Kong: Skull Island beats it’s chest to a box office success.
May 8, 2017
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*There are no major plot spoilers in these reviews, but some things from the first third or so of the movies are explained out of necessity*
Kong: Skull Island
Release Date: March 10
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 77%
Starring: Tom Hiddleston as James Conrad, Samuel L. Jackson as Preston Packard, and Brie Larson as Mason Weaver
There have been plenty of takes on the “Kong” story over the years, but this movie was a much different take on the film franchise.
Bill Randa (John Goodman) convinces a senator to provide funding for an operation to one of the last undiscovered places on Earth, Skull Island. The movie takes place at the end of the Vietnam War, and a group of soldiers led by Col. Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) are told to provide a military escort for the expedition on their way back to America. Almost the entire unit ends up immediately being monster fodder, either by Kong or by other monsters on the island.
The movie introduces Kong early on, which was smart, because it’s not like you have to draw out the reveal when there were plenty of shots of him in the trailers. The military drops bombs on the Island to provide seismic data to the scientists. This wakes up Kong, who ends up taking out most of the ships, except the few with characters important to the plot.
This starts Packard’s role as an antagonist, but one with motives. Kong took out almost all of ships and men, which gives Packard pretty solid motive to try and get revenge on Kong.The plot goes a lot deeper into how Kong is actually protecting the island from intruders, but on a base level, Packard isn’t in the wrong.
James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) is the main protagonist, and he does a good job as it. He’s a hired tracker, and his skills help lead the team to the extraction point after their planes crash, but Brie Larson (Mason Weaver) playing the pacifist photographer didn’t do it for me. She had a couple of moments interacting with Kong, but those scenes were more to build sympathy for Kong than anything. Other than that she was a pretty useless character, who basically played Conrad’s sidekick, except she never really did anything other than argue with Colonel Packard.
John C. Reilly (Hank Marlow) stole the show for me. Reilly is a World War II veteran, who crashed on the Island during a dogfight with a Japanese pilot.. Reilly not only helped move the plot along with his knowledge of the island, but he also provided a few funny moments to break the ice after intense fight scenes.
Overall the movie exceeded my expectations. I had expected another cheesy action movie. The overall theme of “the Earth doesn’t belong to us” has been tried and tried again, and the story was predictable, but it didn’t seem to drag. The CGI in this movie was incredible, and the fight scenes between Kong and the various monsters were beautifully done. Kong’s main antagonists: The Skull Crawlers (who looked like flying alien dinosaurs) especially looked great in the fight scenes. This movie deserves the praise it’s getting.
The Score: 79/100