Kong: Skull Island updates the classic tragedy by giving us what we have longed for since 1933. At the cost of diminishing the poignancy of the story.
Bill Randa successfully assembles a team of experts and soldiers to map out the mysterious Skull Island. On arrival, the team is attacked and decimated by a huge ape-like monster. The survivors then encounter Hank Marlow, a WWII pilot stranded on Skull Island for decades. Through Marlow, they learn the true nature of King Kong, and what the gigantic ape is actually defending the island from.
A while ago, I toyed with the idea of writing a top-10 wish list about movies. Among all the wild scenarios I considered, “King Kong lives (!)” ranked high and mighty. Yes. How the big ape was gunned down remains one of the worst cinema tragedies for me, ever since I cried bucket of tears watching the 70s remake with my parents. I want King Kong to live. I want him to, ahem, get the girl too. Most of all, I want the big monkey to ran amok through the city raining havoc and destruction. After what they did, don’t you think those nasty humans deserve trampling by him?
For that reason, I was thrilled when I read about Kong: Skull Island. Finally! Justice long overdue! King Kong is the winner in this one! As for the movie on the whole, it largely delivers, dishing out one delicious visual candy after another, while having sufficient story in between exhilarating combat sequences to flesh out the tale. There’s also the peripheral commentary on the true nature of war, which to some viewers might feel sanctimonious, but nonetheless, gives the story an additional layer of sophistication. On the other hand, what does disappoint a little is the lack of connection. Ironically, this stems from the inevitable consequence of Kong not dying. Somehow, the story is no longer that poignant. I just can’t feel that deeply anymore for the big ape, all because he survives. This conundrum is likely the reason why previous remakes all retained the original ending. I guess it’s just difficult to humans to empathise unless shown the worst consequences of their actions. In my case, this awareness seem to have come a little late.
PS: There is an 80s sequel in which King Kong lives, subtly named King Kong Lives. What I mean is King Kong lives in the original movie. (Did I just repeat the phrase thrice?!)
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