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 quickly discover that they have ventured into the domain of the Mighty King Kong. A giant ape who doesn't take too kindly to the group invading his island. When the group is left to fight for survival in this uncharted 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 genre films and his Lord Of The Rings series. So when Kong: Skull Island was announced, I was 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 more 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 fun movie. While Skull Island isn't perfect and has its faults. This is a seriously enjoyable action 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 couple of 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, these stunning sweeping landscape shots and some genuinely amazing cinematography. I haven't seen anything that director Jordan Vogt-Roberts has done previously so I am unable to 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, are also fantastic. You can tell there was a lot of CGI used with certain creatures, but I still think all the visual effects work was very well crafted here. 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 monumental improvement. The mega Skull Crusher and Kong fight, the giant octopus fight were both real highlights. I also really enjoyed the helicopter ambush 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 film 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 any 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, a character is 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 movie. 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 is that there are quite a few cheesy moments here. There is the slow-motion scene with nasty birds and Tom Hiddleston where he is slicing and dicing them that was just this 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 during 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 really waiting for the stroking of a moustache and him 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 pretty nervous going into Kong: Skull Island, I won't lie. The last few 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 movie. This is action-packed, violent, well acted and the visual effects are excellent. 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.