Thursday, November 17, 2016

'Kong: Skull Island' Trailer Doesn't Skimp On The Monkey

One of the biggest knocks on Gareth Edwards’ 2014 Godzilla reboot was that the titular King of the Monsters only actually appeared on screen for like ten minutes or whatever. Judging by this new trailer, that’s not going to be an issue for Kong: Skull Island. Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts (Kings of Summer) and company certainly don’t skimp on the monkey.

The new Kong: Skull Island trailer dropped on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and as skeptical as I’ve become about big-budget blockbuster type fare that opens in March, this looks pretty righteous.

There’s a definite Vietnam War vibe going on in this latest look. Part of that is the era, enhanced by the Credence Clearwater Revival track. But there’s also a hazy, otherworldly, nightmarish quality to it that evokes Apocalypse Now. And just in case you missed that not-so-subtle allusion, a recent poster drives that home…

…as does this particular image. It’s like they CGIed a giant ape into a shot from Francis Ford Coppola’s epic journey to the heart of darkness.

Hell, John C. Reilly shows up in the middle of this trailer basically playing Dennis Hopper’s unhinged photographer. This is, of course, a much tidier, sanitized, mass-audience-friendly take, but the parallels and cap tips are blatant.

But Kong is all over this mother, and he’s not alone, not by a long shot. Skull Island is full-to-bursting with monsters and beasts and creatures galore. I can’t wait to find out what “Skull Crawlers” are, stupid name and all.

Like Godzilla, you get the impression that Kong is not the real enemy here, and that the true antagonist has yet to be revealed. It’s easy to imagine him filling a similar guardian of nature type role.

And last I heard, the plan is still to ultimately cross over the Kong and Godzilla franchises, though especially given the settings—one is in modern times, one in the 1970s—I’m curious about how that will play out. That’s also supposedly the reason behind why Kong is so massive in this latest incarnation—he’s never been this huge before, and the logic was to level the playing field between him and his fire-breathing reptilian counterpart when they do finally clash on screen.

One other thing Kong: Skull Island has going for it is a stellar cast. Fronted by Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson, it also features Toby Kebbell, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Corey Hawkins, Shea Whigham, Jason Mitchell, and crazy-ass John C. Reilly. I really can’t wait for that last one.

Kong: Skull Island stomps into theaters on March 10, 2017.

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