Entertainment: Film Review

By Chris Conde
March 21, 2017

Kong: Skull Island

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for brief strong language.

Budget: $185,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $61,015,000 (USA) (10 March 2017)

Gross: $110,125,294 (USA) (17 March 2017)

Nearly a hundred years ago, Fay Wray and King Kong captured the hearts and minds of movie-goers with an unconventional look at the Beauty and the Beast story. “King Kong” is a timeless cinema classic. Getting a revamp every decade or so, the cast only gets better with age. “Kong: Skull Island” is no different as it brings some of Hollywood biggest names together for yet another monster movie.

Samuel L. Jackson leads his team of Vietnam War hardened pilots into the unknown, their helicopter squadron is known for being a bold division that fears no enemy be it Viet Cong or an unnatural hurricane in the middle of the pacific. John Goodman ("Roseanne", "Oh Brother Where Art Thou") plays Bill Randa, a government scientist that has studied the South Pacific since his times as a seaman in WWII. Randa heads the government operation: Monarch, along with an intern that thinks his boss is a cuckoo as a bird in a wooden box. Randa leads the team of helicopters to Skull Island after a 1970’s satellite program reveals a previously undiscovered island.

Tagging along in this uncharted adventure, Tom Hiddleston (“Thor”, “The Night Manager”) plays no-it-all tracker James Conrad and Brie Larson (“21 Jump Street”, “Captain Marvel” 2019) plays anti-war photographer Mason Weaver. The crew of adventurers and soldiers meet King Kong the hard way and must soon take cover from the raging beast. Samuel L. Jackson, in fine form, takes no guff from the giant ape and plans to meet the beast blow for blow.

The second act of “Kong” follows the paths of a scattered team mixed with soldiers and civilians. The soldiers spend their time finding action in the jungle and telling jokes over the monsters they encounter. Jason Mitchell (“Straight Outta Compton”) and Shea Whigham (“The Wolf of Wall Street", "Silver Linings Playbook”) are a hilarious duo not to be ignored in the longer scenes of Kong. The team of civilians encounter the natives of the island and meet the real hero of the film Hank Marlow. Played by John C. Reilly, Hank Marlow is a WWII pilot shot down in 1944. Marlow has befriended the indigenous people of Skull Island and has survived 29 on the island with their help. Marlow represents his generation like no other actor could, proving both courageous as well as comical.

“Kong: Skull Island” takes its cues on monsters from a long list of inspirational materials from Pokemon to 1950’S classic “THEM” and though the monsters are well executed, the familiarity comes off as “been done” and not “inspired by”. One of the most interesting creatures is a 30-foot water buffalo inspired by a Japanese forest god, unlike the other creatures on the island, this guy just wants to take a nap.

Overall “Kong” is a great film, living up to its predecessors of decades passed. This is the first feature film from director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts and its was no small feat to reimagine this story once again. Be sure to stay after the credits to see a glimpse at a possible sequel, if the studio decides that monsters are the next thing in Hollywood.

“Kong: Skull Island” gets 3 out of 4 stars