Zinger of a lame sauce movie. Don’t get me wrong—it’s beautifully shot (mostly thanks to Australia), and the raw story is decent as far as monkey god stories go, but the characters are so flat that if you were to transform their depth into a puddle, an ant couldn’t drown in it.

Kong creates bad B actors out of Shakespearean giants and Oscar-winners. Samuel L. Jackson is fairly well utilized (and his Marines make great sidekicks) but John Goodman is a calamitous waste. So is Tom Hiddleston. He’s an unstrung Stradivarius with no tune to play and the way he rocks the custom-shrunk t-shirt (with carefully arranged cap sleeves so as not to waste an inch of bicep) made me snort in the middle of the movie. Good thing he had no lines to memorize and no character to prepare for so he could spend the entire shoot working out. As for Brie Larson, I’ve never seen her act and after seeing Kong, I still haven’t. John C. Reilly (rightly) steals the show, but so unexpectedly that even his great little story becomes a pebble in a shoe and makes the whole plot limp.

While you’re buying star power and shipping everyone Down Under, how about hiring a writer who actually knows real people? Money can’t buy you love, but it can sure buy you a better script. And be wasted on a movie ticket.