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E.C. McMullen Jr.
"'Some People' ... may be the standout story in the book."
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E.C. McMullen Jr.
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- Jeffrey Reddick, Creator of
IN OTHER BOOKS
E.C. McMullen Jr.'s
CEDO LOOKED LIKE PEOPLE
in the anthology
FEAR THE REAPER
"This Ray Bradbury-esque is one of the most memorable and one of the more original stories I've read in a long time."
- Steve Isaak,
The Silver Scream
E.C. McMULLEN Jr.,
GEORGE A. ROMERO,
and many more.
Extensively quoted in
The Unauthorized Companion
Robert S. Rhine's
CIRCUS OF HELL
GAHAN WILSON &
Featuring comics by
E.C. McMullen Jr.
Head Production Designer
JOSEPH CROSS, BRIANA EVIGAN,
Special Effects Make-Up
A SIERRA NEVADA
(MICHAEL MADSEN & JOHN SAVAGE).
"Steve, you running with the big dogs, or staying on the porch?"
Let's be truthful here; how many of you really, really care about the human elements in any of these kind of movies? (I do! - Feo) Anyone? (Me! - Feo) Anyone? (Hello? Me! - Feo) Thought not (See? Nobody listens and that's why these movies flop - Feo).
From the original KING KONG (1933) to the original GODZILLA (1954) and their many sequels, reboots, reimagining's to the PACIFIC RIM films right up to this new Monsterverse starring the two biggies themselves, all we want to see are giant monsters fight other giant monsters, or giant monsters squaring off with giant robots.
We can pretty much tell the humans to piss off and let the titans go at it. I know that's what I watch these things for. KONG: SKULL ISLAND had two of my favorite actors of modern times, Samuel L. Jackson (A SHOCK TO THE SYSTEM, DEF BY TEMPTATION, THE EXORCIST III, JURASSIC PARK, SPHERE, DEEP BLUE SEA, SHAFT, UNBREAKABLE, KILL BILL Vol. 2, THE INCREDIBLES [all], SNAKES ON A PLANE, 1408, LAKEVIEW TERRACE, THE SPIRIT, IRON MAN 2, CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER, THE AVENGERS, OLDBOY , ROBOCOP , CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER, KINGSMEN: THE SECRET SERVICE, AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, CELL , MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN, GLASS, AVENGERS: ENDGAME) and Tom Hiddleston (THOR [all], AVENGERS [all], HIGH RISE, CRIMSON PEAK) but when I first watched the movie I waited with baited breath for Kong to tear into a T-Rex, one of a bazillion other monsters, or dare I hoped for, Godzilla, himself! Of course, none of that happened. Wait another ten years for the big names, Ken. The King of Skull Island takes on the second string this go around.
It's a wonderous sight, however, anytime Kong fights one of those Skull Crawlers, or in another instance, a giant squid (He also swats aircraft from the sky, but thank God, it wasn't another trip up the Empire State Building, or in this particular era, it could well have been Dubai). Yes, I think I speak for everyone when I say it was great to see the big lug in action once more. More so when I know we will see Gojira somewhere down the road.
Anyway, lets get to a review here.
There's a conglomerate called MONARCH that has been keeping track of phenomena like Kong and his kind of gargantuan beasts. The satellites of the time have tracked the land mass known as Skull Island that seems to be hidden away from modern tracking means by a perpetual hurricane that surrounds the place. The usual gang of idiots, military, scientists, and others whose sole purpose it seems is to simply hang out and become cannon fodder, if necessary. They get the go ahead from the government to move in and that is what they do. Not knowing what they would run into, they soon find out: Kong.
Five minutes after breaking storm cloud cover with their army choppers, they meet the King of the Roost and he isn't too pleased to have uninvited company. A brief battle ensues and ends just as you would expect, the ones who remain are hoofing it through the uncharted jungle and the dangers it contains.
It soon becomes apparent that Kong is the least of their worries. These boys are armed to the teeth, but machine gun fire can only do so much against giant monsters with thick, armored hides and steel trap jaws with teeth that would shame a Great White. The men are whittled down in short time, their numbers dwindling with every mile they proceed to an agreed rendezvous point.
Hiddleston and company, which also includes Brie Larson (SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD, AVENGERS: ENDGAME), find an eccentric WWII pilot by the name of Hank Marlow (John C. Reilly: DARK WATER , CIRQUE DU FREAK: THE VAMPIRE'S ASSISTANT, WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN, TALE OF TALES, THE LOBSTER) who gives the lowdown on how the island operates and that he will help them to escape the place. He wants to leave to see his wife he married before the war and meet the son that he has never seen, drink a beer, eat a hot dog and watch a Chicago Cubs baseball game. The simple pleasures in life one takes for granted, in other words.
Marlow tells the ragtag adventurers the only way they can reach their destination is to help him finish a boat that he, and a Japanese pilot he crashed with after shooting each other down, had started to build before the other man's untimely demise. They agree, knowing that trekking back through the jungle on foot is a foolhardy notion and will take days to accomplish, whereas the boat will get them to where they need to go in a matter of hours.
In the meantime, Samuel L. Jackson, and his company are looking for one of their lost companions who is presumably, still alive. Jackson has an ulterior motive, however. He wants Kong dead and will risk everything to see that plan come to fruition. The lost man they are looking for, Jack Chapman (Tobey Kebbel: WILDERNESS, WRATH OF THE TITANS, FANTASTIC FOUR , A MONSTER CALLS, WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES, DESTROYER, SALVAGE, BLOODSHOT, BECOMING, SERVANT [TV] - also plays Kong in the film) is one of the characters I really had sympathy for besides Reilly's. Chapman wrote letters to his son via a diary and I felt a twinge of compassion for the man because I know I would hate for my kid to learn that I loved him and was thinking about him and never got to say the words to him face-to-face one last time.
Much of the film after Reilly, Hiddleston, Larsen and companions get the boat rolling, becomes a full out Monster Steel Cage Match, without the cage. Everything that Kong can get his hands on is used against the Big Kahuna of the Skull Crawlers. The other monster holds its own against the giant ape and does a pretty bang up job, but Kong is a smart cookie and the outcome is never in doubt.
But after all, this is really the reason we pay money to see these things. The human story is incidental. We're pulling for the monsters to overcome by any means necessary. No matter who they take it to.
See? Even Director John Vogt-Roberts doesn't give a rat's ass about any sort of character development when it comes to Kaiju flicks. Nobody does. Any film you can bring up that feature them, the humans are the weakest link of that movie, I promise you. Prove me wrong. You can't.
The monsters are what sold that film and if they keep making such Saturday popcorn flicks, that will always be the case.
Four Shriek Girls.