Kong: Skull Island. Starring Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, John C. Reilly, and John Goodman. Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts Produced by Legendary Entertainment & Warner Bros.
It has been 12 years since Peter Jackson took fans on his bizarre remake of the silver screen giant, King Kong. With how unbelievably mediocre that outing was it is no wonder it took over a decade to revisit the giant ape that once ruled tinsel town. In the last variation Kong came to New York, but now it is our turn to come visit Kong in his habitat. With a $190 million budget, Kong: Skull Island was expected to go big on the CGI and action sequences while also building a foundation for 2020’s Godzilla vs. Kong. Building interest in this franchise was something Jackson failed to do, which may be why WB went all out with their A-List filled cast. If you want to get people to come see a big ape you need to be even bigger with production.
A team of scientists lead by John Goodman, are setting off on surveying mission to explore the mysterious Skull Island and report back any geological findings. However, there may be something larger at play if this mission also involves a military escort from Samuel L. Jackson’s air cavalry unit. It doesn’t take long for this scientific exploration to turn into a battle for survival as this team discovers Skull Island belongs to much larger things than them. Now this team must fight to make it out alive, but that may only happen if Kong allows it.
The movie starts without much of a build up. There was no warming up the audience, just a short attempt to set up the movie and then they are battling King Kong on the middle of an island. It may have not happened that fast, but it sure felt like it. Then once the plot really unfolds you wonder if this movie is a prequel to King Kong, and Godzilla vs. Kong or if this is the prequel to Pacific Rim. Who knows, maybe it is both.
How to handle a movie about King Kong has to be a difficult approach to decide on. Do you play it serious and treat it like an epic of serious proportions? Or would it be best to tackle it with a tongue in cheek style? Because after all this is a movie about a giant monkey (primate). That may be one of the biggest struggles with watching Kong: Skull Island, you don’t know what direction they decided to go in. Are you supposed to laugh here, or be scared/sad? Was that scene meant to be an homage or just not original?
It hopefully was the former. This would explain the untimely and confusing Jurassic Park references that were forced upon us. They did not quiet fit among all the Vietnam homages. The soundtrack could have been the love child of both Forrest Gump’s and Apocalypse Now’s soundtracks. One thing that was clear is that Jordan Vogt-Roberts is a fan of all three of those movies and wants us to know it.
These forced references were not as distracting as all the deaths that failed to mean much to the film or the audience. There were moments that were supposed to be touching and heroic that ended up being comical and making you think, what was the point of that? Then there were deaths that did not even make an attempt to live up to the role that character played. Those moment you were left thinking, oh, ok so they are no longer in the movie I guess.
This theme also transferred over to a final action sequence, a scene that was very much impressive but equally as ridiculous. It was choreographed in a way that made you wonder when Vin Diesel and his street racing friends would enter the fray. But Hollywood knows, the bigger and bolder you go the more fans cheer with guilty pleasure.
One thing that may have been bigger than the action was the cast. Samuel L. Jackson did a phenomenal job playing angry Samuel L. Jackson but that was nothing different than 90% of his films. While Tom Hiddleston attempted to play the action hero rather than a villain for once. Though he looked the part he did not have any moments that would make his role stand out in peoples minds as they discuss their favorite action stars. In the end the award for best lead role went to a CGI monkey (primate), who was able to put on a more honest and true to the part performance than both Jackson and Hiddleston combined.
The bright spot of the acting and the movie would go to John Goodman, John C. Reilly, Brie Larson and Brie Larson’s tank top. Goodman has hit a resurgence of late and his role of determined, do what it takes scientist proves that. While Academy Award winning Larson is always spot on with her characters, it was her tank top that put in the hardest work. There has not been a better supporting tank top in a role since Jessica Biel’s in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake. However, John C. Reilly may be the only one who’s presence was as big as Kong’s. Every time Reilly was on screen he stole the scene, he might as well been working with stand ins. He was the only actor that mattered at those moments. He brought the energy and humor that this film needed. Not to mention his emotional scene at the end, proving that even though this movie was ridiculous and very fictional you still have an intense emotional connection to his character.
In the end, though this film was riddled with cheese and absurdness, Kong: Skull Island was very entertaining and had some great action and acting. The world of skull island was larger than life and really pushed our imaginations. As long as you know the reason to see this are for the CGI monkey (primate), Larson and John C. Reilly then you should be ok. This will not win best picture and would be best seen at a theater with a bar, it worked for me.
- Brie Larson’s Tank Top
- John C. Reilly
- Tigers vs. Cubs
- And you thought the bugs in the summer are bad
- Beer and a dog
- Brie Larson’s mechanical skills
- 6 Marvel Actors, can you name them all?
- Did the credits almost make me cry?
- Pacific Rim plot point.
- Why is Sam always so angry?
- He died for…nothing x3.
- That gimmick barely worked in Jurassic World