Fun and uplifting family film take on the monster/kaiju movie. Like an all-ages riff on the monsters from The Mist or Kong:Skull Island filtered through Zombieland, meshed with poignant messages about courage and loyalty. Dylan O’Brian’s Joel is sweet and endearing, it’s got great creature design and, most importantly, a faithful good dog.
For a film that is so on the nose, it holds back on the catharsis of revenge. The particularly chilling conclusion is framed as a commentary on the “boys will be boys” patriarchal noise - banter, mistakes, excuses, etc. It would be more biting and thought provoking if the film were to end here. A bleak statement on the current misogynistic society. As it is, it becomes stuck between wanting to make a statement but being too afraid to really show some foul individuals get their comeuppance. Mulligan and Burnham give fine performances, even if some character developments come off rather less shocking than anticipated.
Skull Island is immediately at odds with its MonsterVerse predecessor, establishing Kong as front and centre early on. Aesthetically, it’s a counterpoint: the washed out, colourless greys of Godzilla replaced by sun-burnt orange and yellow, and the luscious greens of exotic and extinct vegetation. Human characters are no more drawn out, but at least here are more clearly designed as monster fodder, their deaths often as a punchline, inventive and sometimes shocking. Tom Hiddleston is abrupt, Brie Larsen is not…
Infinite time loops cannot be done without drawing reference, either intended or unintended, to Groundhog Day. Palm Springs doesn’t shy away from these. It drops on your standard suicide scenes, plot strands where characters try to find their way out through karma and a journey of self discovery and worth, and then something borrowed from Happy Death Day: using science to aid them, the loop used to help their expertise.
Like happy death day, we do get an explanation for…