Directed by: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson, Jing Tian, John Ortiz, with Terry Notary, and John C. Reilly
Run Time: 2h
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
3 Frames out of 5
By: Shari K. Green
It’s invigorating to see that Kong: Skull Island isn’t just a remake of King Kong. It has a few similarities, such as beast still digs beauty, but that’s about all. It stands alone on its own giving director Vogt-Roberts something to be very proud of having a part in. Speaking of beauty, however, I did like the more substantive presence of the ape in the 1970 movie King Kong, where you could see Jessica Lange pull at Kong as she begs him to not let her go. This gives you the chance to feel for him much more. That realism isn’t in this version where Kong is CGI. However, if you have a heart, you’ll still hope the best for the guy. Why he keeps falling, literally, for these woman is beyond me, though! You’d think he’d learn by now! I digress.
Far be it for me to suggest you can learn something from a monster movie but I’m going to. You can learn something from this monster movie. You can learn, if you haven’t already, that sometimes with nature things are better left alone. Though we don’t always pay attention to it, there is a natural order of things and if you interrupt or disturb that order, in the name of helping mankind, you could be doing just the opposite. Such is the case here.
Kong is set in the early 70’s in the time of Watergate. Research scientist Bill Randa (Goodman) is in Washington and looking for some money and a military escort to an uncharted island he’d like to explore for the possible medicinal cures it holds. Insert political statement here as Randa stands outside and proclaims that there’ll never be a more screwed-up time in Washington. The Nixon bobblehead is a nice touch, as well.
Randa gets his grant, a photographer (Larson), a rather large escort and his own tracker (Hiddleston); they set off to explore Skull Island which is shrouded by vicious storms. Going only so far by water, the teams, which are led by Colonel Packard (Jackson), take to the air the rest of the way. However, once they clear the dangerous weather another danger appears; Kong. He immediately senses danger and begins to protect his turf which looks more like swatting at flies, to be honest. This scene was well placed as it’s not too far into the film, wasting no time getting you into some heavy action. Packard takes the attack personally. Losing many of his men in the battle he’s now hell-bent on killing the creature. He must prove to Kong that man is King. Jackson’s look is fiery and savage as his Packard stares Kong down for a moment before being whisked away at the last minute. Getting stomped on like a cockroach might have ruined his already horrible day.
Helicopters are scattered and the teams separated. One group meets an indigenous tribe and Hank Marlow (Reilly), also known as the comic relief, a paratrooper who has been stranded on the island since WWII; twenty-eight years to be exact. Through Marlow, the team hears all they need to know of who Kong really is… he’s King. To the people of the island, he’s God. Without him, the Skullcrawlers would dominate and kill every living thing on the island. Kong keeps the skeletal creatures in low numbers and below ground. If not for him, all would perish and not only would they take over the island but they’d begin to take over the planet.
During their lesson, other teams are meeting and in some cases, wiped out, by other inhabitants of the island. If spiders aren’t your thing… this might not be the movie for you but the thought of taking the mother of all spiders down in a wicked way would be spectacular then remember this is a Kong movie, not a spider movie, and get your butt to the theatre. What’s left of the team meet and make their way to the destination point so they can leave the island and you can leave the theatre but don’t do that too soon! There is an after credit scene so make sure you stay all the way until lights up. What they will be assuring you of here is that the MonsterVerse will continue and who could be coming up next. If you like monster movies, you’ll like Kong: Skull Island. You might not like the way Hiddleston over plays his role as Larson’s love interest but the CGI is great and the motion capture performance really pulls you in. Those reasons alone are worth spending the extra money on seeing this at an IMAX theatre if you can. ENOY!