wide “jumping on the big profits bandwagon” wave of interest in classic pulp genre material which a year before STAR WARS no one gave the proverbial rat's patootie about. But after the record-breaking success of George Lucas’ adventure set “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”, every studio head demanded (as mega producer Peter Guber recalls) that their people “Get me one of those!”.


  


     For the next twenty-odd years “those” included less-than-stellar pulp knock-offs such as the enjoyable if inane THE ICE PIRATES,  SPACEHUNTER: ADVENTURES IN THE FORBIDDEN ZONE, MEGAFORCE and others, but also films which are now regarded as classics - among them ALIEN, BLADE RUNNER, STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE, 2010: THE YEAR WE MAKE CONTACT and more. All of the aforementioned films - the good and the bad - were greenlit because of the success of STAR WARS and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. They were backed by studio heads and producers with visions of celluloid streets paved with gold and green. But that fact didn't keep some of those films from being of substantial creative quality in and of themselves.






     The same holds true with the new “Shared Cinematic Universe” cycle of films. Each individual film must speak for itself. Going back once again to Marvel as an example (as everyone is so fond of mentioning them) we’ve always felt that the impressive opening one-two salvo of IRON MAN and THE INCREDIBLE HULK (both released in 2008) was followed up by the equally superlative THOR and CAPTAIN AMERICA (both 2011), and the phenomenal THE AVENGERS in 2012. But that "shared cinematic universe" also gave us the less-than-stellar IRON MAN 2 (2010), and the just flat-out abysmal IRON MAN 3 (2013). Yes, those last two films made record-breaking amounts of greenbacks. But even IRON MAN / IRON MAN 2 director Jon Favreau would later acknowledge that the second IRON MAN outing didn't turn out exactly as he'd hoped.  As for sequels in general …




     Personally we’d much rather see a “taking place in the same world” series of individual films like Marvel‘s, or D.C.‘s new lineup of MAN OF STEEL, BATMAN V. SUPERMAN, SUICIDE SQUAD, WONDER WOMAN, JUSTICE LEAGUE and beyond. And we'd rather have Legendary’s in-progress “MonstorVerse” - with GODZILLA and KONG: SKULL ISLAND to be followed by GODZILLA: KING OF MONSTERS in 2019, and the tentatively titled GODZILLA VS. KONG in 2020, rather than have Roman numeral sequel after Roman numeral sequel ad infinitum / ad nauseam.  Y'know, far better to have a series of individual (if linked) films than an endless assembly line of JAWS, JAWS 2, JAWS 3D, JAWS: THE REVENGE-types diluted more and more with each entry till becoming a creative tea bag squeezed far too much, and left bereft of any unique flavor or modicum of originality.


     We’ve always held that instead of a studio safely returning to the same well time and again, why not allow many of their same film makers to make a similar kind of film, but with a new story, characters, setting and more? With various directors, writers and casts; and with individual stories set within various eras and locales, and with Marvel-like “Infinity Stones”, or a “Monarch” or a “Prodgium” linking those diverse films into a “Shared Universe”, is not this kind of (forgive us for using the word) “franchise” the far better option than say a RAMBO XIII?









     Yeah, granted, if we had our creative druthers (there's a word you don't hear everyday) the preferable choice would be to not return at all to reboots, revamps, sequels, or spin-offs of remakes of TV adaptations in the first place. But rather to constantly be treated to a fresh stream of new and exciting cinematic material - both large and small scale; big budget and independent. But, let’s be real. That’s never been, nor is it ever likely to be, the film industry economic paradigm. And don't fool oneself into believing this was so even during the cinematic Golden Years of the 1930s and 1970s. The film industry has always been a “mall” of sorts wherein the major chain stores (your J.C. Pennys, Bloomingdale’s, Boscov’s, etc.) are the draw which then allows the more esoteric retailers to exist under the same roof. Take a look at actor / director Clint Eastwood for proof. He would never have had the creative license to give us the more esoteric BIRD, HONKYTONK MAN and MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL, et al had he not maintained commercial viability by interspersing those more personal films with the more mainstream PINK CADILLAC, IN THE LINE OF FIRE, SPACE COWBOYS and others - most of which, while highly commercial, were / are quality films in their own right.





     It’s a pretty fair bet to say that at present the closest thing we’re going to get to a major studio creatively veering slightly this way or that within the context of a major tentpole franchise is the “Shared Universe“ film.  That said, now back to the fun stuff on SKULL ISLAND  …

















KONG: SKULL ISLAND (2017) score - "Marlow's Farewell" (H. Jackman)




    
 
    KONG: SKULL ISLAND opens in early 1973 when, before U.S. military forces are entirely withdrawn from Southeast Asia, Monarch representative Bill Randa (John Goodman) convinces U.S. Senator Willis and Secretary O’Brien (yeah, we love that too!) to redeploy an Army unit under the command of Lt. Col. Packard (Samuel L. Jackson)  as an escort for his “geological survey” expedition to the little known “Skull Island” - the land mass hidden from the eyes of man within the eye of a perpetual South Pacific storm system. In addition Randa also hires former British Special Forces officer turned mercenary, James Conrad (yup! that’s his name! - portrayed by THOR‘s Tom Hiddleston) as a “tracker” - not informing him as yet whom or what he’ll be tracking. And Mason Weaver (Oscar winner Brie Larson) - an anti-war photojournalist who made a name for herself during the Vietnam conflict, manages to become a part of the expedition when she comes to believe it has little to do with a “geo-survey”.


 


     Upon arrival to the sprawling island paradise, Packard’s helicopter battalion assists Randa’s “Landsat” technicians in the deployment of a series of explosives designed to prove or disprove, via the mapping of subterranean shockwaves, long held theories that the island my rest atop a section of “hollow earth” with an eco-system all it’s own. Responding to the carpet-bombing-like assault, and protecting his island domain (and it’s inhabitants), the giant ape soon to be known as “Kong” appears and destroys the airborne battalion - knocking them out of the sky with uprooted redwood-sized trees, and sending aircraft hurtling into one another.








     Separated into three groups, and spread out over a near fifty-mile radius, the survivors make towards a pre-designated rendevous / extraction point. One group is under the increasingly Ahab-like leadership of Col. Packard, who is now hell bent on destroying Kong. Another group is lead by Conrad; and they happen upon the “Ben Gunn”-like Hank Marlow. An Air Force Lieutenant who has been stranded on the island since World War II, Marlow is portrayed by a never more delightful John C. Reily who, while coming across in the film’s trailers as comedy relief and little more, surprisingly emerges as the most emotionally engaging character in the entire film.




     The third group (a group of one) is Packard’s right hand man, Maj. Chapman (WRATH OF THE TITANS and BEN-HUR’s Toby Kebbell), who alone must evade and escape constant death and digestion at the talon and tooth of Skull Island’s natural wildlife - including giant “Daddy Long Leg” type creatures, huge spider-like insects, falcon-sized flying pterosaurs and more.


     In the best pulp yarn fashion (such tales often offer a deep moral quandary), KONG: SKULL ISLAND climaxes with the disparate groups physically reunited but, because of their individual experiences on the island, now philosophically divided as to whether Kong represents a threat to humanity, or is a guardian / protector helping to keep the worlds of man and monster separated if indeed Skull Island sits atop a “hollow earth” gateway from which other ancient titan-sized creatures can emerge.  And, oh yeah, …


     There‘s a final brutal, Dolby-Atmos-speaker-breaking, one-on-one WWF-like monster showdown between Kong and the queen of a species of reptilian creatures (“Skullcrawlers”) which wiped out Kong’s entire primate race.




 
     While it’s not absolutely necessary that a good genre film succeed on multiple levels, the best and most memorable ones almost always do. And as such KONG: SKULL ISLAND knocks it outta the park with the same force and aplomb with which our titular king bats that battalion of Vietnam era Hueys from the sky. Perhaps (on the lighter side of those multiple levels) more than anything this new KONG entry is, with the arguable exception of the last ten years of Tarantino films, the greatest “classic cinema trivia quiz” to come along in quite some time. "Cinema quiz" in the sense that dyed-in-the-wool film fans will most certainly have a ball for two hours spotting and naming scattered “Easter Egg” homages to various classic lost island, lost war, and lost world filmic adventure sagas. Yeah, this movie was made by someone who obviously loves (with a capital "L") film.





Legendary Pictures' witty "APOCALYPSE KONG" IMAX campaign



     While SKULL ISLAND’s witty Bob Peak-esque APOCALYPSE NOW-inspired IMAX movie poster, and Tom Hiddleston’s character name of “Conrad”, are among the most obvious “up the river” / HEART OF DARKNESS references here, there’s a special prize awaiting anyone who can name to which John Boorman film SKULL ISLAND's opening scene pays deference. There are further awards to anyone else who can spot the Edgar Rice Burroughs’ AT THE EARTH’S CORE / LAND THAT TIME FORGOT / TARZAN Pellucidar elements; who also caught Samuel L. Jackson’s verbal nod to JURASSIC PARK (everyone forgets he was in the original Steven Spielberg film), and who recognizes SKULL ISLAND's narrative take-off (so to speak) on the original FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX and Disney’s similarly themed "marooned on an island" adventure THE LAST FLIGHT OF NOAH’S ARK.

     There are other influences and references as well, from as far flung worlds as Japanese anime and the work of legendary film maker Hayao Miyazaki. Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts has gleefully acknowledged in interviews that, while the film's terrifying "Skullcrawlers" are partially inspired from a creature in the original 1933 film, they and other wildlife denizens of Skull Island are more inspired by beings from Miyazaki's SPIRITED AWAY and PRINCESS MONONOKE.

     Once again, this a film made by one who loves film. And it not only shows, but one feels it as well.











     On the more (dare we say) “subtextual” side of KONG: SKULL ISLAND's multiple levels, one can’t ignore director Vogt-Roberts' surprisingly potent analogy in having the beasts of Skull Island, and Kong in particular, representative of the famous “One man’s ‘terrorist’ is another man’s ’freedom fighter'" axoim.


     Just as the philosophically split expedition must individually and collectively decide whether Kong is friend or foe; and if if he is indeed a foe, "Did they make him one?", so is the audience presented with a similar question (in the past tense) in reference to the story's Vietnam era setting, and (in the present tense) in possible reference to the current "War On Terror".


     But please don’t misinterpret this to be a heavy-handed or obvious “message” within what, in it’s heart of hearts, is a great big, loud and fun-filled, old fashioned lost world monster saga. As we said, any such analogy / observations are very subtle and subtextual. Far more subtle in fact than one is likely to find in the average STAR WARS or James Bond film. We just thought we'd mention it for (and to) those who love to put down such genre films as having nothing going on between the ears. And to remind them that, just because they maybe don't catch what's there, isn't (like the monsters of Skull Island) proof that it doesn't exist.




     Many may be surprised to learn KONG: SKULL ISLAND is the first major studio film directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts, who is perhaps best known up to this point for helming the critically acclaimed 2013 coming-of-age comedy / drama THE KINGS OF SUMMER, and as the creator and primary director of Comedy Central’s MASHUP.  Both of those aforementioned works are imbued with a wonderful tonal combination of magical "Gee whiz!" childlike fascination on the one hand, and a mischievous child’s iconoclastic glee in breaking established rules (and blowin' shit up!) on the other. And that isn't too far removed from the “Boy’s own adventure saga run amuck" which KONG: SKULL ISLAND is at it‘s center.

     To this day two of the most breathlessly exciting reads we ever experienced were Edgar Rice Burroughs’ AT THE EARTH’S CORE and Robert Louis Stevenson’s TREASURE ISLAND. And viewing Vogt-Roberts’ KONG: SKULL ISLAND gave us that same exact emotional high. That same (here's that made-up phrase again) "creative bi-polarity" of "Gee whiz!" magic and "blowin' 's' up" glee which those books fired within us way back in the proverbial "day".  As far as other things that "adventure fire" encouraged within us back then (things which all these years later we've still yet to confess to our mother!), well, ... that's another discussion for another time, preferably over a beer. Heh, heh!

     But in the meantime ...  










     If you’re looking for two hours of the-biggest-bang-for-your-buck, old-school adventure / excitement, and  jump-outta-your-seat-and-spill-your-popcorn thrills, you could do a helluva lot worse than Legendary’s second installment in it’s suped up “MonsterVerse”. And speaking of which, …


     Make absolutely sure you stick around through the end credits.  Because, whether under the bed, in the closet, or tunneling their way out from a "Hollow Earth", we've always known it, ...

    
Monsters do exist!




                                                                 CEJ





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