Writer: Naseem Randhawa
Overall: 4.0 Out of 5
Cast: 4.0 Out of 5
Plot: 4.0 Out of 5
Effects: 4.0 Out of 5
Cinematography: 4.0 Out of 5
Watch this if you liked: "Godzilla", "Pacific Rim", "King Kong"
Kong is truly king. The king of monster movies that is!
Set in the hippie 70s, "Kong: Skull Island" is like a breath of fresh air especially when our screens have been beleaguered with contemporary style colossal monster and robot mayhem with no interesting backdrop to give them the added boost.
The story successfully sets its feel-good theme from the starting credits itself, laying out the events, year by year, as they lead to the end of the Vietnam War. This is when we meet Bill Randa (John Goodman) who is headstrong in getting his expedition to the Pacific Ocean's "Skull Island" funded by the government. Bringing up the whole 'We don't want the Russians to find it first' is a clever ruse utilising the historical Cold War elements that further adds on some credibility to carrying out the dangerous expedition, rather than just the usual 'mad man wanting to go and search for monsters' storyline.
As Randa and his junior, Houston Brooks (Corey Hawkins) head to Vietnam, he recruits Captain James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) a former British Special Air Service man, who like all tortured heroes, is found drinking alone in a dingy bar in a third world country. Anti-war photojournalist Mason Weaver (Brie Larson) and army man Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson), and his squadron, join the expedition shortly after, as they make it to the island and discover what creatures reside there.
Yes, and by creatures there is not only Kong to be afraid of here, as there are also other monstrous creatures that have been forgotten by time on the island. And "Kong: Skull Island" is very generous with its monsters. There are humans versus monster action and also monster versus monster action, so there is definitely tons of adrenaline pumping moments to go around, rightfully so too, considering that there giant reptilian monsters called Skullcrawlers, carnivorous pterodactyls, a colossal water buffalo and a giant octopus that all take up ample screen time.
Since this isn't really what we'll call a character driven dramatised film, most of the actors including, Goodman, Hiddleston and Larson play their parts as expected - which is just reacting to the monsters rather than acting - fairly well. John C. Reily though, steals the show as a World War II pilot who has been living on the island for 28 years, providing the clever comic relief moments that are inserted at rightful intervals as to balance the film from being weighed down by seriousness. Speaking of serious, Samuel L. Jackson plays one of his more somber characters here, and essentially, the film really is a battle between Kong and him, as Jackson's character develops an Ahab-like complex of wanting to destroy Kong after most of his troops are killed.
There aren't many notable flaws in this film, but we could have used with lesser characters, especially the scientists and army men that really served no purpose other than to be 'monster chow'. Chinese actress Jing Tian is probably one of the most useless Hollywood Asian imports in history, serving no purpose whatsoever, except to deliver a tiny tin full of cringe-y cliched one-liners, it is painfully obvious that the only reason she is in this movie is to attract the Chinese box office.
Unlike most monster movies, we get to see Kong within the first few minutes and luckily enough this film doesn't shy away from showing the entire ape in full force rather than offering glimpses or fleeting moments to tease like Peter Jackson's 2005 version. Filmmaker Jordan Vogt-Roberts in his first big budget film has done well. With an awesome 70s soundtrack ranging from Black Sabbath to Creedence Clearwater Revival, to showcasing the lush and exotic Vietnamese scenery, this visual pleasure is best enjoyed on the biggest screen you can find, and is definitely best in 3D! Kong-firm!
Stay on for an end credits scene!
Cinema Online, 09 March 2017