Why is it such a crime to name it King Kong? I get that Kong: Skull Island sounds cooler, but why avoid the name? The closest they got in the film was saying “Kong is king.” Well, okay then.
What a fun movie, though. This was my kind of monster film. Kong: Skull Island follows people on an expedition to the mysterious Skull Island at the end of the Vietnam conflict (is it still conflict or war? that was never cleared up in middle school history class). At the start of the expedition, a big gorilla kills some of the people and things go south. For the rest of the film, the survivors fight monsters and learn about the gorilla.
That’s a pretty silly premise, and what I liked about the tone was that the film does not take itself so seriously. There were classic monster movie tropes as well as some subversions, but it didn’t try being thought-provoking or deep, because the original already did that. The characters that were completely straight were balanced with characters who were a bit goofy, like some of the soldiers and John C. Reilly. He especially was fun. His character has been stranded on the island for almost thirty years, so it makes sense that he is a crazy person.
None of the characters are deep. They are all pretty basic, but each had enough of a personality to stand out as different from the rest. This applies to minor characters, too. Sam Jackson is a war hero who really wishes the U.S. stayed to win Vietnam. John Goodman is a scientist out to prove he’s not crazy. Corey Hawkins is an eager young scientist. Brie Larson is a photographer with a curious mind. There’s a young soldier with a love for rock music, there’s one who has obviously been affected by the war, and one who has to put up with him, but in the end, the two are best buds. Tom Hiddleston is handsome – I mean, an expert tracker.
THE VISUALS! I just really love the look of the film. I’m into adventure stories in this time period because of the look of the vehicles, the weapons, and the clothes. I think it’s a good time period for an adventure film because of the aesthetic and the lack of technology. More importantly, the cinematography was fun on its own, and the color pallet was excellent (I hate that color pallet is such an issue, but it is with a lot of movies). The colors were bright when they needed to be, the grass was green and lush, the sun helped with visuals, and the color changed in different areas of the island.
Now let’s talk about something annoying. This film presented itself in a way that says “We don’t need any sequels or tie-ins, but if there was a Kong sequel, it would be just as fun,” kind of like John Wick. However, this film only exists to “establish” King Kong for when he crosses over with Godzilla and Mothra and whoever else. I like this film quite a bit, and I loved the flair and the style, and I’m not positive that those will continue in future installments, especially based on what I’ve seen from Godzilla.
Overall, I would say this movie is one to see in theaters, but based on how excited you are for it, let that influence when you see it. I went to a matinee, paid $4, and had a ball. If you’re super excited, go to an evening screening and pay the $12.50. Kong: Skull Island gets 7/10 from me. Even with the most ridiculous parts of it, I had an APE time (it’s like “great,” but I used “ape”).