‘Kong: Skull Island’ will bring the monster madness back to the big screen (review)

“This planet doesn’t belong to us…”

In this generation, we are in an age where Hollywood is on a reboot/remake trend. Just in the coming weeks, alone, we have a reboot of the ’90s live action superhero television series, Power Rangers, one of Disney’s timeless classic animated films adapted into live action, Beauty and the Beast, and an incredible anime film that for some reason is being rebooted into a live action adaptation. Ghost in the Shell. And that’s just this month; there’s also a few other films being rebooted or remade throughout the year that someone must’ve sent out a mass memo, telling all the studios to push reboots and remakes as much as possible.

Personally, I’m not opposed to reboots or remakes. If a film has enough of a fan base to create the buzz for an adaptation, I can see the positives in creating a proper reboot or remake that caters to the shining attributes of said property. If a film, however, is improperly adapted, and shown little regard to the fans in terms of how to handle certain aspects of the property, then…there’s a problem. Although King Kong is a longstanding property, this is NOT one of those types of films; Kong: Skull Island is the film that fans of the franchise have been waiting for!

A secret government organization mounts an expedition to Skull Island, an uncharted territory in the Pacific. Led by an explorer (John Goodman) and a lieutenant colonel (Samuel L. Jackson), the group recruit a disillusioned soldier (Tom Hiddleston) and a photojournalist (Brie Larson) to investigate the island’s peculiar seismic activity. But once there, they discover that Skull Island is home to a gigantic ape called King Kong, and find themselves caught up in an ongoing war between the beast and the area’s indigenous predators.

Kong: Skull Island is the epitome of what an homage film should be, and not just for the obvious franchise either. Skull Island is a true love letter to the age old tale, Moby Dick, and all the films it had inspired. The idea of the mad Captain Ahab-like character going after his “White Whale,” aimlessly putting his crew and all those that care about him into harms way, has been a staple trope in cinema, from such iconic films like 1979’s Alien, 1982’s The Thing, 1989’s The Abyss, and even 1993’s Jurassic Park. How many people would love to go after a huge ape that’s larger than most skyscrapers, led by Samuel L. Jackson? Well, not many, honestly.

This film, however, puts you in the passenger’s seat of this action thrill-ride, giving you an experience that goes beyond solely sight, but sound, as well. Skull Island holds little gems that are scattered throughout that pull you back to that place when you first saw films like the aforementioned, and it’s so worth it! For example, as the men get to the island (which the scene of them actually flying to the island is awesome in itself), Samuel L. Jackson grabs the intercom, and readies his men by saying, “Hold on to your butts.” Now if you don’t know where that quote is from, then I feel sorry for your childhood.

I do have to say, one of the weakpoints of the film is its storyline. Not where it’s going, but how it’s getting there. The idea that being lost in the middle of a uncharted island, and the whole plot point of the crew happening to stumble upon John C. Reilly and the tribe he stays with, makes the overall story a bit hard to swallow. Luckily, this isn’t a film that people go to see for the story, but rather the incredible CGI and monster fights! And believe me, this movie is a regular monster Wrestlemania. Just watching King Kong battle against giant lizards, a giant octopus, and so many other things, gets your heart pumping, with your butt barely hanging in the seat!

I actually enjoyed Loki- I mean Tom Hiddleston, in the film, and his chemistry with Brie Larson. Both characters created a very likable and relatable ambiance on screen, without having to dilute the film with some kind of wishy washy romance routine. They created two dynamic characters that desired only one thing: to work together to get off the island. It wasn’t about her having goo-goo eyes at him, or him watching her while she wasn’t looking; nope, it was all about the ape. I respect that, especially in giving Larson’s character a more authoritative role as an independent woman who has seen the world and its ugliness. And likewise, Hiddleston, although his introduction could’ve been better played out (hitting a cue ball with a cue stick like he’s playing baseball? C’mon), I could appreciate his on screen appearance as not your typical tracker: super buff, with a rifle on each shoulder, and a compass in both eyes. He was a small framed yet capable man who could definitely hold his own.

Overall, the film is so fun! How many times are you going to see a fresh iteration of King Kong? The movie takes you down memory lane with every song played or line delivered, giving fans that nostalgic feeling of being young and at the theaters for the first time. Kong: Skull Island is the movie that will have people talking, and not just about what is in the movie, but what may come about AFTER the movie. Which means, stay after the credits for some additional goodies you might want to see!

Rating: 3.5/5 Atoms

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