Tony's Take

KONG: SKULL ISLAND review

All Hail the King

“Kong: Skull Island” brings us back to the infamous home of the great Kong, the aforementioned Skull Island.  As the film opens, the Vietnam War is coming to an end.  A small organization is pleading for a chance to look at this uncharted island in the South Pacific before everyone heads-home for good.  After saying the right words, this small group, known as Monarch, puts-together a team of geologists, soldiers, and specialists to venture into the unknown.  Upon entering the island, which is surrounded by a constant storm front, they are greeted by a 100-foot tall gorilla; so angry that is tears the helicopters from the sky, leaving the crew either dead or scattered from one another.  As they attempt to regroup, the outsiders soon realize that this island is full of wondrous and dangerous inhabitants; each one more dangerous than the next.  After a chance encounter, the crew quickly learns the history of the island from the indigenous population and realizes that Kong is not the enemy, merely the protector of the land.  With only hours remaining in their window to reach the evacuation point, the group must successfully navigate and survive the harshness of Skull Island or risk being left behind.  Forever.

Tom Hiddleston stars as a former British SAS Captain who is brought along to help navigate the island as a tracker/hunter, James Conrad.  Samuel L. Jackson plays US Army Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard, the leader of the squadron assigned to this mission who was looking for an excuse to not go back home.  John Goodman plays William “Bill” Randa, a senior member of the Monarch organization who put-together the expedition to Skull Island.  Brie Larson plays a war photojournalist who joins the crew to document whatever they aren’t exposing in the mission briefing.  Jing Tian plays San Lin, a young biologist working for Randa.  Corey Hawkins plays Houston Brooks, a young geologist also working for Randa.  Toby Kebbell plays US Army Major Jack Chapman.  John Ortiz plays a Senior Landsat executive along for the mission, Victor Nieves.  Jason Mitchell plays a helicopter pilot named Glenn Mills.  Shea Whigham plays another pilot named Earl Cole.  Thomas Mann plays Reg Slivko, the Army soldier that is always carrying the record player around.  John C. Reilly plays Hank Marlow, a World War II Lieutenant who has spent 28 years marooned on Skull Island.  Marc Even Jackson, Richard Jenkins, and MIYAVI have brief roles as well.

“Kong: Skull Island” has a strong cast, impressive visual effects, and is an absolute enthralling and entertaining adventure!  The film is led by its diverse and wide-ranging cast.  From its Army Corps to the Monarch crew, each of the characters has a story to tell; with each of the actor’s getting their own moment to shine (wait for the well-timed “Jurassic Park” easter egg!).  While “Kong: Skull Island” does a great job introducing the characters, it unfortunately falls a bit flat in-making the audience endear themselves to each one.  So many of them die throughout the film and this causes the viewer to feel indifferent.  In a film reliant on visual effects, “Kong: Skull Island” does not disappoint!  The film is full of beautiful visuals and action sequences, plenty of realistic-looking monsters, and, of-course, Kong!  I loved the “feel” of the film, the gritty, Vietnam-era search and rescue/destroy tone fit not only the story, but it’s’ location very well.  Also helping shape the film was its boasting score from Henry Jackman and the number of 70’s era songs from artists like: Creedence Clearwater Revival, Jefferson Airplane, Black Sabbath, and The Hollies to name a few!  While already mentioning its impressive cast, one actor must be singled-out for his performance.  John C. Reilly plays a quirky, long-marooned WWII pilot who hasn’t spoken in years.  Reilly nails his reaction to societal changes and the comedic one-liners and offerings of the character, which are perfectly added to help both entertain and move the story forward.  After 2014’s “Godzilla”, it became apparent that the old monster movies were back, and now we celebrate the return of King Kong!  And with the inclusion of Monarch linking the two films (and the fact that we already know Godzilla vs Kong is being released in 2020) there is so much more to be excited for!  “Kong: Skull Island” has a run time of exactly 2 hours, which fly-by due to its story, characters, and action sequences.  “Kong: Skull Island marks the end of a 12-year cinematic absence for Kong, but you better believe that KONG IS BACK!  And remember, STAY UNTIL AFTER THE CREDITS!

“Kong: Skull Island” marks the return to Kong’s home on Skull Island as Monarch are desperate to learn more about these natural phenomena.  The film features impressive visuals, a fun and action-packed story, and a number of memorable characters.  If you are heading to the movies this weekend, go see “Kong: Skull Island”!!

 4/5

KONG: SKULL ISLAND is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for brief strong language, in theaters MARCH 10TH!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *