​​THE WEBER MOVIE COUNTDOWN

KONG: SKUL ISLAND (2017)

When we went to see movie #57, Kong: Skull Island last week, we figured it would just be a typical variation of the age-old King Kong story, especially with John Goodman on board. I mean wouldn’t you figure Goodman to be a perfect choice to play a showman trying to bring a big ape back to the states to be exhibited in front of r...ecord crowds? Yep, me too. Funny thing is, this movie went nowhere remotely near that plot, to our delight. The film is set in 1973 and Goodman actually plays a government agent named Bill Randa, who eventually convinces Senator Richard Jenkins to allow him to assemble a few folks to map an unexplored island known as Skull Island. Among those assembled are ace British tracker Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) and photojournalist Mason (Brie Larson, who poses a lot and looks absolutely gorgeous), with a military escort by the Sky Devils, a Vietnam War helicopter squadron led by Lt. Colonel Packard (a semi-demented Samuel L. Jackson), who is not ready to leave Southeast Asia and craves more action. Oh they get it as they arrive at Skull Island. Ships can go no farther (the island is ringed with storms, which makes for some wild flying sequences) but the copters make it through. When a few seismic charges are dropped, they draw the attention of the colossal Kong, who takes helicopters down by merely swatting at the choppers. There are some casualties, but most survive despite being separated. And we find that this is more like a classic Godzilla flick as the island is jam-packed with prehistoric monsters of all sorts. Some peaceful, others not so much. Conrad and Mason find their way to a group of island natives, and among them – World War II survivor Hank Marlow (an absolutely delightful John C. Reilly). He reveals to them that Kong is the island's guardian, worshiped as a god by the natives for protecting the natives from many predators, including reptilian underground monsters dubbed "Skullcrawlers" If anything happens to Kong – the natives are toast. But a revenge-crazed Packard wants Kong taken down as the enemy and isn’t above using napalm salvaged from the destroyed copters to hurt the poor fella. Kong: Skull Island is a fun adventure enlivened by the bloodthirsty Jackson and the wonderful Reilly, who imagines finally going home to grab a hot dog and a beer and watch his hometown Cubs. Effects are darn good, too. We enjoyed it a lot more than we ever suspected we would, and chances are you would too. Oh and there’s a coda after the credits that mentions other creatures that exist in this particular movieverse – like Godzilla, Mothra and other famed Japanese monsters! Bring it on!

TLA one-word review: surprising

THE WEBER MOVIE COUNTDOWN

THE GOAL FOR 2018: 200 MOVIES WATCHED BY MIDNIGHT NEW YEAR'S EVE!  (AFTER TOPPING OUT AT 194 in 2017)

CAN HE DO IT?