Kong: Skull Island ★★★

Most movies that can be seen at the cinema don’t fulfill the criteria for cinematic masterpieces. Those prequels, sequels, reboots and superhero origin stories suck. I’m not a fan of Kaijū Eiga movies either, but with Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson starring in it, it can’t be that bad, I thought. I also watched an interview with Tom where he said, roughly, that the movie is about the relationship between nature and the people. That’s why I expected an action-packed story with a critical undertone. I expected depth. But this was one of those few cases where I forgot that actors would say anything to promote a movie. I actually believed it. Shame on me. To cut a long story short: I was bored. The final movie is an indefinable mishmash of JURASSIC WORLD, APOCALPYSE NOW and a 104-foot gorilla. Every character is one-dimensional and has basically only one task: Samuel L. Jackson plays the grimly warrior, Brie Larson plays the empathic photographer, Tom Hiddleston plays the cool-headed tracker and John C. Reilly plays the quirky jungle guy. Everyone seems to be exchangeable. No one shines. Samuel L. Jackson’s character is the only one that’s almost comprehensible. The other characters are utterly dreary.

Some may say that action blockbusters don’t have to have depth and don’t have to be logical to attract their audience, but then they have to be at least funny or thrilling or unpredictable. KONG isn’t like that. There are many moments where nothing exceptional happens. It takes way too much time until there is new information which brings the storyline forward. The movie wants to be easygoing. The music is easygoing. The characters as well. They look "cool" and relaxed in every shot - even in the darkest and deepest jungle, but standing effortlessly in the countryside is not special. You don’t need a 180-million-dollar movie for that. Even I can do that.

What is absolutely astonishing is Kong himself and the flora and fauna on the island. It’s really remarkable what can be created through motion- and performance capture. The action scenes, e. g. when Kong fights against a colossal octopus, are dynamic and have a well-paced tempo. The exotic sceneries - the movie was shot on location in Hawaii, Vietnam and Australia - are absolutely beautiful.