Film Review – Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Title – Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Director – Jordan Vogt-Roberts (The Kings of Summer)

Cast – Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, John C. Reilly, Toby Kebbell, Corey Hawkins, John Ortiz, Shea Whigham

Plot – It’s the early 1970’s and a group of scientists, explorers and soldiers that includes James Conrad (Hiddleston), Mason Weaver (Larson) and Preston Packard (Jackson) head off to a mysterious island in the Pacific to discover its wonders only to find that the island is inhabited by a collection of not so friendly creatures including ape behemoth Kong.

“You don’t go into someone’s house and start dropping bombs unless you’re picking a fight”

Review by Eddie on 10/03/2017

It’s hard to know just what the appetite is for more giant ape action but whether we like it or not it seems as though the plans are well and truely to keep the king of the movie monsters Kong alive and ticking now and into the future and while Kong: Skull Island feels like a letdown considering the talent involved, this visually stunning island adventure does enough to warrent its current incarnation.

Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts whose only other feature film was the odd yet sporadically brilliant Kings of Summer has taken a big leap from independent indie to huge studio blockbuster and while his an inspired choice to helm the new take on the familiar hairy beast, it does feel as though his constantly struggling to juggle his loaded cast alongside the spectacle and storytelling component’s of his monster filled event.

Filled with a collection of character’s we really couldn’t care less for, perhaps bar John C. Reilly’s World War 2 fighter pilot Hank Marlow whose likeable but also slightly off-putting, almost like he belongs to another version of this film, Skull Island fails to impress with it’s character treatment and quickly established story setup and while we’re not exactly expecting anything ground breaking, you just have to look at a similar film like Jurassic Park to quickly realise it’s possible to make a monster film with likeable human beings.

The well publicised A-list cast struggle to make their presence felt with Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Toby Kebbel (who also did the mo-cap work Kong) and John Goodman all barely registering whilst the hamming it up Samuel L. Jackson as the patriotic solider Packard quickly becomes an annoyance when we’d rather be enjoying the film’s smorgasbord of visual delights.

While some scenes suffer from too much digital tinkering, the action scenes and monster orienated carnage in Skull Island is worth the price of admission.

As Kong, the protector of the mysterious island that our crew of humans want to get their greasy mits into, gets his groove on, Roberts and his production crew ramp up proceedings and give us some absolutely fantastic set-pieces.

From a helicopter swatting highlight reel through to Kong himself who looks brilliantly realised, the tech wizardry on display here deserves credit while the production design of the island and its sets does a lot of work to offset the rather daft story line, dumb dialouge and plot contrivances while the decision to place this film in the early 1970’s works perfectly and gives the film a completely different vibe to what would’ve been the case had we been thrust into a modern day expedition.

With Kong the star of the show (in fact we could’ve done with a lot more screen time from the hairy hero) and standout visuals, Kong: Skull Island is a worthwhile big screen experience that’s anchored down by some pesky humans and a medicore script.

When judged alongside it’s fabled fur covered cousins in the form of the black and white original and Peter Jackson’s underrated adventure, Skull Island pales in comparison but for an often eye-popping visual treat you could certainly do a lot worse than this new take on the long living legend.

3 propeller’s out of 5

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15 responses to “Film Review – Kong: Skull Island (2017)

  1. Skull Island was fantastic. Godzilla was a snooze fest bogged down by human drama that distracted the lead. Kong was a fun ride that served it’s purpose -to make monsters great again!

  2. Nice, this is one of those films where the story obviously does not matter, as long as the visuals and action is cool. Great to know that is the case. I always compare it with food: sometimes a Big Mac is all we need instead of going to a fancy restaurant 😊

  3. A fair summation in your excellent review. I had a lot of fun taking my brain out and watching the fireworks and monsters in this film. As you say the film is uneven and characters paper-thin but the attractive cast including Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson, plus the hilarious John C. Reilly made it worth the admission.

  4. Good review. Its was visually a good movie and definitely changed some things up in the Kong mythos, but was still just a okay film (too weak on characters and the story).

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