THE UL­TI­MATE 2017 PRE­VIEW

APES, GUNSLINGERS, GET­AWAY DRIV­ERS AND A VERY CREEPY CLOWN: THIS YEAR’S MUST-SEE MOVIES AND TV

Empire (UK) - - CONTENTS -

Films set in 2017 in­clude Pamela An­der­son ‘ve­hi­cle’ Barb Wire, sec­tions of Adam San­dler ‘com­edy’ Click, the last bit of Harry Pot­ter And The Deathly Hal­lows — Part 2 and Ter­mi­na­tor Genisys. And you thought 2016 was grim.

KONG: SKULL IS­LAND

THE RULES OF en­gage­ment are clear: fight fur with fire. As this piece of ex­clu­sive con­cept art shows, ad­ven­ture epic Kong: Skull Is­land will see ev­ery­body’s favourite big-screen (and just plain big) ape pit­ted against mod­ern com­bat tech­nol­ogy. Well, not quite mod­ern. Rather than yank­ing the tra­di­tion­ally old-school tale into the present day, the block­buster re­boot is set in the early ’70s, at the tail end of the Viet­nam war. That in­ferno you’re look­ing at might just be caused by the source of Colonel Kil­gore’s favourite smell: na­palm.

“The script I first read took place in 1917,” says di­rec­tor Jor­dan Vogt-roberts. “But when I started talk­ing to the Leg­endary [En­ter­tain­ment] guys, I was think­ing, ‘What weird King Kong movie would I want to see?’ So I pitched them the Viet­nam War con­nec­tion. Lit­er­ally think­ing they were gonna laugh me out of the room. And to Leg­endary’s credit, they said, ‘Cool. Let’s fig­ure it out.’ The aes­thet­ics of that time mixed with King Kong makes for an in­cred­i­ble genre mash-up.”

The be­leagured band of visi­tors to Skull Is­land in­clude pro tracker Conrad (Tom Hid­dle­ston), war pho­tog­ra­pher Weaver (Brie Lar­son) and Randa (John Good­man), a bu­reau­crat work­ing for Monarch, the shad­owy or­gan­i­sa­tion in­tro­duced in Leg­endary’s Godzilla. And then there’s Sa­muel L. Jack­son’s Colonel Packard, jun­gle-hard­ened and trig­ger-happy. “He be­comes hell-bent on killing Kong, be­cause Kong kills some of his men, and he didn’t lose any men dur­ing the war,” ex­plains pro­ducer Alex Gar­cia. “He’s like Cap­tain Ahab in Moby Dick — he’s ob­sessed with bring­ing down this crea­ture.”

De­ter­mined to re­turn to Amer­ica with some kind of vic­tory, Packard and his ’Namvet­eran loy­al­ists have a state-of-the-art arse­nal with which to top­ple Kong. (“Guns, grenade­launch­ers, for­mi­da­ble weaponry,” prom­ises Gar­cia.) On the other hand, never dis­count the dev­as­tat­ing po­ten­tial of a well-placed ba­nana skin. NICK DE SEMLYEN

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