If you’re a particularly committed cinephile with an HBO subscription, then you’re undoubtedly aware that the network is notorious for showing films in the wrong aspect ratio. For instance, Mad Max: Fury Road was formatted in 2.35:1 widescreen, but changed to 1.78:1 for HBO — effectively cropping out a significant portion of the action. Although casual viewers likely don’t notice a difference, it’s rather frustrating for more dedicated movie fans…and directors, as evidenced by an interesting Twitter exchange between Jordan Vogt-Roberts and Peter Atencio.
One of the fun parts of film criticism is trying to identify which blockbuster movies that open to middling reviews will undergo a critical re-appreciation in the years to come. For example, while audiences were generally disappointed with Ridley Scott’s Prometheus on its release, the movie has slowly gained steam with critics, becoming something of an under-the-wire classic in the last few years. And now, just a few months after the release of Kong: Skull Island, there are already those who have argued that its unique aesthetic makes it one of the better action movies of the year.
Kong: Skull Island may be set in the early 1970s, but it’s clearly engineered for modern sensibilities. The film’s trailer drew comparisons to Apocalypse Now, but director Jordan Vogt-Roberts seems less inspired by Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam War film than its iconic poster of a fiery setting sun, an image Skull Island returns to over and over. Even if it bears superficial similarities to Coppola’s classic, it’s little more than A-picture gloss on a big-budget B-movie. Naming one of your characters after Joseph Conrad doesn’t make your film Heart of Darkness; the only thing at this movie’s heart is the (admittedly accurate) belief that when a giant ape punches a giant lizard in the face with a boat motor it looks totally freaking awesome.
He’s big. He’s mean. He has a thing for blondes. He’s King Kong, and he’s back in theaters this month in Kong: Skull Island from director Jordan Vogt-Roberts and Legendary. The average life expectancy for a gorilla is about 40 years; at 84 years old, Kong’s still going strong, and arguably looking better than ever. If you’re significantly younger than Mr. Kong and new to the franchise, here’s what you need to know about his past, present, and future, along with his many imitators. (Note that there are a few SPOILERS about the old Kongs, but not Skull Island.)
This island may be big enough for Kong and a bunch of other creatures, but it ain’t big enough to fit all these pesky humans too. The new international trailer for Kong: Skull Island gives us more flames, more ape, and introduces a bunch of new creatures, each one huger than the last.
Kong’s beats may not be on fire, but his island sure is. A new concept art image from Kong: Skull Island shows the ape bursting through a wall of flames while tiny soldiers run for their lives in the foreground. You can tell the production team liked this one, because it looks like it comes straight out of the actual trailer itself.