2 April 2017

Bashing The Monkey

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With the exception of that time that I was working in a pub during some bloke's Stag night and I thought we'd just been raided by the police, I can honestly say that I have never seen a stripper in my life. However I imagine that they probably share a slight similarity with monster movies, in that 90% of what they do is a tease before revealing everything for the final 10%. So with a monster movie, you get a shot of a foot, then a silhouette, and then maybe a close up of an eye. Finally, and at the point that a stripper would be popping out her titty-boom-booms, you'll get the full body shot of the creature before it's swiftly destroyed with an A-bomb. Kong: Skull Island however spunks its wad up the wall before the opening title has even come up as during its first five minutes we essentially see Kong in all of his glory. In many ways, this is one of the more brilliant aspects of the movie because we're now left wondering where is left to go? If a stripper walks into a pub by opening the door with her already exposed peachy wah-wah's then what the hell is her show actually going to be? Well, in the case of Skull Island, what follows is an all-out orgy of weird creatures, adventure, and action. If a stripper were to follow the logic of this movie then I can only imagine that she'd leave the pub in a police van having turned the venue into a scene from fucking Caligula.


And so Kong: Skull Island begins with John Goodman recruiting a team of miscellaneous people to help him investigate an island and then document what they find. Tom Hiddleston plays a hardened tracker that can't seem to find his way out of the fact that he's actually a posh pretty boy, and Brie Larson is an ambitious photographer that when faced with the sight of a fifty-foot buffalo only feels the need to take one fucking picture. Samuel L. Jackson plays a military leader that's essentially the crazed love-child of every mad bastard he's ever previously played, with each of his men following his every batshit command... presumably they're too busy dreaming about their fantasy job as a red shirt on the Starship Enterprise to give him any attention. They all arrive on the island to perform 'scientific experiments' which consist pretty exclusively of dropping large bombs onto the unexplored eco-system in order to see what might happen. I presume after these experiments, they'd have moved onto such important work as finding out what happens when you punch a goat in the udders, stamp on a birds nest, and then the effects of dressing a pig up as a prick before electing it President of the United States. Unsurprisingly, Kong isn't a fan of having bombs dropped on his island and so he responds by launching a tree at his attackers and killing them. It was at this point that an old man in the audience shouted out-loud, “WHAT THE HELL?!” …I mean.. think about it mate.. it was probably that fuck-off giant monkey from the film's poster, wasn't it?

From here, the group all get separated with Samuel L. Jackson determined to wage war on the ape for no other reason than seeing the two have a stare-off is cool as fuck. Hiddleston and Larson however team up with John C. Reilly who appears to have been stranded on the island having wandered in from a completely different fucking movie. There's quite a lot of characters to keep track of, which is ironic because every single one of them displays less depth than a puddle of piss in a desert. However as the opening reveal of Kong implied, this is a movie that's more about spectacle than anything else and in that respect it completely delivers. Set in 1973, the war in Vietnam wasn't exactly going too well for America and this is reflected in some of the dialogue by Jackson's Jungle-mad soldier. However to say that there's an underlying message behind the movie beyond 'war is bad' and that 'we should be nicer to the environment' would be a lie as bold as claiming that “Global Warming is a Chinese Conspiracy”, “I don't have any business connections with Russia” and “I don't have tiny hands to match the size of my tiny Trumpian cock”. Suffice to say the real message of this movie is that guerilla warfare is about as effective as engaging in warfare with a gorilla, and “hey look.. that big monkey is using a tree like a fucking sword!!!”

However, as shallow movies go this is one of the better ones. There are two types of characters in it and they are famous people to act as our eyes in order for us to see the creatures, and not famous people to act as bait for the monsters to eat... which looks pretty cool. When you have creatures as cool as a giant octopus, a giant spider, a giant stick-insect, and giant skeletal lizard things, then that's a system that works for me. Want to see a film which looks at the world with intelligence and its own sense of philosophy-- then Get Out will be playing in one of the other screens. Want to see Tom Hiddleston in a gas mask killing pterodactyl's with a samurai sword whilst in slow motion? Then Kong: Skull Island is the film for you. The movie borrows imagery from every movie you've ever seen, from Jurassic Park to Cannibal Holocaust, all via Princess Mononoke. However perhaps the film it borrows the most from, and certainly in terms of it's marketing campaign, is Apocalypse Now. However beyond a few shots and the basic premise that 'war is madness', the closest this movie comes to being Apocalypse Now is in that it's the kind of movie that Dennis Hopper's character might write if he was watching Kill Bill whilst getting stoned with a chimp.

As well, as Woody “I'm definitely not one of those” Allen once claimed, “Sex without love is an empty experience, but as empty experiences go it's one of the best”. Well, the same is true of Kong: Skull Island in that as far as films go it is insubstantial, however as far as insubstantial films go you can certainly do a lot Transformers.. I mean 'shitter'. In my humble opinion, this version doesn't quite hold a candle to Peter Jackson's ode to bestiality back in 2005 with his Kong being just as much of a creature feature, but finding time to flesh out the human characters too. However as a fan of films in which people wander through jungles encountering an arse-clenching array of giant beasties, I'm happy to live in a world in which the two films exist. Of course this is also the second film in what is being referred to as the 'Monster-verse' with an inevitable 2020 film, Godzilla vs Kong on the way. I have no idea how we expect the flammable monkey will stand a chance against the giant fire-breathing lizard, however I'm sure we're all excited to see how they pull it off. Not because it sounds like a particularly good movie, but because I can't wait to see the two monsters make friends after Kong stands on Godzilla's throat and starts screaming 'Martha, Martha, Martha' for literally no fucking reason whatsoever. Thanks for reading, motherfuckers, and see you next time.