A classic monster movie that does what it says on the tin. Plenty of action and fun, along with a stellar cast ensure that Kong: Skull island is an entertaining ride.
Unlike Peter Jackson’s take on King Kong, Kong: Skull Island wants to make the most of their titular beast, and so have him burst on screen in chest-beating action very quickly into the story. After a brief set-up of the lead character’s mission (let’s explore this undiscovered island before the Russians), they soon find themselves stranded on Skull Island; and they’re not alone.
King Kong himself provides their first major monster encounter, but it soon becomes clear that the island is inhabited by creatures far worse than the majestic ape. From this point the film very clearly becomes a creature feature. King Kong does battle with gigantic lizards and the characters run around trying to escape mutant creepy crawlies and countless things that want to kill and eat them.
What the film does surprisingly well, is develop character on a basic level so that you have a sense who people are before they’re inevitably eaten. The main duo consisting of Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson as mercenary and photographer respectively, are surprisingly not always the film’s main focus. The film utilises its ensemble cast, splitting them across different locations on the island so they have fairly equal screen time.
The star turns have to be Samuel L. Jackson, playing… Samuel L. Jackson who’s had it with these mother bleeping apes on this mother bleeping island, and John C. Riley as a war veteran who’s been stranded on the island since the 40’s and is losing a grip on his sanity. Nothing’s taken too seriously though, it’s not that kind of film.
The film alludes to the Vietnam War, being set in the 70’s and there’s a definite sense of political undertones akin to something like Predator. However the 70’s setting seems more of a stylistic choice, allowing for types of characters you wouldn’t see today, and more importantly a rocking soundtrack.
The film doesn’t try and be anything more than what it promises – a monster-action flick. You couldn’t call it an excellent piece of cinema, but it’s definitely a huge amount of fun.