KONG (spoilers possible)

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KONG (spoilers possible)

Postby LadyTevar » 2017-03-12 12:24am

Went to see this tonight (2D version). It gave me just what I wanted -- Monster Movie Goodness, and I walked out feeling very satisfied.

The director learned a great lesson from the recent Godzilla movie; Show The Monster. We get to see plenty of the Big Ape, as well as several of his friends. However, like Godzilla, he is more a Force of Nature than a character in the movie, which I am not meaning as a complaint. Kaiju should be a Force of Nature, should be a God to the humans around them, because they simply are beyond us. We get to see this demonstrated often as human meets monster, and the monsters are not that impressed.

The actors manage to not let the Big Ape overshadow them too much, even if the roles are fairly standard and pretty well set up in the trailers. SLJ is the hardass soldier out to get vengeance for his men, which ties in nicely with Goodson's character's wishes. Hiddleston is the tracker who is the voice of reason, and Reilly's crazy stranded pilot isn't as crazy as he looks. ("You should listen to Lt. Marlowe!" should become a catchphrase similar to "Listen to Ivonova.") Soldiers are soldiers, who just wanna get home, and who are getting increasingly freaked out by the things they're seeing.
I'm still not sure why Larson's photographer is there, other than Female Kong Empathizes With. Not that she doesn't have her Moments of Awesome against the Skullcrawlers, but there's still the heavy "Token Female" vibe about her. Oddly, I didn't get that same vibe from the Biologist that is also with them.

The CGI is impressive. All the kaiju have weight and form and move mostly realistically (except the deer, they didn't move quite right). The work they did to make Kong interact with the environment is extremely well-done, as is the work on the SkullCrawlers. The lizard-snakes are shown as cunning hunters, and smart enough to sense a trap when they see one. The fight between them and Kong are far better than the Allosaur battle of the last Kong movie, while doing homage to the original T-Rex/Kong fight from the original.

Now, there's a lot of meta-verse thrown around in conversation. The Seismic Bombs did do a lot more than wake up Kong, it actually got them some information on the Island's underbelly. What they found we don't know yet, but "Hollow Earth Theory" was thrown around a lot, as was the "Monsters were here before us and might want Earth back" theme from Godzilla. Kong keeping the Skullcrawlers trapped underground was another topic, touched on as removing a top predator allowing the prey to spread unchecked. Also mentioned in passing is Lt. Marlowe's statement that Kong is still young and not done growing (nice way to throw off everyone calculating Kong's size vs Godzilla's size for the eventual Kong/Godzilla fight).

So, overall, Good Movie, gives you just what you want if you're wanting Kaiju throwdowns, and a nice setup for the next movie. And yes, stay through the credits. Not only do they scroll over a rock painting with interesting images of the wildlife of Skull Island, there is a bonus scene afterwards.
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Re: KONG (spoilers possible)

Postby Shroom Man 777 » 2017-03-12 04:39am

I liked Kong a lot. I don't mind the Jaws-like Spielbergian approach to the 2014 Godzilla movie. In fact, we watched the Godzilla movie again after seeing Kong.
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Re: KONG (spoilers possible)

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2017-03-12 10:22am

I saw it last night. I'm not particularly invested in Kong as a character/series/franchise/whatever, so I mostly went to be entertained (only other decent thing on was Logan which I've seen already).

The film succeeded. The characters, while largely being archetypes, were interesting enough to stop me grumbling, the cast did a very good job with the material they had, and the CGI and scenery was stunning. As an astronomer I particularly loved the aurorae that are there int he background for a scene.

So, yeah, it was worth the cost of admission and was entertaining. Will i see it again or buy the dvd? Probably not, but that's more of a lack of interest in "Giant monster" films on my part than a mistake with the film.

I do have a few logical issues with it (I know, Kong =/=logic), namely, we see a Super Stallion, four Hueys and what I think is a Sea Knight take off from the ship, all parked on the deck. A few minutes later there are somehow seven Hueys buzzing around. Weird.

Also, during the fight in the boneyard, suddenly the Marines have a flamethrower and a .50 cal MG, who the hell was carrying those through the jungle and why didn't we see them earlier?
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Re: KONG (spoilers possible)

Postby Tsyroc » 2017-03-14 07:20pm

Eternal_Freedom wrote:I do have a few logical issues with it (I know, Kong =/=logic), namely, we see a Super Stallion, four Hueys and what I think is a Sea Knight take off from the ship, all parked on the deck. A few minutes later there are somehow seven Hueys buzzing around. Weird.

Also, during the fight in the boneyard, suddenly the Marines have a flamethrower and a .50 cal MG, who the hell was carrying those through the jungle and why didn't we see them earlier?


I knew about the helicopter issue before seeing the film so I was on the lookout. When most of the helos are taking off there are two more hueys with red crosses on the noses in a hangar at the back of the ship. The take off seems to be time condensed a bit but I still think they end up with too many helos heading to the island, and I'd really like to know where the 3 at the end came from.

The flamethrower was ridiculous, who was packing that? The 0.50 usually takes two people to carry. One for the gun and one for the barrel, maybe they would each carry a can of ammo but that is a lot of weight to be lugging around. It made more sense to have the M60s from the doors of the choppers.

I'm also curious where they got the fuel to power John C. Reilly's boat. They looked to have barrels of the stuff. If all the wrecked ships hadn't been on the East (super dangerous) side of the island I might have thought he salvaged it over time but even then, 55 gallon drums?

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Re: KONG (spoilers possible)

Postby Tsyroc » 2017-03-14 07:37pm

I think some of the main characters can be linked back to those from other Kong movies.

Brie Larson's photographer is reminiscent of Jeff Bridges character from the '76 Kong. IIRC, he was a environmentalist that stowed away on the ship and talked his way into staying on as a photographer. Tried to help the military capture Kong in NY.

John Goodman has the same outfit that Carl Denham wears in the '33 Kong, and is desperate to prove he is right and keep Monarch funded. Denham was essentially going to go bankrupt and left NYC with creditors on his heals.

Jackson reminds me of a couple of obsessed characters from the DeLaurentis Kong movies ('76 and "King Kong Lives"). He even gets pounded into the ground like the guy in King Kong Lives (terrible movie by the way, really terrible).

Hiddleston is kind of a military version of a mix of Jack Driscoll (main action hero of the '33 movie and Anne Darrow's love interest) and Jeff Bridges' character.


I have to say that I like the 60s and 70s pop music they used in this film. Black Sabbath when the helos were dropping bombs was pretty cool.

In Kong '76 the reason for going to the island was surveying for oil so the geology angle crosses over a bit too. I think they also used satellite photos to find out about the island but I could be wrong.

The ship in this movie wasn't a giant oil tanker but looked enough like a small one to also remind of the '76 Kong.

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Re: KONG (spoilers possible)

Postby LadyTevar » 2017-03-15 02:35am

Tsyroc wrote:I have to say that I like the 60s and 70s pop music they used in this film. Black Sabbath when the helos were dropping bombs was pretty cool.
Nothing really sets a tone like period music, and they used the music to good effect in every scene. "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane during the sleezy bar scene and Credence's "Run Through the Jungle" while on the island are two of the standouts besides Black Sabbath's appearance.

Another thing was Larson's photographer shooting pictures of the soldiers on the ship. I think I've seen pictures from Vietnam era with soldiers in similar poses. Her pictures of the natives on the island were very National Geographic of the time, as well. Minor things, but to me it reinforced the 1970s setting, beyond the typical set dressings of cars and clothing.
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Re: KONG (spoilers possible)

Postby Tsyroc » 2017-03-15 12:32pm

I forgot to mention the Hueys. In the '76 Kong they shoot the shit out of Kong with him only getting a little payback. I think this movie was that payback. :D

It's nice to not have a super sad depressing Kong movie for a change. I think I would have liked the character more growing up but 5 out of the 7 Kong movies I've seen before this one all had sad endings. Only the Japanese Kong movies didn't end with him (or his "son") dying.

I've been reading the novelization and so far I've liked it. Quite a bit more going on with Conrad (Hiddleston), in his head and his backstory. After that it adds a bit to Brie Larson and John Goodman's characters, but I'm only just beyond Kong trashing the helos.

Hiddleston's character comes really close to getting eaten by a giant snake. A bit of a nod to the snake in the '76 movie but more in size with the actual prehistoric constrictor that we are all glad is extinct. The book version appears to be venomous and a constrictor, besides being 60 feet long. No fair.

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Re: KONG (spoilers possible)

Postby LadyTevar » 2017-03-15 05:55pm

Tsyroc wrote:I've been reading the novelization and so far I've liked it. Quite a bit more going on with Conrad (Hiddleston), in his head and his backstory. After that it adds a bit to Brie Larson and John Goodman's characters, but I'm only just beyond Kong trashing the helos.

Hiddleston's character comes really close to getting eaten by a giant snake. A bit of a nod to the snake in the '76 movie but more in size with the actual prehistoric constrictor that we are all glad is extinct. The book version appears to be venomous and a constrictor, besides being 60 feet long. No fair.

I might need to find the novelization and read it
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Re: KONG (spoilers possible)

Postby Tsyroc » 2017-03-16 03:14pm

LadyTevar wrote:I might need to find the novelization and read it


Funny enough, the mass market paperback is cheaper on Amazon than the Kindle ebook.

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Re: KONG (spoilers possible)

Postby Adam Reynolds » 2017-03-22 06:22am

Finally got around to seeing it on discount Tuesday. Anyway, something this movie did nicely was that it took away most of the heavy weapons and equipment that would have otherwise made this sort of conflict much easier. The fact that it took place in the 1970s was also a part of this, as it was the last point at which it would be hard to justify an island being entirely undiscovered.

I liked that unlike Godzilla, who was able to survive nuclear weapons, there was a sense that Kong was vulnerable to something as small as machine gun fire, and that proper explosives would have actually killed him.

I also liked that the scientists were on the right side, against the military, on the issue of killing Kong. Except for the random one who joined with the military for some reason, though he was with the surveying rather than the Monarch team.

As far as Brie Larson's character as a token female, while Jian Tian did not have that problem, it is likely because Brie Larson was the only character who arbitrarily decided to show up. It also didn't help in that she was the only character who didn't start carrying a weapon.

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Re: KONG (spoilers possible)

Postby LadyTevar » 2017-03-22 08:50pm

Even without carrying a weapon, Mason (Larson) still managed to kill a Skullcrawler and badly wound "The Big One".
Which is more than the Colonel did, since his kill tally was one Bamboo Spider, one 'birdie', and using fire to briefly incapacitate Kong.
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Re: KONG (spoilers possible)

Postby LadyTevar » 2017-03-22 09:44pm

Now, a side-bar: Ecology of Skull Island.

We have visuals of two large insectoid species (spider, stick insect), and aural confirmation of a third (the ants). We have two giant mammalians species (Kong and buffalo, possibly a third in the deer). Then we have dinosaurians: birds, pterodons, and the Skullcrawlers. Lastly, we have a giant octopoidian.

So, let's break this down.
Buffalo eat aquatic vegetation, keeping the rivers clear. Deer eat grass and keep the lower limbs of trees nibbled back. The stick insect is most likely a vegetarian like its smaller relatives, so it too is keeping the underbrush in check. In any case, they are all prey animals, with various ways of escaping predators.

Many ant species we've identified as opportunistic omnivores, eating vegetation or meat as they come across it. From Marlowe's reaction, the ants on Skull Island have eaten enough humans to be considered a threat, but whether this makes them completely predators is up for debate. Since Marlowe talks of them being up in the trees, we may assume an individual ant is smaller than the spider and stick insect. This leads to the thought of a human being over-ran by cat-sized ants, with each ant locking mandibles down on a limb and then carrying the human off to the nest for dissection before being added to the compost pile that feeds the fungus the ants actually eat.

Bamboo Spider is obviously a predator, using camouflage to stalk its prey before lassoing up a meal. The feeding mandibles makes me wonder if it actually tears the prey apart to eat, or if they were just there to immobilize prey for the draining bite. When it caught the soldier, it wasn't quite webbing, since we see the "threads" stab into the soldier's leg. More specialized mouth-parts? The look was too ... meaty ... for webbing as well.

Birds break down into pure predators and omnivores, while the pterodons are obviously meat-eaters. However, while we see the pterodons are strong enough to lift a man, I wonder if they are not mostly scavengers. The saw-beak would be useful for cutting through thick hide. However, the only use we saw for the saw-beak was a high-speed dive that ended with separating a limb from a (human) body. Is that a normal hunting strategy, stretch out the limbs and cut them apart?

Skullcrawlers are shown to be very predatory, but also was shown to up bones once the flesh has been digested. Is this normal? Are they like owls, unable to digest bone, and forced to cough up a pellet, or was Chapman's skull just caught in its throat and had to be cleared out? We do see that they eat smaller prey whole, so what isn't digested might need to be expelled orally.

Kong is shown enjoying calamari, slurping it up like noodles and taking the rest home. Whether Kong actually swallowed the soldier shown falling towards his mouth is open to debate, as the scene changes at that point. If Kong has a diet similar to other primates, he may primarily eat vegetation, with meat as opportunity arises. We see him strip a tree and use it as a weapon, but could he also be stripping smaller trees to probe the ant colony for meals? Shake some of the trees for fruit?
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Re: KONG (spoilers possible)

Postby LadyTevar » 2017-03-22 11:10pm

Skullcrawler ecology:

Basic body plan: bipedal burrowing lizard.
I would say dinosaurian, but the legs were set out from the body more like a crocodillan or lizard, while a dinosaurian's legs are set under the body.
The feet are large and splayed, well muscled, with blunt claws useful for digging. Legs are heavily muscled, wide set with a full range of motion. The legs are able to not only support the large body, but allow a rapid forward sprint.
The head is narrow, with large olfactory openings in front of smaller eye sockets. The bone growth on the head is possibly for protection as it burrows underground, where its sense of smell would be more useful in finding prey. Multiple teeth are seen, most likely angled towards the rear to prevent prey from escaping when being swallowed whole, and able to cut larger prey down into manageable bites. The tongue is flanged and extendable, emerging from a hole at the bottom of the mouth and retracts with speed. The tongue is strongly muscular and possibly rooted in the ribcage, as forceful removal of the tongue is shown to cause death.
The rib cage is the widest part of the body, and can be presumed to enclose the internal organs. The ribs themselves seem flexible and thin-skinned, most likely to allow for the stomach to expand with larger prey. No cloaca or anus is visible, nor are sexual organs seen, but this does not imply lack thereof.
Below the rib cage, the body narrows dramatically, forming a strong, muscular tail. The loss of back legs is a useful evolution for underground living, with less mass to drag through tunnels, and the muscular tail may allow for fully serpentine mobility in some areas. The tail is shown as a flexible striking weapon and as able to coil around an opponent. Whether this coil can be used for constriction is open to debate. To use a tail strike, the legs must be planted firmly before the strike. We only see the coiling action when used against Kong; if this is usable on smaller prey, or by smaller individuals, is open to debate.

Diet: Carnivorous.
We see two small Skullcrawlers at the body of a water buffalo, presumably a fresh kill. As it was too big to swallow whole, it can be assumed they are somehow biting off manageable chunks. Humans seem to be a preferred prey, as they are the right size to swallow whole and can easily be ran down. However, not all kills are eaten right away, which could imply a state of kill-lust when among a large group of prey.
We do not see what the preferred underground prey might be, but some theories may be made from what is shown. We see a small Skullcrawler vomit up an undigested skull (with metal dogtag attached). The area it was in was full of scattered human-sized bones, which could imply the Skullcrawlers often vomit up bones of small prey. This inability to digest bone could imply they evolved to eat soft-bodied invertebrates underground, such as worms and insects.

Life Cycle:
This is mostly unknown. We do see there is one large creature, which has been alive for long enough to become a human legend. The rest are smaller, possibly younger. We do not see enough to determine sexual characteristics, but there is a chance the smaller Skullcrawlers are all descendants of "The Big One". However, there is not enough evidence to base a theory.
Marlowe makes many statements that imply "The Big One" is asleep underground. This might imply "the Big One" is in a state of rest between meals, a torpor. It may also be a primitive belief -- it's not above ground killing us, therefore it must be underground sleeping. There is also the possibility of it being deeper underground hunting for other prey, before the seismic bombs brought it up to investigate. The truth is open to debate.

Known Predators: Primate species Gorilla Gigantius Kong?
We are told that the giant gorillas started fighting the Skullcrawlers at some point after humans came to the island. The reason for this change is unknown. We are told, and then see, that Kong's parents died while fighting an invasion of Skullcrawlers. We are told that the Skullcrawlers remain underground, because Kong keeps them there. We see Kong track down and kill two small Skullcrawlers, but we do not see if he then eats them. The Skullcrawlers themselves are extremely antagonistic towards Kong, which shows they know he is a threat to them. In all cases, both Kong and the Skullcrawlers immediately attack each other with intent to kill. If this was a normal Predator/Prey system, the prey would be seeking ways to escape without harm, attacking only when cornered. What we're shown is more a fight between to Top Predators over territory, with the stronger Predator winning.
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Re: KONG (spoilers possible)

Postby Tsyroc » 2017-03-22 11:18pm

In the Peter Jackson Kong the apes were partners with the ancient Atlantean civilization of humans.

A similar thing could fit with the current timeline with there being something odd about the humans on Skull Island.

I'm presuming it will fit in with Mothra at some point in the next Godzilla movie or so. The novelization of Kong: Skull Island seems to make a big deal about the islanders not talking, even the children. It kind of got me thinking about Mothra.

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Re: KONG (spoilers possible)

Postby LadyTevar » 2017-03-23 12:00am

Tsyroc wrote:In the Peter Jackson Kong the apes were partners with the ancient Atlantean civilization of humans.

A similar thing could fit with the current timeline with there being something odd about the humans on Skull Island.

I'm presuming it will fit in with Mothra at some point in the next Godzilla movie or so. The novelization of Kong: Skull Island seems to make a big deal about the islanders not talking, even the children. It kind of got me thinking about Mothra.

Forgot that about the Jackson Kong.

Marlowe says the islanders aren't much for talking, but he got to the point he understood them without words. Their body paint is the same as the written language we see, and the colors of their face paint and robes seem to indicate either status or societal roles. What we do see is the Euwe(?) were mostly Asian, with very few European features (I think one from the wrecked temple). Considering Skull Island is somewhere West-SouthWest of Indonesia, it's no surprise that the majority of inhabitants would be descended from Indonesian sailors. The intriguing part is we've discovered that the most Denisovian genetics are in the Indonesian/Polynesian inhabitants, who island-hopped all the way to Hawaii and possibly South America. This leads to the theory that Skull Island's first human natives may have been Denisovian. That might explain more about why the current natives don't speak, although it doesn't explain the mix of white/yellow heirographics and blue Sanskit-like script and mandalas.

The crafter in me wanted to know where the reddish fiber one woman was handling came from. Was it dyed or was it natural color? What method was she going to use to spin the fibers into thread? Did they have spinning wheels, or would they just use a spindle? Where were the looms, were they wall-leaning or standing?
And now that you brought it up, could that have been silk from Mothra's caterpillar stage?
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