Kong: Skull Island

Kong - Skull IslandDirector: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Run Time: 1h 58m
Stars: 4.0

Strap in for a wild ride through a treacherous jungle ruled by a giant ape. Kong: Skull Island is a helluva fun monster movie!

In the early 1970s a small group of scientists beg for funding to scout an uncharted island cloaked in legend and mystery, Skull Island. Leader Bill Randa (John Goodman) gets the all clear and forms his team: Geologist Houston Brooks (Corey Hawkins), military helicopter escort led by Col. Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson), photographic journalist Mason Weaver (Brie Larson), and skilled tracker James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston). Before the team has a chance to settle in they meet the King of Skull Island. Kong. Many die and the survivors are scattered across the dangerous unknown. In order to make it to their rendezvous point in just three days’ time, they will have to carefully navigate across Kong’s island without meeting an untimely end. Problem is, Kong isn’t their only threat.

Whoever decided to put Samuel L. Jackson, John C. Reilly, and King Kong in the same movie is a genius. Jackson is responsible for all things loud and angry. Reilly is flawless as the unsettling comic relief. And Skull Island‘s Kong is perhaps my favorite portrayal of the iconic monster.

As a whole, the cast was incredible. I think the guys who played the helicopter squadron were the best. Their interactions with each other, then with fellow fallen comrade Reilly, really made for some great scenes. It’s no surprise that Hollywood heavyweights like Hiddleston and Larson did an amazing job, but I was equally impressed with the supporting cast. I think their performances made all the difference in making sure Skull Island was a success all around.

The special effects were top-notch. Kong is a product of motion-capture, much like those found in the new Planet of the Apes franchise. He fits seamlessly into his surroundings and it adds to the realism of an otherwise unrealistic story. While we all know these monsters aren’t a possibility, Skull Island brought them to life and made them feel tangible. There’s nothing worse than a monster flick where the monsters look like cartoons.

It would be a sin not to draw attention to the soundtrack of this movie. You wouldn’t expect a film of this nature to pay particular attention the music it chose, but alas you will be pleasantly surprised. Keeping in mind that this film takes place in the 70’s, we are blessed with a pretty awesome playlist. Because who doesn’t love CCR?!

Now, I could talk plot holes and weapons ex machina for days. But the truth is I was having way too much watching Skull Island to care. I’m really not sure how this movie managed to be equal parts cheesy and badass but it totally succeeded. If you haven’t already, add this one to your list of must-see movies of the year.

One last thing: The rumors are true. This film — especially a nerdgasmic after-the-credits scene — set up the ultimate battle between King Kong and Godzilla. (!!!) 

I saw the first MonsterVerse installment,  Godzillain the theater and loved it. While I think Skull Island is a better movie, I would still rate Godzilla as a 4-star film. Even if there are plenty of those who will not agree.

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