I am going to come clean. While I adore superhero movies, I am not generally a sucker for monster films. I don’t think I’ve seen the whole 2004 version of Kong, let alone the ancient one from back in the day. Godzilla looks like an obese T-Rex to me and they can stick the aliens and predators where the sun doesn’t shine. But the latter mostly because I am a wuss.
Despite all of this, I was still eager to see the latest instalment in the Kong reboot: Skull Island. It certainly helped that the trailer looked great. I went into it with an open mind and was ready to be surprised.
It is 1973, and a government agent known as Bill Randa (John Goodman) gets permission to explore the recently discovered Skull Island. He hires James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston), a tracker, to lead the expedition. He also recruits a Vietnam war veteran helicopter squadron to escort them to the elusive island. The group is later joined by photographer Mason Weaver (Brie Larson).
Naturally they do what humans do best; disturb an island that was doing perfectly fine without human intervention. It’s the cue for Kong to appear and mess with their plans. While everyone agrees they should get the hell off this island, Colonel Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) wants to kill Kong for killing his men. Hey, it’s Samuel, ok. There are only few movies in which he doesn’t want to murder something. Anyway, turns out that Kong is least of their problems. The survival on Skull Island begins..
If you are looking for a profound film, look elsewhere. While the filmmakers showed that nature is much bigger than us and we should take care of it instead of destroy it, the plot is nothing new. Which is not a big problem here because the movie is never boring. There is an excellent mix between humor and action, mostly provided by the supporting cast. It is one of those flicks which doesn’t require much thinking.
The two main characters do have zero chemistry, so the whole plot is basically on Samuel L. Jackson’s shoulders. His character’s bloodlust and hunger to kill Kong move the plot forward. John C. Reilly as the hilarious stranded war veteran also steal the show. I kind of feel like Brie Larson was just in it because they needed a girl to touch Kong’s weak spot. Tom Hiddleston is just there because they needed a hero. Both were great in their roles, but there were zero sparks between them.
The best part of Kong is not its story, but the amazing visuals. Every single beast, from Kong to his lizard-like enemies look very real. This especially comes across great if you watch this movie in IMAX. The whole island felt alive. The colors were vibrant, the camerawork great. It felt like I was on the island with them. It is exactly what makes Skull Island a movie that you have to see.
While Skull Island is not a cinematic masterpiece, it doesn’t have to be. It is entertaining enough as it is and the visuals make up for the lacking plot. It has humor and action, and for a blockbuster movie like this, it is all it needs. It’s not a movie made to make you think. It is here to entertain you and that it certainly does.