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Byron Shire
August 5, 2021

Cinema Review: Kong: Skull Island

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I can’t remember the last time I stood for the national anthem before a movie, but it happened at Pondicherry today. A deluxe ticket with 3D glasses cost the princely sum of 120 rupees (little more than two dollars) and with the heat and humidity, the noise and clamour of Tamil Nadu outside, the Ratna Theatre seemed a good bet. The audience was 99 per cent blokes and the air-con sub-zero, but the samosas at interval were delish (can’t remember the last interval, either) and the movie was a cracker, notwithstanding the fact that it was dubbed in Tamil. Film being primarily a visual medium, it should never be too difficult, especially in an adventure flick such as this, to follow what’s going on. A GI is fighting a Jap on Skull Island in 1943 – then cut to 1973. John Goodman is planning an expedition to the island (I concede – I didn’t grasp his motive) and he enlists the aid of Samuel L Jackson and a bunch of hardened Vietnam soldiers. With a professor type and a pretty Girl in a singlet, they sail to their destiny. The first BIG scene with Kong has the great ape attacking Goodman’s fleet of helicopters – it is Apocalypse Now all over again, only this time with the Valkyries having the tripe beaten out of them. It really is a fantastically well executed sequence, especially in 3D. Jackson’s character takes an immediately vengeful attitude to Kong, but you can tell that the Girl, photographing everything she sees, including the natives, will be touched by Kong’s innocence. Without comprehensible dialogue, the story looks like nothing more than a bunch of guys with guns destroying a pristine environment. Pretty quickly it turns into a case of the viewer guessing who will be devoured next by the other giant creatures that live on the island (we all know the Girl will make it) while hoping that Kong doesn’t suffer the same fate as his namesake who fell from the Empire State Building. A mighty movie – if you like that sort of thing.


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