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Kong Skull Island and Kong vs. Tarzan - The Great Ape is First Rate! · 7:16am Mar 11th, 2017

In 2000, only one year after I first saw Godzilla, five year old me was shown a old black and white movie on VHS by my father. King Kong 1933. In a year following, I would see almost every single King Kong movie in existence at that point. The hunt wasn't as extreme as my voyage to track down every single Godzilla film, but it did take me to many of the same places and ate up other chunks of the allowance I earned via chores for my family and neighbors. Flea markets, warehouse stores, pawn shops, and video rental store's like Blockbuster and Movie Gallery's for-sale bins were all taken. I found Son of Kong at a warehouse store while looking for Universal Monster movies, King Kong vs. Godzilla in a flea market, King Kong Lives at Movie Gallery; and King Kong 1976 at a local good-will store. Of the two "main" King Kong films, the original and 1976 remake, I could see a clear difference even at that young of an age. Sure the 1976 one looked scarier and "cooler", being in color with more modern special effects; but the original was funner with sillier actors, more monsters, and of course it was the one with dinosaurs. I liked the original more, but after Jurassic Park and The Lost World (JP3 wasn't out yet), I felt if you could combine the two together that it would be amazing. In 2005, I got my wish when my dad took me to my first IMAX movie; Peter Jackson's King Kong. Right next to my first theatrical experience with Godzilla - 2000, seeing the first three Pokemon films with my big sister, and my tradition of Star Wars movies with my best friend; it is one movie experience I will never forget.

And twelve years later, I got to repay my old man by getting him early release IMAX tickets to Kong: Skull Island

I won't spoil the movie as that has been done by dozens of people already and if someone wanted spoilers, they are extremely easy to find. Instead I'll just talk general basis. To get right to business, was the movie good? YES! Will I go see it again? ALSO YES! Should you go see it if you like action or monster films?... Do I really even need to say it? :rainbowlaugh:

The acting? Pretty damn good. It probably won't be the best you'll see but there is a lot of talent and the dialogue does feel quite natural. There are some actually pretty funny lines that aren't forced one-liners and are very well woven into the banter. The people largely look the parts very well, and the only character who was a bit over-the-top was supposed to be that way.

The visuals? Outstanding! Yes, the monster effects are CGI. But I'll be damned if it ain't beautiful CGI! The effects on the creatures, landscapes, water, and weather are all extremely well done and so lively you can easily forgive the fact it's CGI. Plus the real life locations filmed at really do mesh with the scenery and characters, live and CGI, to help give the movie a good look. If Godzilla 2014 was about darkness, dirty debris, and the haze of a major city under attack; Kong: Skull Island captures the wild country from jungles, swamps, and mountains excellently.

Now one thing to keep in mind is this is not a remake of the original 1933 film like the 2005 and 1976 films where. There are elements of the original story there-
-Boat expedition to an uncharted island with monsters and natives
-Kong himself notices a blonde
-There's a wall of some sort

-so Kong: Skull Island has the original's genes in it's DNA. But it is a whole new beast. Many events that are similar to the original play out very differently, Kong himself acts differently than the previous versions, and the characters react to Kong differently than in the original. I could best sum this movie up as someone throwing King Kong, Gamera: Guardian of the Universe, Apocalypse Now, and a bit of Mysterious Island all together into a blender. This movie is as much a remake of King Kong '33 as Godzilla '14 was of Gojira '54. Similar characters and themes, very different execution.

At best? It's a very good monster film with fun characters and stunning visuals, as well as a solid story. At worst? It's still a very entertaining B-Movie with a big budget on the visuals department. You will not be bored for any real length because the director and scriptwriter do not f*** around on not showing what you came to see. And whatever the f*** you do, DO NOT LEAVE WHEN THE CREDITS FIRST COME! WATCH THEM THROUGH! WATCH.THEM.THROUGH!

And while I speak of King Kong, I felt now might be a good time to talk about a book review of all things. Tarzan is also a character I've been entertained by since my childhood. My mother and father had a bookshelf stocked with a lot of series they read through schooling, which included a lot of Edgar Rice Burroughs stories like Tarzan and John Carter. Some books in the series were some of the first novels I ever read after I had been introduced to the character via the Disney animated version. Now Disney did a fine job making a good adaptation and their version of Tarzan is still one of my favorite Disney movies, however they did make quite a few changes from the source material for understandable reasons (limits of media, having to compress a story, shifting morals, etc.). Tarzan the literary character arguably could be considered one of the first modern Superheroes, being the direct predecessor to a lot of comic book superheroes who came in the following decades. In fact one could make the sound argument a good 90% of all superheroes, including Marvel and DC's star players, were all derived from mixtures of Tarzan, The Shadow, Doc Savage, The Phantom, and Zorro.

Rice Burroughs' Tarzan, born Lord John Greystoke
-Was a wealthy, educated inheritor whom expanded his fortune*
-Was at peak physical ability for a human, making his seem superhuman to normal people
-Went on numerous globe and continent trotting adventures, including the domains of other series
-Met other heroes and teamed up with them
-Was raised by someone other than his birth parents, circumstances of which resulted in his abilities
*(he never said "Me Tarzan!", dude could speak just fine)

Tell me parts of this don't look familiar to modern day comic heroes.

And given Tarzan's setting and character, an ape-like man who is king of his domain in a historic period; made sense to one writing team to have him meet a man-like ape who was king of his domain. King Kong vs. Tarzan

Written by Will Murray, whom also has written and contributed to numerous other pulp fiction and Kong stories before, this story is a mid-quel to the original 1932 novelization of King Kong and a crossover into the classic Tarzan series. The 1932 novelization is virtually identical to the 1933 film, just with the name of the boat changing and some characters acting slightly differently. So if you watched the original film, you'll understand what is going on very well as the story also does a good job at giving the rundown on Tarzan.

The story takes place in the months of voyaging the film crew took between capturing Kong on Skull Island and arriving at New York. In the voyage while they are sailing down Africa's coast, a combination of a storm and Kong suddenly awakening from his drugged coma causes the big ape to get free and stumble off into the jungle. It just so happens this jungle is near the Lord of the Ape's stomping grounds and when a hungry and confused King Kong causes mayhem for the local animals, some of the local primates seek out Lord Greystoke's help while the ship's crew tries to figure out what to do while not believing Carl Denham's stories of how he encountered a "pale ape-man" in this part of Africa years prior.

The story is pretty solid, though does have some hiccups. For instance it does the opposite of Kong: Skull Island with the action and other side of the crossover. Tarzan isn't mentioned until halfway in and he doesn't show up until almost 2/3rds through. The story grinds along until they reach Africa with the admittedly repetitive process of a witch doctor who accompanied the voyage instructing on how to keep the comatose Kong alive. Honestly, unless you want a bit more character development or bits of backstory, skip from them loading Kong to when they get near the dark continent.

That said, once Kong gets free the story does pick up nicely. Seeing the big ape, who is both sympathetic as he is far out of his element trying to adjust to the African wilds while also being incredibly dangerous is fun to see; such as fighting a lion pride, trekking the jungles, or seeing which animals are good to eat. And while we do feel sorry for him such as when he is despairingly caught out in the rain while homesick as well as knowing his final fate, it does show he is a very real threat to everything around him because he's hungry, confused, and doesn't give a f***. Even when tired and hungry you really get a sense of how dangerous King Kong is by how destructive he can be. Even some of Africa's mightiest animals like hippos, rhinos, and crocodiles don't stand a chance against him alone.

Meanwhile all the African animals are flabbergasted at Kong. Tarzan elements show through in the "mangani" language all the African apes and some monkeys "speak". It's a fictional crude language Burroughs invented which is both verbal and nonverbal, but we see it transcribed by various primate characters. We see some apes that are awed by Kong and consider him some rudimentary equivalent to a god, others who instantly see him as a monster and go to Tarzan for help; and others who try and figure out what exactly to call something they've never seen before. It's left vague as to if Kong himself understands or speaks mangani, as the one time we see a "word" transcribed from him it's unclear if he is saying and understanding it or simply parroting what he heard. This just makes him even more eerie in the eyes of the monkeys and apes, even unnerving Tarzan to a degree.

As for Tarzan himself? Show stealer the moment he gets to work. This guy suffers no nonsense by beast or man and has a job to do. His jungle is being harmed, sacred grounds desecrated, and his family and friends, man and beast, are in harm's way. That cover image of him riding on an elephant herd while charging Kong? That happens and it's arguably not the most badass thing this guy does in the story! One really gets the sense that if there is any human on the planet who could pose a challenge to King Kong on the ground without a squad of biplanes backing him up, it's Lord Greystoke. And how he interacts well with the ship crew is always fun to see, teaming up with the Skull Island witch doctor and First Mate Driscoll while not suffering any of Denham's bullhokey due to knowing the guy already.

The story, I will caution, is written like a 1930s novel or movie. There is some gore present and some characters are killed in pretty brutal ways. Since this is Novel!Kong, do not expect much of the non-malicious monster angle and Carl Denham can be a jackass at times. But other than those minor notices and the slow first 1/3rd, solid story. It's available here in both printed form and kindle format meaning you can read it on most smartphones and computers instantly if you got an Amazon account. And if you like what you see, check out the prequel novels to this like Doc Savage: Skull Island and Kong: King of Skull Island. Definitely worth a read for people who liked the 1933 film and like classic adventure stories.

Report Tarbtano · 881 views · #King Kong
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Comments ( 21 )

Gonna see Kong on Sunday if I don't see it today, glad to hear all the positive reviews that have come out. I do avoid spoilers though, especially for something like this.

I had no idea about those older crossover books, I went to Amazon right away and bought the Kindle versions of the Tarzan and Doc Savage ones.

I hit up your inbox btw.

Comment posted by Temnizziv deleted Mar 11th, 2017

Saw Kong: Skull Island earlier today. Loved Conrad and Weaver (With that face and hairstyle, she totally looked like Summer Glau, aka River Tam from Firefly and Serenity or Cameron from Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. I was surprised to find she was played by Brie Larson, since I remember her from Scott Pilgrim vs the World and her face seemed different). It was refreshing that Weaver never became a damsel in distress nor did she have any romance scenes. Marlow was awesome every time he was not being hilarious, especially with his katana. Something awesome and hilarious: I was the only person in the audience who stayed for the after credits scene. The janitor and door guards, who watched it along with me and were just as impressed, congratulated me as I was leaving.

Wow, I had never heard of this Tarzan crossover. Nice.

As I told my friend this, Oh my Godzilla! This movie was pretty good! I liked it, it was good, great! Kong was amazing, the humans were alright, I thought they did okay. The fights were awesome, and everything about this film was pretty good! I give it a B+ or 8/10.
So I went go buy myself a hot dog right after the movie, and you know why XD

But oh my GOD! The after credit! I'm hype, I'm so hype! AHHHHH OMG!
GODZILLA, RODAN, MOTHRA AND KING GHIDORAH!!! Ahhh I'm so exited! And the last part of Godzilla facing King Ghidorah, OMG SO EPIC! And that awesome roar, AHHHHH!! I CAN'T WAIT!!!

Just out of curiosity, if you were to bring a version of Kong into the AmalgamVerse, which one would it be closest to? the 1933 one? Toho's? The 2005 version? This new one?

Going to go see Skull Island today, hope I enjoy it as much.

A lot of reviewers are bashing it, including ones I have respect for, but to me the arguments come down to comparing it to OTHER big budget films rather than to KAIJU films.

There's a decidedly different standard there.

Also, just to ask, since Kong was mentioned as existing in the Bridge verse and so are 14 Godzilla and the MUTOs, are the Skull Crawlers?

Given what I've heard of them so far, they'd probably be Mutations.

This movie had one of the most satisfying post credit scenes I have ever seen in my entire life.

Like... Holy shit dude...

Have now seen Kong.

My thoughts?

Not as good as Godzilla, but still a really good kaiju film and a blast to watch.

Gives me goosebumps that post credit scene

Saw the movie yesterday. It is indeed a worthy entry in the "Monsterverse" that Legendary has planned. Never heard anything about a book that had Tarzan crossing over with Kong.

Saw the movie today and it is worth a watch in my book, even my brother and stepdad enjoyed and we stayed for the after-credits! But to note something...dem Skullcrawlers, while easily small fry compared to the rest of the daikaiju, are tenacious and that accelerated metabolism that leaves them starving make them basically the WORST kind of species if they manage to keep off Skull Island...And that tenacity and cunning could make them a threat.

4452446 those Skull Crawlers when i think about it aren't that much different from Gyaos.

4452458 True...Though Gyaos have wings and shoot lasers...Unless Skullcrawlers are just a 'larval' form for Gyaos

4452471 but doesn't change the fact that they're mostly the same.

Out of curiosity, are you gonna do a speculation blog about Godzilla 2?

Man this movie kicked so much ass. While not exactly deep or anything, the movie was exactly what it needed to be; a well paced and highly entertaining monster bash. I've seen some reviews complain about shallow characters, but I found I rather liked most of the cast and felt pretty invested in things. I especially think the movie did a good job of establishing Kong for this Legendary Monsterverse, and after seeing that end credits scene I am so ludicrously hyped up for what'll be coming up next.

I also think its worth noting that while the "Big" Skullcrawler might not have been as huge as some other kaiju, much like Kong its entirely possible the species still has room to grow and that the Skullcrawler we saw wasn't the largest they could eventually become if they found enough food to consume.

Just got back from the theater a little bit ago, and man! Was that ever an action-packed movie. I saw it in a 4D theater, so my experience in the rocking, vibrating chair that sprayed mist in my face probably helped my experience a lot.
I just saw "Logan" last night as well, so I was in a pretty good movie-viewing mood.

I'm not going to attempt some in-depth review here, but suffice to say, SPOILERS BELOW

Not in any particular order, I would firstly like to say that the music in this film was spectacular. Both the older selection featuring bands like Black Sabbath and Creedance Clearwater Revival, and the original score itself. I'm going to get the OST album, as I like to listen to them to relive the atmosphere.

Skull Island itself was beautifully depicted. I believe that much was filmed somewhere in Vietnam, so one can imagine the scope of the wild, untamed bucolic splendor, the environment was stunning.

The ancillary creatures, ranging and fascinating. The gran-pappy longlegs was a terrifying thing, and an amazingly quasi-realistic concept. The giant water buffalo, didn't do much, but very nice to look at. I really liked the giant stick bug, couldn't tell what it was from the trailer, but once I understood what it was I was sold.
the little pterosaur things offered a cool addition to the more "normal" fauna, and looked madly interesting. Virtually everything on this island wanted to kill you.

The Skull Crawlers. Really cool, sinister, believable antagonists. I like them as additions to the world of Godzilla, of which this Kong movie is a part of. I like that they were straight-forward in their abilities, and didn't have a bunch of gimmicks to make them dangerous, other than the fact of their being very agile creatures that use their tails and extendable tongues. Nothing over the top like lightning bolts from the mouth or engineered bioweapons like Pacific Rim. The big one at the end, I liked how it's teeth were angled inward, looked very scary.

The opening scene with the young John C. Reilly character and the Japanese pilot, was lovely. any story writer knows you have to get your reader hooked in the first sentence.

The aerial convoy to Skull Island, I loved. As someone who's been a part of actual convoys in combat zones, it made me feel like "we are all going on this mission into a dangerous place". Loved it.

In watching some reviews, they all mention a lack of character development for the humans. This cast was packed. Unless they wanted to restructure large parts of the movie, the best you were going to get of a dozen characters was a superficial introduction and passing interactions. I might have shaved the cast by half if I were in charge, but, the movie makes clear that this is a big project, and includes a bunch of people. If this were a book, you can get away with spending familiarity time with many characters, but not for a movie, which has to fit A LOT into its time frame.

MONARCH. Is possibly my new favorite thing about the Legendary era. I like the concept, I really like the name, and it feels like a perfect fit. Going forward, I definitely want to spend more time with MONARCH. Like SHIELD in the MCU, it serves as connective tissue for the shared continuity, and the rotating cast of members helps the integrity of the multi-generational effort of studying and dealing with the Kaiju.

THE FUCKING HOLLOW EARTH. I was over the moon when they mentioned this! This is a motif used in multiple fantasy/science-fiction stories, and it's about damn time it wound up in Godzilla. Even if it's only a regional thing, totally fine with that. It's even another tie-in to G14, when the miners break into the cavern and discover the old Godzilla skeleton and MUTOs.

King Kong. He's a pretty good king, mostly keeps to himself. I feel like this was a Kong that looked like the 33/Toho version, and fought like the 2005 version. This Kong is a fighter to be reckoned with. He fights intelligently, brutally, and with perseverance. The fact that he's depicted as some kind of unclassified Hominid I think, does him better justice than merely, "giant gorilla".

End credits scene. I went into the theater knowing it was there, but avoided spoilers like they were dirty homeless people. I was hoping for something visual, like Rodan or Mothra doing a flyby over a relaxing Kong, or Godzilla's spines in the coastal waters.

But the path they went accomplished two things: it furthered the MONARCH narrative, and gave us the references to the other Kaiju we wanted. Granted it was only some cave paintings, drawn by people god knows how long ago, but it was a nice was to lead us into whatever Godzilla 2 has in store.

This was of course, only my first viewing.

I don't mean to be that guy, but if i remember correctly you said that the Shimmer in the dark finale was almost finished(been at least roughly a week since you said that) and i have not seen hide nor hair of it? :rainbowhuh:

Had to travel, I'm in Oklahoma visiting family at the moment. I have been working on it, added a scene

Out of curiosity, based on the after-credit scenes of Skull Island, would you say that Gojira, AKA the Alpha Predator, has had a run in with either King Ghidorah or DesGhidorah in the The Bridge canon given that he's old enough to know who Bagan was.

I finally saw it on Saturday. It was AWESOME! I'm definitely looking forward to what they do next with this series. Also, I wasn't one of the schmucks who left during the credits so I actually know what you're talking about. I must say, when I heard Godzilla's roar at the end I may have peed a little. 2019 can't come fast enough.

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