Golden Rule: The King (Kong) Doesn’t Cut It

Leading up to the 90th Academy Awards on March 4th, we’re diving into as many of the nominated films as possible to look at their chances for taking home the Oscar. Today we’re looking at Kong: Skull Island, which is nominated for Best Visual Effects.

Kong: Skull Island is a prequel to the story of King Kong. Set in 1973 the film plays heavily on the post-Vietnam climate. The film stays on Skull Island for the most part, which leads to something different than the traditional King Kong films with the giant ape being brought back to the US.

The film boasts an impressive cast, including Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, John Goodman, Samuel L. Jackson and John C. Reilly. Despite these big-name actors, the film is slightly two-dimensional. The characters are all mostly “stock characters” with no real depth, aside from maybe Samuel L. Jackson’s character. The film is still a fun film that is worth the watch.

It’s very clear that one of the reasons the film was nominated for Best Visual Effects is due to it being a King Kong film. There’s nothing in the film that really stands out or makes you think, “that’s amazing!” This might have to do with the way films are made nowadays: with every week or two seeing some new “blockbuster” film with tons of visual effects slightly better than the last film. And that’s not to say the visuals aren’t great in Kong. There are some great battles between Kong and other monsters on the island. But it still feels like the same type of thing we’ve seen now a million times over.

It’s almost surprising that Kong got nominated this year. But again, the film recreated a classic film character and that’s probably why Suicide Squad won best Costume Design last year (i.e.: Joker).

But Kong is still the low man on the totem pole. Especially when you consider it’s a film Warner Brothers is using to build up a shared Universe with their Godzilla Franchise. The Academy doesn’t always award those types of films. We’ve commented before that the Visual Effects category is probably one of the hardest categories to figure out this year. But it’s hard to see any path where Kong takes home the Oscar this year.

Kong: Skull Island is currently available on DVD, Digital and Blu-Ray. Be sure to keep following Poor Man’s Spoiler for all of our Oscar coverage. The Oscars air on ABC on March 4th at 8pm ET.

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