DIRECTOR: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Samuel L. Jackson
John C. Reilly
A team of scientists, soldiers, a tracker and a photographer are sent to the uncharted Skull Island. When they arrive, they discover they have ventured into the domain of the Mighty Kong. A giant ape who doesn't take too kindly to the group invading his home. When the group is left to fight for survival in an unknown land, they will soon realise that Kong is the least of their problems. The island is inhabited by a range of creatures that pose a much larger threat to the group than just Kong.
I will be the first to admit. I have never been a massive fan of the whole King Kong film series. I saw the original as a kid and much-preferred things like Jurassic Park growing up. I think the original King Kong was a little too slow for me at the time. It didn't hold my attention. When I went to see Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong, I wasn't impressed. A great cast couldn't save what was a pretty messy experience for me. It was a far cry from his earlier films and his Lord Of The Rings series. So when Kong: Skull Island was announced, I was a little weary about the latest incarnation of the mighty creature.
When the first trailer debuted for Kong: Skull Island, my anticipation grew. I wanted to see this film on the big screen. I was excited. It wasn't until the full-length trailer was released where they began to expose more of the comedic side of the film and that's where alarm bells started ringing for me. My anticipation for the film dimmed. I think I wanted something serious that was more in line with the latest Godzilla. I was scared this was going to play things for laughs and I didn't want to see that in a Kong film. I wanted a serious Kong movie.
After walking out of Kong: Skull Island, I can safely say that this is a very enjoyable film. While Skull Island isn't perfect and has its faults. This is a seriously enjoyable adventure. It's also now my favourite take on the story of Kong. I know the original is seen as something of a somewhat masterpiece and a groundbreaking piece of film, I won't dispute that at all but different strokes for different folks. I think this comes out on top for me. It's just such a fun slice of cinema that it nudges out the other two versions of Kong that I've seen.
First and foremost, Kong: Skull Island is gorgeous to look at. The entire film is just such a feast for the senses. This has to be one of the most beautiful looking mega-budget blockbusters I've seen in recent memory. Lots of slow motion action, stunning sweeping landscapes shots and just some amazing cinematography. I haven't seen anything that director Jordan Vogt-Roberts has done previously so I can't speak for his other films but as a director here, he is made for this type of film as this is one fantastic piece of filmmaking on a technical level.
The visual effects in Kong: Skull Island, they're also fantastic. You can tell there was a lot of CGI used with certain creatures in the film but I still think all the visual effects work was very well done. Kong himself looks wonderful. I will even say that the effects work is the best I've seen in a Kong film. I know Peter Jackson and Weta spent a long time on their effects work but here, I think it was a vast improvement. The mega Skull Crusher and Kong fight, the giant octopus fight were both highlights. I also really enjoyed the helicopter attack sequence, the most impressive action scene in the film for me.
When it comes to being a monster movie, Kong: Skull Island is exactly that. This is filled with some extremely creepy and dangerous creatures. I think this movie will be one that scares a lot of smaller kids. Parents going into this thinking they will see a light-hearted adventure film will be sorely mistaken. The threat of danger is around every single corner in this movie. I don't think there was ever really a moment of peace in this film. The only time when we are given a moment to breathe is when we are introduced to John C. Reilly's character.
For a PG-13 or M rated movie, Kong: Skull Island seriously pushes its rating as far as it can go. While this is no Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom in terms of having a rating need to be created to cater to its violence, Kong: Skull Island takes it to the very limit of PG-13. We even have a Cannibal Holocaust homage in this film. People are crushed, blown up, smacked against rocks, thrown into a helicopter propeller, and even impaled. There is also a lot of creatures that are killed in the film. There is a moment with a giant stick insect that felt particularly mean-spirited.
The acting in this film is fantastic. Tom Hiddleston is a great leading actor and action star. I liked his role in this film a lot. Brie Larson is the Fay Wray, Naomi Watts and Jessica Lange in this film. However, we don't get one of those high-pitch screaming scenes. She has a very Ripley or Sarah Conner vibe in the film. Samuel L. Jackson is the villain and his final scene was a cheer-worthy moment, John Goodman is just so good in his role as the man who sets up the exploration to Skull Island and John C. Reilly is the comic relief in this film. I thought, for the most part, he wasn't overkill.
Lastly, where Kong: Skull Island does go wrong for me is that there are quite a few very cheesy moments in the film. There is the slow-motion scene with nasty birds and Tom Hiddleston where he is slicing and dicing them that was just a huge eye-roll moment. John C. Reilly's character is the one that drops the silliest one-liners and at times, I was just cringing in these scenes. We also see Samuel L. Jackson's character continuously putting people in danger because he wants to kill Kong. These scenes are tiring when he slowly descends into this maniacal madman. I was waiting for the stroking of a mustache and holding a cat.
DEATH TOLL: 52 (Estimated)
BLOOD AND GORE:
- Someone grabs a samurai sword with their bare hands.
- Soldiers are killed in helicopter crashes.
- A soldier is eaten by Kong.
- A soldier is hit with a helicopter.
- A giant octopus is ripped apart by Kong.
- Someone is squished in Kong's hand.
- A soldier is smacked against a wall and blown up.
- A ship's propeller is used to slash a Skull Crusher's neck.
- A scientist is pulled apart by a group of Pterodactyl birds.
- Soldier's are stomped on.
- Soldier's are crushed to death.
- A soldier is thrown into a helicopter propeller.
- Many people are eaten by Skull Crushers.
- A giant spider is shot to pieces.
- A soldier gets covered in a spider's guts.
- A giant stick insect is shot.
- A giant water buffalo creature is eaten.
- A Skull Crusher has its guts pulled out by Kong.
- A skull Crusher regurgitates a dissolved human skull.
- A man is impaled through the mouth by a spider's leg.
All violence is PG-13 rated.
I was a little nervous going into Kong: Skull Island. The last couple of trailers were worrying me. I thought the comedy was going to kill this film for me. Luckily, I came out of Skull Island and really enjoyed the film. This is action packed, violent, well acted and the visual effects are great. This is my favourite incarnation of the mighty Kong to date. I can't wait to see what Jordan Vogt-Roberts delivers next as I could see him tackling something really dark or horror orientated.