I’ve never seen a King Kong film, this was my first taste of the franchise, and I must say I’m fond of him. I mean I know about the original – King Kong goes to Big City and ends up climbing a building and swatting aircraft with one hand while holding Fay Wray in the other (that might not be right, like I said I haven’t seen it) but now I’m tempted to go back and watch it. Kong: Skull Island is really a lot of fun.
A team of scientists explore an uncharted island in the Pacific, venturing into the domain of the mighty Kong, and must fight to escape a primal Eden.
King Kong: Skull Island looked so good, like it was shot by someone who has spent their life in love with the Technicolor movies of the 1930s when the original King Kong was made. I loved the amount of detail put into the world of Skull Island, so much detail that put us right into the early 1970s: the costumes, the technology, the discussion of recent wars (WWI, Vietnam and Cold). The island itself was a fantastic location as well; it captured the primeval wilderness, where everything’s trying to kill you, perfectly. A giant gorilla, or giant bugs or giant anything, was not out of place there. Skull Island exactly captures the reason I do not go camping.
I love movies about giant things – done right, it fills me with awe. This was one of the better ones, on par with Jurassic World and Independence Day II (which was not a great film but did wonderful things with scale). The action scenes were some of the best I’ve seen. Most of them involved Kong taking apart something or other (or a bunch of something or others) but every time he does it’s just spectacular.
Kong: Skull Island is an example of what happens when you have a great cast. They did not skimp on the acting talent John Goodman is always great, John C. Reilly was hilarious and Tom Hiddleston was very handsome (and also fantastic at acting). I even liked Samuel L. Jackson, mostly because actually played someone other than his usual, which was a treat. And I think I’m in love with Thomas Mann; I found myself rooting for him throughout the film. Toby Kebbell also, both as a beefy soldier and as Kong himself.
Script-wise, Kong: Skull Island did not pass the Bechdel Test. Oh it came close, there were a couple of women characters (one of which even had a name, albeit a man’s name), but they never spoke to one another and didn’t have much bearing on the plot. Kong was well paced and the dialogue was good. I wasn’t that taken with the ‘villain’ of the piece. I’m not sure what I was hoping for, certainly Kong fighting other giant things fit perfectly with the spirit of the film, but the antagonist wasn’t as visually awesome as Kong was himself.So is Kong: Skull Island worth watching? Yes. It’s well done on every level and is a great way to spend a couple hours. Don’t bring the kids, it’s PG-13 for a reason, there’s an impressive amount of violence and blood. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t dial back a few things to get that rating. I didn’t spend time thinking about Kong after the movie ended but I’d certainly see it again.