Friday, March 24, 2017

Kong: Skull Island Thoughts





Last night was kind of funny. I had seen Kong: Skull Island in the afternoon and was all hyped up to write a little blog post about it. As I settled in, I heard a groan and saw all my bookcases begin to lean over. I ran over to protect the TV and books fell like rain on me and the floor as the bookcases exploded. I felt like King Kong battling books.

I was already battling a cold and now the subsequent dust and clean up has exasperated my illness. But that doesn't mean I can't finally settle in to write a few words about Kong: Skull Island as I cough and sneeze with the cold that's circling the city and now it's my turn to suffer.

Love My Kong
I had been cautiously excited to see this movie, as I am about all movies I'm excited like a little kid inside about but ultimately end up disappointed.

Kong didn't disappoint this Great Ape fan. Whew. Seeing it in 3D was even better and it was still playing in one of the big theaters. There were six of us in the theater.

I loved the music. It was an fantastic blend of music that was written about Viet Nam and around the  time of Viet Nam. I remembered all of it. I was a teen and heard radios in stores and at friends' houses and watched the news with the horrors of the war. Weston Osche posted on Facebook that he went to buy the soundtrack and none of that great music is on it. Boo!

The story takes place in the seventies after a little snippet from 1945.

John Goodman and his team of nerds with an army escort is going to look for ... monsters.

They toss around some bombs, which is so typical in these movies. They don't do a flyover first to see what's down there, they just start dropping bombs. And wouldn't you know, they get one furious gorilla raging at them. Somehow he is able to catch the planes and kill some soldiers. Like how cats can catch birds. I kept wondering in my head, why is there only one gorilla? Where's the tribe for backup?

Well, luckily our gang runs into a guy who speaks English and he tells them All the Things. Whew for that! Otherwise, our gang likely would have become stew or maybe sacrificed to Kong by the tribe that doesn't speak English, like in other movies.

End of an Era
I loved how they made the movie in the seventies. Just before technology exploded but enough technology for some things. That was a good call. Cumbersome film cameras, whining flashes, walkie-talkies, tapes.I like how they stayed on Kong Island. Although, who knows, maybe they go back to get him for New York? Who knows? We know he's not dead because he's in more movies coming out over the next couple of years. Since he has no children, it has to be him.

They had some nice touches with some characters. We cared about most of them. However, the snap in Lieutenant Colonel Packard wasn't truly believable. It was weird how he was obsessed. I suspect there's a missing scene earlier in the movie that we'll see in some deleted scenes on the DVD that gives him a little more character development or motivation. It wasn't believable that he'd risk everyone to fight a gorilla that's over 125 feet tall when it's already proven that nothing, not bullets, bombs, fires, torches, helicopters, can do any real damage to Kong. The Lieutenant had no plan like a booby trap. Yes, he's trained to go down fighting, and yes, he took it upon himself to get revenge for his men, yet he's the one who dropped the bombs to upset Kong and the rest of the creatures to begin with. Sheesh.

It wasn't really clear or set-up why Kong liked the woman since she was far too small for him to even see what she was, (I'm sure gorillas don't have very good eyesight), or do anything with besides hold and eat and pull apart. I guess the story had to do that in case they come back for him in a future movie with her as a lure.  He's way too big to bring to New York. It would be impossible. Where would you put him? I won't believe it if they bring this version of Kong to New York.

I liked the character of Marlow. The name isn't lost on me.  I'm glad they used him as they did.

Things that Bugged Me
No bugs. Like, surely there were tons of horrific bugs in this place. even mosquitoes, flies. They showed huge flies on the yak, so those things would be cruising around.

No sense of the weather. Everyone was dressed differently. Though often soaking wet with swamp water or mud or worse, no one seemed cold, itchy, disgusted, or hot or a bug magnet. Have you ever watched Naked and Afraid? That's one of my favourite shows. Those people are coated with bug bites and freeze to death even in the jungle. But in the this movie, I guess the climate was comfortable for everyone. No sweating, no thirst, no heat rash, or sunburns.

No sense of awe. Okay, if I saw an ape as tall as a skyscraper with a mouth full of teeth with each tooth as long as a car, and he's pissed as hell and wants to kill me, I'd be freaked, I'd be awed, scared, shaking, one seemed to think it was weird that this giant ape exists. Sure they talk about it.  There's even a running gag, "Uh, aren't we going to about this?" Even in Jurassic Park, people are awestruck by seeing a dinosaur, whether from a distance or chasing them. You can't tell me that in real life, that Colonel would risk the life of all after he saw even one of those skull lizard things? Seriously? He already knows he has no weapons so what's he doing? They know there are flying creatures too. Sheesh. No fear. No awe.

No warning. Okay, there are a couple of scenes where Kong SNEAKS UP ON PEOPLE. Like seriously. Something that huge doesn't just sneak up on you no matter what you're doing. The best parts of Jurassic Park are when the vibrations of the T-Rex is felt, long before it's seen. The sense of knowing something is coming, but what? From where? How big is it to jiggle that drink or that car? Wouldn't Kong rumble whether he's in a tree or breaking trees by walking or just walking? Kong's way bigger than any T-Rex. So you'd hear him. He can't surprise you. No way.

Kong: Skull Island features the tallest incarnation of Kong in an American film, standing approximately 104 feet (31.6 meters) tall, while Peter Jackson's Kong was only 25 feet (7.6 meters) tall by comparison. The tallest incarnation of Kong overall is the one featured in King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962), which stood approximately 147 feet (45 meters) tall. 

How Big is Too Big?
Sometimes I felt that Kong was just too huge. One minute a helicopter can fly into his mouth, judging by this shot, yet the girl fills his palm. But that's me. I'm picky because I love these movies and like to notice behind the scenes stuff like height discrepancies.

I totally recommend Kong: Skull Island! I loved it. The soundtrack is fantastic. The special effects rock. The story is good. I was only a little depressed about how they lured him out and then tried to kill him as he got some good shots in himself. He lives at the end and I liked that. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Toronto Comicon 2017 with Darth Maul and Stuart

Toronto Comicon 2017 

March 17 - 19, 2017 

The Horror Writers Association Booth 117

Come by and say hi!

Oh, Kylo, why don't you ever just want to go hang out over a cup of coffee and discuss how you don't need to make yet another Death Star?

 Is Han trying to tell us something? You? Me? What does he want?

Oh, I see, you're turning on me...again.

I had been looking forward to seeing Kevin "Stuart" Sussman ever since he was announced! Big Bang Theory is one of my favourite shows for modern day current comedy. In fact, it is one of my "I want to write for this show" bucket lists, which I'm missing the boat on since I wouldn'teven know how to submit. Just like wanting to write an episode of Carnivale back in the day, or a Star Wars Kylo Ren/Luke Skywalker spinoff book. I guess I'm like Stuart in that way. Will never get to that next level.

I watch TBBT all the time. I had it on earlier. I was on a panel about The Big Bang Theory a couple of years ago at a convention, I think it might have been Ad Astra. So, yeah, it was cool to see one of them up close. I always feel sorry for Stuart. I actually get angry at the gang sometimes with how they treat him. There's also a weird pervy undertone to Stuart that comes out rarely, but you can see it in early episodes. Like when he whips out his phone to take Leonard's photo for the Hall of Fame as the only guy to get a date while actually in the comic book store. I think the time he and Raj hang out in the Wolowitz's hot tub is one of the best. It's creepy and hilarious.

 I actually got a front row seat. That's what happens when you spend an hour in line! Kevin Sussman was really good and the interviewer was good. Sussman actually seems like he's a lot like Stuart in real life which, to me, is endearing. He was joking about how he kept going off track in the interview. I was going to tell him if I'd had the nerve to put up my hand, that I'm the same way in interviews, it's that ADHD thing! He was clever and kept the conversation lively. We heard little stories and it was all great fun. He doesn't seem like he has a "star" attitude at all.

Of course, as always, my phone pictures are terrible even though I was in the front row. I need to invest in a good camera. A small good camera.

This lovely Kylo came by the booth. I told her to come back when I had my corset on. Apparently, she did when I was seeing Keven Sussman. Maybe she'll come back on Sunday afternoon! She was a good sport!

 This Kylo was fantastic. She had a big saber scar on her face.

 Brad Middleton and Alessia Giacomo are holding down the fort at the Horror Writers Association Booth for the morning and afternoon shift. Of course, I totally forgot to take pictures of other people actually at the booth, like Tonya Liburd, Stephanie Bedwell-Grime and Andrew Robertson. Most of us are back on Sunday so come on by! I was side-tracked by my celebrity crushes and Kylo Rens.

This Kylo Mom had a great outfit that you can't see here. Great stockings, garters, and all that. I'm pretty sure these are all her kids! 

I was happy to see Ray Park, who played Darth Maul, in real life on Friday night. I went to his panel, I didn't actually get to talk to him or anything.

I've babbled on before about Darth Maul. How excited I had been for Darth Maul, how furious I was when he was killed so quickly and that horrorshow Jar Jar jarred me into oblivion and I actually hated Star Wars for a while and almost didn't see The Force Awakens. Yes, I'm aware Darth Maul has a life in spinoff books and TV shows, but he sure didn't in the major movies. At any rate, decades later, I'm willing to forgive that movie since I don't remember much about it anymore. I wore one of my Darth Maul watches and a Kylo Ren shirt. 
 Ray Park's work is great. He's in other movies as well. His talk was really good. He told stories about several movies. Some of the audience questions lended themselves to fun stories.

Han Solo in carbonite was right across from us the whole time. As is a little silver Kylo Ren figure for $299 plus tax. The Han Solo means no one sees our booth because everyone is taking pictures in front of it. We do what we can!