‘That’s Kong, he’s king around here”
With every major film studio wanting to follow in Disney’s footsteps and create a Cinematic Universe, we are now getting a ‘Monsterverse’ from Warner Bros. This started in 2014 with Gareth Edward’s Godzilla and continues with Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ movie Kong: Skull Island, building into a Godzilla and King Kong movie in 2020. Set in the early 1970s, Kong: Skull Island is about a group of scientist and military operatives who travel to a mysterious island in the Pacific Ocean to discover what secrets it holds. Upon arriving on the island the team is confronted by Kong, a giant Ape who protects the island and its inhabitants, and everything goes to hell. The survivors of the confrontation find themselves trap on an island populated by giant creatures and monsters, whilst fighting to stay alive and regroup. The film has a large ensemble cast that includes Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L Jackson, John Goodman, Corey Hawkins and John C Reilly.
As far as giant monster movies go Kong: Skull Island is pretty fun, much like Pacific Rim and Transformers (2007) it’s really easy to get excited watching giant monsters fight each other. In certain parts of the film it feels like the movie does not take itself too seriously and acknowledges it’s about a giant ape, which is awesome. Then it decides to tell the audience a story about humans that you really do not care about. The scenes with Kong are some of the best, which is a credit to the director and Toby Kebbell who helped with the motion-capture work. Kong is easily the most likeable of all the characters in the whole film and has such a strong presence that it almost feels like two separate movies, a movie about Kong and the movie about the human element. Even from early on in the film Kong never feels like the villain of the movie, which is an interesting approach to a monster movie. Traditionally the monster would come off as the bad guy, at least until something worse appears but despite his actions when the team arrive on the island Kong does not feel like a villain.
There is a massive ensemble cast for this movie but there is so few characters that the audience will care about making the film frustrating to watch at times. Tom Hiddleston is great as a lead in an action movie that will probably help fuel the rumours he would be up for the next James Bond. He is one of the only strong performances and characters that fit into the landscape created by a film about lost survivors in the jungle. John C Reilly is perhaps the only another character that is likeable in the movie. He displays the right amount of crazy and naivety that makes the character entertaining to watch and funny at the right times. The movie takes a step in the right direction when he enters the story.
Then comes the rest of the cast. Brie Larson who is a fantastic actress (She’s got the Oscar to prove it) is completely wasted in this movie. She is portrayed as the tough chick that can match the tough male characters in the film but this character falls by the way side. For the most part she is there to look good in a tight singlet, which is extremely unfortunate given just how talented she is. Samuel L Jackson starts out strong but completely lost me when he begins to combine Marlon Brando and Martin Sheen’s characters from Apocalypse Now. He was over the top (and not in the good Samuel L Jackson way) to the point that he becomes irritating and his story begins to drag. The character is not meant to be likeable but comes off as more annoying than anything with no part of you empathising with him despite the loss of his soldiers.
Kong: Skull Island has some incredibly fun moments and is much better than expected, mostly since the Kong scenes are fantastic. There are also some incredible scenery shots of the filming locations from Hawaii, South East Asia and Australia that definitely enhances the experience. The downfall of Kong: Skull Island is the fact that the audience will ultimately lose interest in the human element of the film, which is a fair portion of the movie. There are still great characters in the movie but their story just lack an interesting element or even stressful elements of survival usually attached to monster films. That being said Kong still has some entertaining parts. In one scene Kong rips a tree out of the ground, strips the branches off of it then swings it like a bat at his opponents, and yes it is as awesome as it sounds. I did have fun with Kong and would recommend people see it in cinemas to truly enjoy the experience.
Kong: Skull Island scored a Credit with 65%
Do you plan to see Kong: Skull Island? What did you think?
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