Kong, the king of the movie monsters make a humungous comeback in the action-packed creature-feature, Kong: Skull Island.
It’s 1973 and the Vietnam war has just ended. Scientists have discovered an uncharted island known as Skull Island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and set out to see what mysteries lie there. They’re joined by a crew of Army men, an ex-military tracker and a photographer to chart the island. Little do they know that the island is host to some enormous, and deadly beasts.
It’s a fairly generic plot that doesn’t add much to the monster-film genre, which is fine, as we don’t come to see these movies for their intricate plots. The film does try to add some social commentary about America’s past wartime troubles, but any allusion to that is quickly overshadowed by the action and overall spectacle showcased in the film.
This is where the film shines. The cinematography is some of the best you’ll see in a modern blockbuster film, with regular Zack Snyder collaborator Larry Fong absolutely acing the look of the film. There are so many gorgeous shots in this film that will make you forget about all of its other flaws, and wow you with its grandiose style. The visual effects are also exceptional, especially in an age where poorly executed VFX are so easy to spot by most viewers.
Where Kong: Skull Island suffers is unfortunately, with its actors’ performances. The film’s principal cast features a who’s-who of leading Hollywood talent that includes Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson and John Goodman, however none of these stars appear to ever find their stride. Their performances are passable of course, but with those names, we expect a lot more. Thankfully, John C. Reilly is on point with his character and steals the show.
The characters in this film are mostly archetypal of characters we’ve seen before, which is a shame as there was definitely room available to expand on them. Even Kong gets a bit of character development, which was a nice touch, though we barely just get to sympathise with him. All the human characters though – not so much. It was generally a case of not caring who lived or died in the end.
A film like Kong: Skull Island will rarely, if ever feature deep character development with an intricate plot. We watch it for the action and in that regard it excels, and looks beautiful doing it.
Considered to have the largest American adaption of King Kong on screen, standing nearly 328 feet (100 meters) tall, while Peter Jackson’s Kong was only 82 feet (25 meters) tall. In the two Japanese movies, in which King Kong appeared, he stood approximately 150 feet (45 meters) tall.