Kong: Skull Island Review

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Fantastic Beasts and where to find them?

No one expects Shakespeare when they go see a Kong movie. Well, mostly not. They expect a terrifying iteration of the giant simian wreaking havoc and destruction in its wake.  People want to see Kong take on either humans or some other giant creature that matches Kong in its bad assery. Oh, and one other thing, people want Kong to get screen time! Kong: Skull Island is a nice compromise of all these desires certainly.

Unlike past King Kong films, this one doesn’t take place in a major metropolitan area.  Rather the film is focused on Kong’s home, an uncharted south Pacific island with the nickname of Skull Island for its foreboding shape of a skull.  First, however we need a reason to be on this island and we are given that when a corporate guy named Bill Randa played by John Goodman and his assistant Houston Brooks played by Corey Hawkins convince a Senator to fund their company’s expedition to research what is on this mysterious Skull Island before the Russians beat them to it.  We have our obligatory recruiting montage where expert tracker, James Conrad played by Tom Hiddleston is recruited along with army Sergeant Presont Peckard and his military unit for their guidance and for safety.  Once the details are finalized, we are finally on our way to Skull Island to see what wonders this island beholds.  Surrounded by a constant front of storm clouds this island is not easy to get to, but eventually our crew breaks through.  They are amazed by the vast beauty of this island. Immediately, this team gets to work on researching this island when they are confronted by our titular character, Mr. Kong himself. He is not happy to say the least.  A vicious attack by Kong leaves our crew stranded on this island and in a race against time to get off the island before they perish by way of the mysteries of Skull Island.

For a movie that features plenty of gigantic creatures, the CGI was commendable.  Usually that stuff can be an eyesore if it’s not done correctly, but is blended in very well in this movie.  Kong looks incredible.  He is huge (probably the biggest Kong we’ve seen on film although there are no buildings to judge his size accurately) and he is intimidating.  The supporting cast of creatures on this island are also very cool looking.  This is the type of stuff you want to see in these types of movies and I enjoyed every moment these beasts were on screen.  The acting is ok.  Samuel L. Jackson is his typical self and John Goodman is vanilla bland but not bad. Tom Hiddleston was interesting although we don’t get much back story from him. Brie Larson, as the crew’s photographer, bought some needed humanity to the group. John C. Reilly as a stranded army vet was also a humorous addition without being too over the top and undermining the seriousness of the group’s objective.  The rest of our group is basically food for the monsters of the island and that’s just fine.  In regards to how the film is shot, the cinematography is amazing…. the scale of the island and these creatures is a nice visual to set your sights on.

Kong doesn’t get a whole lot of screen time but unlike the recent Godzilla film, he gets enough in my opinion. I was satisfied with his role and presence in the film.   Although the film does get caught up in the humans a little too much, that’s acceptable since we need the film to be grounded in some sort of story.  Watching Kong walking around the jungle doing his thing would be fun but would get monotonous after a while.  Kong: Skull Island is a very fun movie filled with nice action.  It’s basically a violent, nature set version of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.  If you like films that feature Kaijus then you’ll definitely have a good time watching this one.

Grade: B-

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