A monstrous wild saga, Kong Skull Island, reboots the tale of the giant (the seventh official remake of the classic) into an earth-shattering visual display of the guardian of Skull Island. Visually, this is the biggest version of Kong we have seen- standing four times bigger than the original- which is demonstrated by the sheer awe of the gargantuan figure we are subjected to before the opening credits roll.
Jordan Vogt-Roberts, the director, surprises with flamboyant destruction that could be seen as outrageous at times but easily blends in with the gigantic tone of the character, Kong. Vogt-Roberts' brilliant use of special effects in the film are mind blowing and combined with an enchanting setting and exhilarating action it seemingly holds the film together. His vision portrays a new Kong, one that is true to the mammoth capacity needed to eventually, as the post credit scene suggests, come head to head with Godzilla in Godzilla vs Kong- reportedly set for 2020 release.
Kong Skull Island Synopsis
Kong: Skull Island is set in an Apocalypse Now familiar 1973. A U.S government agent Bill Randa (John Goodman) hires James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston), a former British Air Service Captain and also a formidable tracker to help guide a team on an expedition to map out a mysterious island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. Randa also seeks the help of a military group, the Sky Devils, led by Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson).
A photojournalist and avid peace activist, Mason Weaver (Brie Larson), joins the group believing the intentions of the expedition is not what it seems. Once the group arrive at the mysterious Skull Island; Packard and his men systematically begin dropping bombs to map the island, during which they are brutally attacked by Kong and are separated into two groups. Packard then holds Randa at gunpoint, after comprehending the cause of the carnage, and forces Randa to reveal the true purpose of the mission- the truth being that he is involved in a secret organisation, Monarch.
Meanwhile, the other group, led by Conrad and Weaver, head north to a rendezvous point where they meet an American fighter pilot who was shot down over the island in 1944, Hank Marlow (John C. Riley). Marlow tells them that Kong is worshipped as a god by the natives because he guards the island from monsters that come from underground, ‘Skullcrawlers’. Marlow reveals to the group that Kong only attacked them to prevent them from awakening the biggest Skullcrawler- The Alpha. Packard’s group are ambushed by Skullcrawlers, and other mighty creatures, killing many soldiers including Randa and Packard’s right-hand man. Packard blames Kong for the deaths of his men and plans to destroy the beast using napalm. Conrad and Weaver encounter Kong and set out to save him before Packard can carry out his plan, during which the explosions awaken The Alpha- causing an epic titanic battle with Kong.
Thoughts on Kong
Kong’s colossal chest-beating presence dominates the film, dwarfing the A-list human elements whose character’s lack not only depth but impact. The star billing for the film warrants a review as award-winning Tom Hiddleston and Academy Award Winner Brie Larson’s characters could easily have been disregarded without any disruption to the plot.
However, big impressions were left on parallel platforms from John C. Riley bringing a quaint levity to the high action destruction through his portrayal of the marooned World War II pilot, Marlow, and then Samuel L. Jackson brings the powerful intensity of Packard the unforgiving and vengeful army Colonel that carries energy through the film when Kong is not present.
Despite the strength of acting calibre in this film they seem to struggle to project a sense of belonging and merely settle for survival, acting like ants running from a boot with a front row seat to epic carnage as they are devoured and skewered like kebabs.
Kong’s eccentric use of high action sequences and visual brilliance is the core of the film and the most notable talking points as the audience leaves after the credits are done. The towering spectacle of the giant ape himself, Kong, is the star and hero of the film ultimately walking over his fallen foes into the sunset whom undoubtedly saves this ill-fated adventure and beautifully sets up a lot of potential moving forward with Godzilla.
Zatu Rating - 3 Stars