Kong: Skull Island Teaser Trailer

With cinematic universes being all the rage, Legendary pictures released its a trailer for its  next installment of its shared KAIJU cinematic universe, Kong: Skull Island. Set in the 1970s, a group of explorers and soldiers are sent to an uncharted island for recon in the south pacific. As expected with most off the map places, the island proves deadlier than they could possibly imagine. Now stranded, the the ragtag company must band together if they hope to survive the treacherous island ruled by the giant ape god, Kong!

So this may come as a surprise to you dear readers, but this trailer really didn’t impress me. At this point you’re all gasping saying, “But Michael, you’re the biggest giant monster geek around! How could you not be excited for a new Kong? Let alone a giant monster cinematic universe.” See that right there is my problem. Too many cinematic universes that aren’t really warranted.

For now let’s move passed the whole KCU, and focus on Kong. Visually the film is interesting. I like that the feel of the film being almost a Vietnam War movie, and the setting of the 70s is a cool take. The cast looks pretty good too: with Brie Larson, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel Jackson and John Goodman. John Goodman I am particularly excited about, as I loved him in 10 Cloverfield Ln. Yes it all looked great, then Kong showed up…

One of the things I loved about the 2005 King Kong film was that the world felt real. There was a coherency to it that gelt genuine; from the sets to the CGI monsters. Kong himself felt especially lively and authentic, with actor Andy Serkis studying gorillas habits and movements for months to prepare for the role. So perhaps I’m being too harsh, but this Kong, what little we see of him, feels out of place, even in his own home island. He looks hokey, and suit like. One thing that especially bugged me was him upright and stopping around. Now perhaps this won’t be the case later on, or this is the filmmakers trying to make a nod to the 1979 King Kong, but here it felt disingenuous.

Of course it is a teaser trailer and I’m sure not all the visuals are done yet, but even still, if this is the beginning of a cinematic universe of giant monsters, this tone feels off.  Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla, while extraordinary and unbelievable, made its story believable by creating a world where a 400ft radioactive dinosaur could exist. There was gravitas even from the earliest trailer about what Godzilla’s existence could mean.  I’m just not feeling it with Kong yet. It feels forced, both the movie and the universe Legendary is trying to build. It’s a shame too, because a giant monster universe of movies is something I desperately want to get behind.

For now I will reserve judgement until I see more. Hopefully I’ll be proven wrong and Kong: Skull Island will not only be a fun time at the movies, but further foundation to a bigger and better universe. Check out Kong: Skull Island March 10. 2017.

 

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