Kong: Skull Island
kong: skull island | king kong | remake | jordan vogt-roberts | dan gilroy | max borenstein | derek connolly | tom hiddleston | samuel l. jackson | brie larson | action | adventure | fantasy | sci-fi | sci fi | china | australia | canada | united states | giant monster
Film: Kong: Skull Island
Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Writer: Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein and Derek Connolly
Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson and Brie Larson
This film begins in 1944. It is nearing the end of World War II. Two planes crash on a beach on an island. An American, played by Will Brittain, attacks a Japanese soldier, played by Miyavi. The two fire guns at each other and run into the woods. They do battle on the edge of a cliff and we see a giant ape climb up, interrupting them. This is Kong.
We then shift 28 years into the future. The Vietnam War is going on and it is coming to an end. John Goodman works for a secret government agency, but cannot get any of his missions to be sanctioned. With him is a geologist, played by Corey Hawkins. They see a senator played by Richard Jenkins who denies them. Hawkins speaks with such passion and reveals that there is already another expedition that is going close to the area. This changes his mind and he allows it. He also confirms he will give them a military escort.
The film then shifts to Vietnam where we are introduced to a helicopter unit. It is led by Samuel L. Jackson, who is bothered that they are pulling out. He doesn’t know what to do with himself that doesn’t involve war. Under him he has Toby Kebbell, Jason Mitchell, Shea Whigham, Thomas Mann and Eugene Cordero. Mitchell is ready to go home, much like the rest. Whigham doesn’t seem to be.
We then see a photographer that also gets the invite to come along on this expedition. She is up for the cover of Time magazine and played by Brie Larson. When she is questioned why she is going, she states that when she told the same cover story by 3 different sources, there is a reason to go. Goodman and Hawkins also go to a remote bar in Saigon to recruit a great explorer, played by Tom Hiddleston. He demands five times what they are offering before agreeing.
The briefing of the mission is that the helicopter unit of the military will escort them to an uncharted island. Many different cultures speak of Skull Island and how there is a perpetual storm surrounding it. It is similar to the Bermuda Triangle as ships and planes go in, but none ever come back out. They will use seismic charges to get the topography of the land and then explore. There are more scientists who are also a part of the crew played by John Ortiz, Tian Jing and Marc Evan Jackson.
They fly through the storms to find that it is calm above the island. They start to drop charges when they are attacked by something. It is Kong. He takes down all of the helicopters. They are all separated and must find their way back to each other to make it to the rendezvous place. They will encounter a lot of different creatures that much larger than things we see here. Jackson is upset with Kong and the killing of his men; he has a personal vendetta to get revenge.
Will Jackson get his revenge? Will he risk the lives of all to get it? Is Kong a good creature or protecting the island from something much worse? Can they get off the island before it is too late?
Now I have to admit that I am a big fan of the giant kaiju films. I will say that I’m not sure the American King Kong films normally fall into this, but this one definitely does. I feel that this one was well done actually. I am glad to see that they didn’t do a third remake of the original from 1933. This film actually does something completely new. I loved the back-story and how they are connecting it with the MonsterVerse and bringing in all of the great Toho monsters into the series. I loved the concept of man versus beast and who is the real monster of this film, human or animal. This one does borrow a lot from the original King Kong film, which I thought was a good touch. The ending of the film was heartfelt, which I tend to dislike, but for this one I enjoyed it.
The acting in this film was great. You don’t normally see a cast like this for a giant monster film, because you tend to focus on them so you don’t need it. Hiddleston is a fantastic actor and I liked his role in this film. Jackson is great at the obsessed general. He tends to play the same character a lot, but I believed him and thought it was perfect. Larson is beautiful and I thought she was a good touch for the female lead. This version they really don’t play up as much that Kong is obsessed with her, which was fine to take out for me. John C. Reilly shows up as the man on the island who was stranded from 1944. Goodman and Hawkins were both solid, even though I would have liked more from Goodman. They didn’t give him much after the beginning of the film and I just know the performances he can give. The rest of the cast was pretty solid to me and rounded out the film well.
Here we have to talk about the effects. You now coming in that this is a CGI fest. I feel that they did a great job with them. This Kong is not correct with what you’d really find in nature, but that doesn’t bother me. He moves and looks real. The battle scenes are great with Kong or even when it is just the people fighting off giant creatures on the island. I will say that I did have problems that there is a spot where Kong is burned. From what we see it was pretty bad. Soon after we see him again and it doesn’t look like he was hurt much. I would assume to see more singeing, but that didn’t seem to be the case. I thought the editing of the film was good. For being close to two hours long, it moves pretty fast. They did well at giving us action at good intervals to not lose us, while building the story. The score of the film was pretty good as well. They use some solid old songs that I’m a fan of. They also compliment the scenes with songs that fit very well.
Now with that said, I would recommend seeing this film. If you don’t know it, I will warn that it is an action-adventure film with giant creatures that fight. The story of the film is interesting and something that still relevant today and an allegory for human nature. The acting of the film is very good. The action, fight scenes and CGI were well done. I liked the score and the editing of the film as well. There is a scene after the credits to connect this film to a MonsterVerse which I also liked to see. To me this is a very good film. If this sounds interesting, give it a viewing as I don’t feel you will be disappointed.
My Rating: 8 out of 10