Since the early days of film, monster movies have been a staple of the average filmgoer’s experience. From the stop-motion Godzilla films produced by Japan in 1954 to thrillers such as Matt Reeves’ Cloverfield to the widely acclaimed Jurassic Park anthology, fans have flocked by the droves to watch some gargantuan mayhem. With the latest release of Kong: Skull Island the industry once again voiced their continued support of the monster genre and delivered yet another film filled with larger than life creatures, crushing visuals and sound effects, and things that go boom. Here we break down Kong: Skull Island as a newest monster film to grace the big screen.
In this original screenplay based off of the legendary Apelike Apex Predator, King Kong, a team of scientists accompanied by a military escort led by Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson), an expert tracker (Tom Hiddleston) and a Vietnam war photographer Mason Weaver (Brie Larson) explore an uncharted island in the South Pacific and encounter ferocious beasts, deathly predators, and of course King Kong in brutal and bombastic thriller.
First and foremost it’s important to emphasize that Kong: Skull Island is not a sequel to Peter Jackson’s King Kong which bore the same story-line as the original King Kong made in 1933. Rather it’s an original story that features Kong on an island with a separate encounter with scientists and soldiers briefly after the Vietnam War. The originality presented here is a refreshing bit of novelty. With a star studded cast Kong is certainly well acted and fast paced. It’s amazing to me how far we’ve come as far as movie magic goes. Kong: Skull Island is a gorgeous film. The beauty of the island is spectacular with a wide variety of locations and climates it is certainly a delight to see. Kong looks incredible–he’s so detailed an realistic looking it’s a marvelous feat to see how he and the other monsters function with life-like vigor and realism. This film is truly a treat for the eyes with all the mayhem, action, and breathtaking visuals that are truly enhanced by an IMAX experience if you’re so inclined.
While the movie looks great and boasts some fine acting the plot is pretty predictable and not that exciting. It’s the typical man vs. beast narrative where people are stomped, smashed, obliterated, and carried away. Machine guns, helicopters, and explosions decorate the cinematic landscape. And while its fun to watch Kong wrestle gigantic skull lizards and struggle with titanic squids, we have hard time connecting with the characters and don’t really empathize with their struggle. Let’s face it–I came for Kong and everyone else can be monster fodder for all I care. The film also forces a lot of humor–some of it is funny, some is not and many times the film gets unnecessarily emotional so much so that it unintentionally becomes humorous and inspires a face-palm here and there. If you came to watch Kong in action you won’t be disappointed. But don’t expected to become emotionally attached to it. I sure wasn’t.
Kong Skull Island makes for some great eye-candy and a fun time at the movies. However its excitement is limited to the action sequences alone and not the depth of its plot. I found the film to be mildly entertaining and was more wowed by visuals than anything else. My reaction to it was similar to my reaction of Jurassic World: predictable and not very thought provoking. It’s relatively forgettable. However if you want to just relax, turn your mind off, and enjoy watching massive creatures destroy smaller creatures you’re good to go. If you’re taking your kids just know that there is one use of the “F” word and the word “mother-f*****” is almost used before it is cut off. Also there is a considerable amount of blood for a PG-13 film as well. Nothing like Logan obviously but it is noteworthy. I’ve been asked if it’s worth seeing in IMAX–I would say not really. The visuals are enchanced by IMAX yes, but it’s not necessary. I would say save the extra six bucks and see it in FDX at the most for the great sound. IMAX is not a must however. Also stay for the credits! There’s a scene afterwards that hints at further monster films coming in the future.