Airplane Movies

I thought I take a break from organizing photos and trying to capture the wonder of my trip, and talk about the two movies I watched during the long flight back to Los Angeles.  And yes, there will be SPOILERS so please nobody have a MELTDOWN OVER THE SPOILERS.


As most of my readers know I love Tom Hiddleston.  His range from Loki to Jonathan Pine in the brilliant miniseries The Night Manager is extraordinary.  So I wanted to see KONG: SKULL ISLAND because he was in it.   I had missed it in the theaters but was able to catch it on my flight.  Was it big dumb fun?  Well, sort of, and it did have some things going for it apart from Tom.  There was the interesting choice to set it at the end of the Vietnam war, there was the charming performance by John C. Reilly as the stranded WWII pilot.  There were a couple of interesting soldiers but most of the group were just numbnuts and monster fodder.  I found Samuel Jackson to just be a cliche which was a shame because I really enjoy watching him.  I ended up fast forwarding through a lot of the “Blow ’em up real good” scenes.

I try not to get too bogged down in minutia with these kind of movies, but there were moments where the character motivations really had me scratching my head.  The John Goodman character.  Apparently he knew this was Monster Island and that the Hollow Earth gibberish was true.  (Let us for the sake of this movie assume it was true), but he had them drop bombs to break holes into the hollow earth… so… the monsters could…. get out?  So he could… prove…something… something.. (to quote Jim Wright) gazpacho????   Bottom line — I got nothin’.  Tom was handsome and square jawed and rational and brave — in short another cliche, but at least a pretty one and there was at least an attempt to give him some kind of backstory beyond Heroic Guy with the lighter his daddy had given him before he flew off to fight Nazis.  We had the obligatory spunky girl — at least she was a war photographer.  Then there was Sam Jackson being more concerned with Kong then with the other Big Ass Monsters that were killing his team.  Why?

I did like the end where the stranded pilot goes home and meets his son and finds his wife still waiting.  As much as I love Reilly I found myself wondering what it would have been like if the pilot who survived on the island was the Japanese pilot rather than the American.  I think that would have been a more interesting choice.

Now GHOST IN THE SHELL.  This movie got a lot of hate over cultural appropriation because of the choice to cast Scarlett Johansson rather than an Asian actress and truthfully I’m not sure why they made that choice.  Because they thought she was a bigger draw?  I think anybody who loved the underlying material would have gone to see the movie so why piss them off with this casting choice?  That being said that wasn’t the only problem with the movie.  The biggest issue for me was the first 20 minutes of that script that featured some of the most pedantic, plodding, on-the-nose dialog I  have ever heard.  Hey, Hollywood Execs I have a tip for you.  The viewers who go to see science fiction films are pretty damn sophisticated about science fiction tech.  They really don’t need to be spoon fed about how they made a robot body and put a human brain inside.  Hell this has been old hat in the field going way back to the lovely story The Ship Who Sang by Anne McCaffrey.

I didn’t think enough time was spent on the villain/tragic victim of the piece.  I wanted a bit more about his relationship with the Major.  I actually did find the idea that the estranged daughter returns to her mother at then end to be somewhat affecting even though I know it was a sop to try and ease the outrage over the casting decision.  Maybe because it had some resonance for me.  I thought the movie looked cool but it did have a let’s rip off Blade Runner vibe to it.  I was expecting some really interesting fight scenes, but they ended up being muddy and rather opaque.  Maybe because of the small screen on an airplane, but I really was hoping to see some great martial arts work.

So there are my thoughts on the brain candy movies.  Now if you want to see something great go rent THE NIGHT MANAGER.  You won’t be sorry.




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