Since the 1930’s, King Kong has captivated audiences. Whether it was the stop motion of the original, or the motion captured wonder in Peter Jackson’s version, it’s almost certain you’ve heard of the ape. I’m happy to say that this version of Kong stands on its own, it’s held back a bit by some ridiculous comedic elements and the pesky humans, but we’re all here for one thing; the giant freaking monsters. This film absolutely delivers on that front. It’s like they heard everyone when they said it took so long for Godzilla to actually make an appearance in the 2014 film. By the half hour mark, we are introduced to the title monster and all hell breaks loose.
The film takes place in 1973. The U.S. has decided to pull out from the Vietnam war. Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) and his army crew are now called upon to accompany representatives of Monarch (Yes, it’s the same Monarch from Godzilla), Bill Randa (John Goodman) and Houston Brooks (Corey Hawkins). James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) is hired to be their tracker on the island and Mason Weaver (Brie Larson) is hired to take photographs. Honestly, this doesn’t matter. The cast is fantastic but they’re only there to be food for the giant creatures. Later on, the crew ends up finding a lost tribe of people that resides on the island, they worship Kong as their God. This is where we are introduced to Hank Marlow (John C.Reilly) and things get ridiculous (yeah I get a giant ape is ridiculous, but this guy takes the cake). Hank has lived on the island with the tribe for the past 28 years, he’s missed a lot of things that have happened in the world. One of the soldiers even refers to him as a time traveling dude. The group tells Hank that they put a man on the moon and Hank asks what they send him to eat. It’s some funny stuff and the movie doesn’t take itself too seriously, but when people are getting ripped apart and attacked there has to be some kind of stakes for me to be invested in the characters. The comedy just felt out of place. I guess I should be used to this type of thing but it still drives me nuts. I really couldn’t care less who died. I was worried more about Kong and how he was going to make it out of the situation, if the humans made it out alive had little impact on me. Throughout the film they keep referring to mans tempering with nature and how they shouldn’t have meddled with it. It’s the typical run of the mill stuff for the genre. It will be interesting to see how they approach the next Godzilla movie (stay after the credits to get hyped,) because we are getting a Godzilla vs King Kong film and the tone of this and the 2014 Godzilla couldn’t be any different. Will Godzilla become this comedy monster movie? Only time will tell my friends.
It feels a bit strange talking about this movie when it’s only March. It definitely has that summer blockbuster feel to it. When it comes to monster carnage though you won’t be disappointed. If you came for an involving story and great human drama you’ll be let down, but I don’t think those are any reasons you came to see this film in the first place. Kong: Skull Island definitely delivers on the monster mayhem and it won’t let you down in that department. I’m excited to see where this all ties into the Godzilla universe and I’m looking forward to all the crazy monster mayhem to come. 4/5 – NVJ