Kong: Skull Island Review
By: Justin Hopkins
So, this actually feels like unfamiliar waters for me. I have never watched a King Kong movie coming into this. As far as big monster movies go, can pretty much name them off the top of my head, Godzilla 1998, 2014 and…Underwater. That is about it, but with Godzilla vs King Kong on the horizon and Paulie having already covered King of The Monsters. Might as well show so love to Skull Island while I get caught up. Have read and seen both negative and positive reviews for it. With an open mind, I gave it a watch and now, lets dive in and discuss.
The movie kicks off with the sounds of gunfire and two planes crashing into an Island. An American World war 2 solider and A Japanese one and they immediately resume trying to kill one another, before they were stopped by Kong and we jump to the present day. and we join Randa and Brook of Monarch. Showing up for a meeting with Senator Willis. Wanting permission to go with LandStat on their surveying trip to explore the previous undiscovered Island known as Skull Island. While Willis isn’t sold. Thinking they were crazy people chasing fantasies, gives them the go ahead when told the Russians may get their first. Going to a group of Soldier who are celebrating the fact the war was over and they were going home, except for Colonel Packard. Upset by how the war was ending and having nothing left to fight. Dreading the idea of going, but eagerly takes the job escorting the group to the Island. While Randa and Brooks go to pick up a tracker named, James Conrad. A former SAS, who while was hesitant, but agrees to go after having a massive pay increase and a bonus if they live and we see Anti-War Photographer Mason Weaver getting the photography part from LandStat, because she wants to know what is really going on with the trip and they all meet at the pier, with tension picking up between Packard and Mason right away. On their way, learning that they are going to be using Seismic Charges to help map out the Island, if they can get through the intense storm blocking the path. Which they do as Packard delivers a speech to keep morale up as they went and they begin to drop the bombs and motions are high with what they were finding, when a tree came flying through the windshield of one of the helicopter and Kong appeared and after an intense moment, the fighting began and Kong made quick work of them. Scattering survivors in three groups, with Conrad to collect and guide his group and Packard slowly losing his mind in his, and Chapman on his own, but their is far more things to worry about then Kong and I’ll leave it there for now.
Skull Island surprisingly had a lot going on for it, which was a surprise. Felt like they had a really good balance between the human characters and the giant monsters. Each of the characters had something to sink your teeth into and intrigued to see where each of them were going, with quite a different spectrum of different Big Monsters, or Kaiju for the fancy folks. It was fun to see their take on what animals would be there, from the big yak to the birds and spiders with bamboo legs. Made the Island feel more full and lively besides Kong and the Skullcrawlers. Like the use of the Seismic Charges being what wakes up the Skullcrawlers while at the same time, making it appear Kong is just attacking them for being there and have nothing but good things to say about the story.
Normally, I hate slow motion anymore. It’s never used properly to build suspense and in some cases, feels like it is happening because ten minutes has gone by without it, but Jordan Vogt-Roberts utilized it perfectly during the first helicopter battle with Kong. To emphasize more like time slowing to a crawl as they would at the sight of a giant ape standing there. Even the music slowly fading in and out and building in suspense. Slowing down the chaotic action to really let you see what was happening in all of the chaos. Having some fantastic shots throughout. Jordan Vogt-Roberts did a great job at cinematography and loved the work the people did on the CGI.
I thought all of the Actors and Actresses did a wonderful job throughout. Tom Hiddleston brought an air of mystery about him. Even after he bargained for the money, he kept his air of caution. Knowing how dangerous this was and everything he did was fluid. and so much fun to watch. From his action scenes to comedic timing he had with John C. Riley, who was a treat. The way he interacted. How happy he was and just emotional he was. So happy to see people other than the natives. His back and forth with Nieves and learning what he missed, and through that you cared more about Marlow. The Heartbreak he suffered at losing Gunpei. Loved the fact we ended the movie with him going home to his beer, hot dog and Cubs game. Brie was perfect as Mason. She wasn’t some insane fighter or a damsel, but a photographer who could handle herself. Utilizing her skills to make friends with the villagers and genuine good, but at the same time be fully capable of surviving in the worst situations. Samuel L. Jackson gave a rather haunting performance as Packard. You want to feel bad for him, he was a proud Colonel and solider whose life was about to change forever and he felt like a loser because of how the war ended, but he goes down the darkest path and even in his final minutes, still can’t see past Kong being the enemy. While John Goodman is of course, great. To end off this section though, big shout out to the man who did the motion capture of Kong, Toby Kebbell. Round of applause for everyone.
Now the negatives, and… I don’t really have anything other than nitpicks and it is a monster movie. I am already stretching belief going in and as long it doesn’t go to far or make the human characters unbearable than it is fine. Coming in not looking for an academy award movie, but a fun monster movies and fun characters to pick up when the monsters are not there and Jordan delivered. I am actually more excited going into Godzilla vs King Kong than I was before by a large margin. If you haven’t seen it I would strongly suggest it. Final grade – A
As always, I hope you enjoyed and….
Thank You For Reading