Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White, Scott Benza and Mike Meinardus

Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Producers: Thomas Tull, Mary Parent, Jon Jashni, and Alex Garcia
Writers: Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein, and Derek Connolly
Cinematography: Larry Fong
Composer: Henry Jackman
Distributors: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: March 10, 2017
Run-time: 118 minutes

FILM SYNOPSIS: In 1973, the U.S. government backs an expedition to Skull Island, an uncharted isle in the Pacific. The expedition includes scientists, military men and adventurers, all with their own agendas. Once there, they meet a stranded World War II pilot and are pursued by an array of terrifying beasts, including the gigantic ape Kong, who guards the wild paradise.

Often when visual effects heavy films mix two very different sized beings the result usually comes off like the things exist on two different planes. For example, as much as I love the “Transformers” films, the Autobots and Decepticons, especially during battles, feel completely detached from the human counterpoints down below. Even though you’re seeing shots of Shia LaBeouf looking up at them or some of then interacting with the robots, you simply never feel like they are actually standing together. The same is not true for “Kong: Skull Island” which masterfully mixes which masterfully mixes the two planes so that the people really feel like their interacting with the giant animals. The animals like Kong and the Skull Crawlers are also so expertly designed that they rarely come off as artificial or fake. You’re able to suspend your disbelief so well because the animation feels so seamless. This is one of two films this year that delves into motion capturing people playing apes, whereas “War for the Planet of the Apes” has an entire cast full of them lead by Andy Serkis, while “Kong: Skull Island” just has the one in Terry Notary.

Any other year, “Kong: Skull Island” could have been a front-runner in the Best Visual Effects category. But this year is stacked, with “Kong” likely not even being the best of the ape films. “War for the Planet of the Apes” is the front-runner in this category, in my opinion, and “Blade Runner 2049” is likely not that far behind. Even “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” has some of the best visuals of the year, not to mention of any of the “Star Wars” movies, which all three of the originals won the Best Visual Effects category. Unfortunately, I do not see “Kong: Skull Island” having much of a shot despite its superior quality. However, note that the “King Kong” won Best Visual Effects in 1976 (along with “Logan’s Run”) while the remake of “King Kong” won it in 2005. So it is not unheard of for these Kong based films to win, I just don’t think either of them faced competition as stiff as this year’s nominees.


1994 (67th) “Forrest Gump” Won Best Visual Effects
2009 (82nd) “Avatar” Won Best Visual Effects
2012 (85th) “Marvel’s The Avengers” Nominated Best Visual Effects
2007 (80th) “Transformers” Nominated Best Visual Effects
2011 (84th) “Transformers: Dark Of The Moon” Nominated Best Visual Effects


VIEWED: Sunday
February 11th, 2018



Films Left Days Left

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