My wife Marneen and I had a lot of fun seeing Kong: Skull Island in IMAX 3D last night. Fun is certainly the operative word here, as director Jordan Vogt-Roberts delivers a big monster bash that still has little touches of heart amongst all the spectacle and no pretensions to be anything more than a solidly entertaining way to spend a couple of hours in the cinema. And if there ever was one movie monster born for the vast, often overpowering expanse of the IMAX screen, it is Kong.
One of the best aspects of Kong: Skull Island is that it doesn't try to retell a classic tale that simply can't be told any better than it originally was in 1933. Rather it takes the iconic character and his mysterious and dangerous home of Skull Island and fashions its own adventure, one which kick-starts Kong's entry in Warner Brothers' and Legendary's new shared universe of giant monsters (a universe first established with Gareth Edward's Godzilla film from a couple of years ago).
In that respect, Kong: Skull Island is more in line with the Kong offshoot films, like King Kong Lives (1986) and, more specifically, the earlier Japanese Kong adventures King Kong Vs. Godzilla(1962) and King Kong Escapes (1967). The film's setting and time frame (the dying days of the Vietnam War in 1973) helps further connect it to those great 60s Japanese movies (which is why I chose to highlight the film's stunning Japanese poster here).
And like any great movie set during the Vietnam War, the soundtrack is filled with rock and pop classics from the era, and while most of the cast do what is asked of them, I thought only John C. Reilly managed to stand out and create something memorable.
As for the King himself, yeah he is all CGI but what else should we expect in 2017? I thought he came across great - kicked ass, showed a bit of character and emotion, and had a nice sense of mythology built up around him.
Will definitely re-watch the movie at some point to see how it comes across in a non-IMAX, non-3D environment.