Last week I wrote about how the magnificent Vietnam countryside would hopefully shine through in the new Hollywood blockbuster movie Kong: Skull Island. I’m sure that all Vietnamese people will be hoping that they country is shown in a good light. Well, having now seen the movie, I am delighted to report that Jordan Vogt-Roberts has indeed, done the country proud. The epic scenery of Southeast Asia’s most verdantly beautiful country dominates the screen, in scene after scene.
The movie is what it is. Nobody is going to expecting to pick up Oscars, this is more brain-out entertainment than high cinema. That being said, I liked it. The cinema photography is glorious, the CGI is astonishing and the one section that might pick up awards, the costume design, is fantastic. As big monkey plots go, it delivers all that you would hope for. The Hollywood bullshit “death before dishonour” is only mildly vomit inducing, and thankfully the director avoided the celebratory, emotional salute at the end. Without doubt, though, the stunning Vietnam countryside is the big winner here.
Vietnam countryside praised by the cast before the film starts
Before the film starts there is a nice message from Vogt-Roberts, Tom Hiddleston and Jason Mitchell to the people of Vietnam, thanking them for their hospitality, and kindness, and praising the country, the food, the culture and the people themselves. It’s a nice touch from a crew that was genuinely moved by their experiences here. In the case of Vogt-Roberts, he has been impressed enough to announce that he is relocating here and will be living in Ho Chi Minh City and has been named as Vietnam’s tourism ambassador. This was clearly a labour of love and the Vietnamese cinema audience lapped it up.
As for the performances, I thought John C. Reilly was fabulous, as he normally is. His portrayal of a World War 1 battle weary soldier was humorous and powerful. Hiddleston plays the hero to an adequate standard and Brie Larson got a bit lost in the Fay Wray role. Samuel L Jackson did what he always does and John Goodman didn’t, thankfully. All in all, it is an enjoyable way top spend a couple of hours with your brain out, and the Vietnam countryside must bring in the tourist dollars.