“Kong: Skull Island” Review ✦✦✦✧✧

10 March, 2017

Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Screenwriters: Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein, Derek Connolly
Director of Photography: Larry Fong
Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson

Synopsis: After the Vietnam War, a team of highly trained scientists, explorers, and military men head to an uncharted island where they discover scores of terrifying new species including a colossal ape who will do anything to protect the boundaries of his primitive home.

Kong Review:

Made to be seen in the largest and loudest theatre possible, “Kong: Skull Island” is a walloping 3D action-adventure, turning humans into ants who journey into the eye of the storm only to watch the lumbering Kong open-mouthed as he tears through the structures of their tiny universe. Tweaked to fit a new era yet still solely reliant on many of the story’s original archetypes, the makers pick the elements they like and discard the rest, skim-reading Hollow Earth theory and creating a movie that lacks detailed explanation but provides more than enough rattling set pieces to have a ton of fun with.

Although the film’s relationship with “Godzilla” is never directly alluded to, “Kong: Skull Island” is set-up as part two of Legendary’s ‘MonsterVerse’ and it indicates what’s to come by depicting Kong’s fights with the dreaded Skullcrawlers as a mere warm-up to an even more destructive event. In a similar crashing and bashing fashion to the previous instalment, the movie destroys the cast over the course of the adventure, guaranteeing that even top billed actors aren’t given a free pass to survival while being chased by a slew of primitive monsters whose guts are ripped out before our eyes at the hands of the almighty Kong.

Released as a prequel to the original story but placed forty years ahead of the events as we know them, “Kong: Skull Island” has an unstable relationship with its past self and it naturally lays down distraction and destruction in a bid to divert attention away from its mismatched context. Very ‘Nam circa 1970 but far too mindless to warrant comparisons with the late and great movies of the postwar period, “Kong” goes in all guns blazing with its squad of choppers but comes out paddling, making clear visual nods to “Apocalypse Now” without producing any of the soul-crushing existential weight to go with it.

Battle helmets and machine guns define a new age in the King Kong franchise, producing a rougher and tougher story without resorting to the emotional tactics of cross-species romance. The ape picks his woman of choice but she’s a pawn within a grander narrative, showing the giant that some humans are worth saving even when the bulk of the explorers are more monstrous than the beast himself. While John C. Reilly delivers unnecessary comic relief in trickling doses, Larson and Hiddleston provide the actual performances necessary to bring together a mishmash of reshuffled and recycled content as the pair nuzzle up to Kong, finding goodness in perceived evil and exposing their vulnerability to a creature who could easily take them out in a single swipe.


Review Date
Kong: Skull Island