It’s been 12 years since Peter Jackson’s King Kong film. I liked it, but it was overlong and followed the classic Kong storyline. This is a different Kong story. No damsel in distress, no Empire State Building, no Jack Black. And I like this one too. Possibly more?
Set after the end of the Vietnam war, the film follows a group of military men, scientists, Brie Larson and Tom Hiddleston as they head to the invitingly named ‘Skull Island’ to explore this uncharted land. However, what they find doesn’t really want to be charted. Right off the bat they are attacked by the king himself. Kong looks magnificent as he wrecks shop, taking out all the helicopters. The motion capture and special effects used to bring Kong to life are incredible. He looks better than ever. Dare I say, real. And so begins their journey to get to the other end of the island and escape.
The cast is large and all are decent. John Goodman, Samuel L. Jackson, Larson and Hiddleston are the main stars. John C. Reilly also gets quite a bit to do as a crashed WWII pilot who has been living on the island for years. Everyone is good at what they’re doing, but some get more to do than others. Jackson revels in being the angry army guy who wants to kill Kong. There’s no end to his angry glares and shouting. Hiddleston and Larson don’t fare as well though and often just stand around staring at other people or things. Kong is the real star and luckily he has lots of personality.
But let’s face it. We as the audience want to see Kong. And we want to see Kong fight other monsters. And there are lots of other monsters. A giant spider, a thing that looks like a log, a giant octopus, pterodactyl type things and of course, skull crawlers. Again, all the monsters look great and offer a variety of different action set pieces. The action is good on the whole. Exciting stuff with some quite disturbing and gory deaths for the age rating this film is.
The trouble with the film is is that it just isn’t incredible. It looks good, it’s fun, it’s got some laughs and some thrills. It just isn’t the best film ever. It’s better than the 2005 version, and it’s better than 2014’s Godzilla. Seeing the two finally come together in 2020 is going to be very exciting indeed. Kong: Skull Island is worth a watch. It’s a good popcorn movie but don’t go in expecting something revolutionary.
JACK’S SCORE: 3/5