Title: Kong Skull Island
Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Actors: Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, John C. Reilly, Samuel L. Jackson
It seems director Jordan Vogt-Roberts was correct when he said that his version of the Kong tale would be unlike its predecessors. This well-known story, about a gigantic ape, living on Skull Island, has been given a fresh treatment and the result is a fast paced, humorous tale that sets up the future planned Kong Vs Godzilla film.
This film is set in 1973, with America just withdrawing from Vietnam post the war. A military escort (Samuel L. Jackson),still upset at the outcome of the Vietnam War, sets off for the island with a war photographer (Brie Larson), scientists (Tom Hiddleston, John Goodman) and some soldiers to explore this unchartered territory. John Goodman’s character, Bill Randa, is a conspiracy theorist who secures funding for a fact finding mission to the island.
Luckily for the viewers, it isn’t long before they encounter King Kong (larger than ever before!) who swats at planes and lays waste to many humans. However, this giant ape isn’t the ferocious human enemy some of the explorers think he is. In fact, the island is full of fearsome creatures (and amazing effects!) like super large spiders, wooly mammoths and the Skull Crawlers, who pose an equal (if not larger) threat.
The star of the film is John C. Reilly’s character, Hank Marlow, an American soldier, who, in the prologue, was shown crash landing on the island. He has been stranded there for 30 years. Reilly’s character embodies the comedic center of the film, and has some truly rip roaring one-liners which audiences will enjoy. Tom Hiddleston is good as the dashing leading man, while BrieLarson isn’t given much to do. Thankfully the love angle is done away with, only finding some nostalgia when Kong takes a liking to her. In fact, the fleshing out of the characters in the film is sacrificed for the more exciting action sequences involving King Kong. There are also a number of side plots which tend to deviate focus from the main attraction- Kong.
This film is full of dazzling special effects. The action is rapid, with a few sad deaths of certain characters. This film also plays out as a deeper exploration on war, as well as environmental preservation and kindness as a weapon combating hatred. The breathtaking visuals will immerse the viewer and immediately grab their attention. There is a wonderful scene which showcases the arrival at Skull Island with all the helicopters swooping into formation, which is sure to draw a few gasps.
The climactic showdown between Kong and the reptile like Skull Crawlers is a riveting, if slightly long battle, that will make action fans rejoice. However, it is humans who are the true threat with their bombs disturbing the ecosystem of the island and making these Skull Crawlers rise up, and with one set of the explorers deeming Kong the enemy.
All in all, this film is a perfect set up for summer blockbusters- action packed, entertaining and a great way to spend an afternoon. A departure from past King Kong films (even excluding a visit to New York City), this refreshing new take on the tale is bigger and better. Be sure to stay in your seats for an exciting post-credits scene that will set up future monster movies.