KONG: Skull Island

Tom Hiddleston

Samuel L. Jackson

reviewed by Tom-Tom

starstarstarhalf star

 

In 2004, Peter Jackson rebooted King Kong. It was a top heavy double feature with half (2/3?) the exploits happening on the mysterious island of Kong’s origin and the latter portion in 1931 New York. The CGI were state of the art for the time but the film had the feel of having bitten off more than it could chew. Skull Island takes a different approach and keeps us on the island which is Kong’s residence/battleground. He is no complacent sovereign, however, but a badass ape in almost constant defense of his rule. It is nice to see another big monster movie after the 2014 Godzilla and while Skull Island takes place in the same world, its timeframe is just at the close of the War in Vietnam. While other reviewers have criticised the foil American military in Vietnam and the mercenary group of American soldiers who enter Skull Island with bombs bursting in air, I applaud it. Godzilla since the very first 1954 film has criticized the use of weapons of mass destruction and Godzilla’s creation and indeed destruction were both due to said weapons. This was revamped in the existence of MUTO’s in the 2014 film who preyed on Nuclear Power and weapons going on a worldwide atomic feeding frenzy pursued by Godzilla. Similarly, I feel the King Kong franchise goes after colonialism and imperialism outlining the fallacy of rushing in where angels fear to tread. The organization Ken Watanabe was associated with in Godzilla MONARCH makes an appearance in this film as well giving the world another possible multi-billion dollar franchise with which to tempt a willing public.

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Crimson Peak

Mia Wasikowska

Tom Hiddleston

reviewed by Tom-Tom

starstarstarhalf star

 

I had waited for a decent Del Toro film since Hell Boy 2. I went through almost his entire English and Spanish speaking backlog in anticipation while he thanklessly put his energy into producing The Hobbit Trilogy just to have Peter Jackson come back at the last minute and screw everything up. Well, at least it looked beautiful. Now, he departs from his typical thriller, sci-fi, horror, to a Gothic Romance. I know, I had the same reaction. There he goes wasting his considerable talent once again. I’m here to tell you, “No, he hasn’t.”

For one, his direction is sharper than it’s ever been with scenes cut to the bone always panning, always moving yet full of high class and intelligent dialogue. For another one, we have the always charming Tom Hiddleston with his double edged grin and piercing eyes to sweep us off our feet along with the lead Mia Wasikowska, whom you may remember as Alice in Alice in Wonderland. She plays her part as an innocent ingenue debutante with a flair for writing quite well. However, if you thought this was a hoity toity well dressed affair with only snappy dialogue as its weapon, you’ve obviously never seen a Del Toro picture. Here there be ghosts and rather creepy ones as well, each with a tale to tell and a sign to scream. There is also bloody violence which is so removed from the posh settings as to be rather more shocking than without.

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Thor: The Dark World

Chris Hemsworth

Natalie Portman

reviewed by Tom-Tom

starstarstar

        The Norse god of thunder is back in a rather light adventure full of jokes, mostly risk-free action and a closer look at more of the Nine Realms. Darcy Lewis the Intern (Kat Dennings) is back and this time she has her own intern. Natalie Portman is just as girlishly charming as ever as Dr. Jane Foster but this time is a central part of the plot, rather than a wide-eyed onlooker. The plot is quite simple. There were once Dark Elves who ruled in darkness. Now they’re back led by Malekith (Christoper Eccleston) and they want to make everything dark again.

Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is also back imprisoned but no less charming. As Robert Downey Jr. did with the frankly rather boring Tony Stark character (as he is in the comics), Hiddleston has elevated the somewhat silly comic book villain to one with depth, with pain behind that charming smile, to an almost Shakespearean scale. One of the Warriors Three, Hogun (Tadanobu Asano) who had almost no speaking parts and very little to do in the first film sits out most of this film after an action packed low-stakes beginning, which qualifies all of the powers of the Asgardians not the least, Thor’s awesome power. He’s a changed god after the first film and the events of Marvel’s The Avengers. Wiser, quieter, and more of a thinker. There is none of the foolhardy braggart like behavior which characterized him at the beginning of Thor.

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