The following review was written by someone who has the original 1933 King Kong in his “Top 5 Favorite Movies of All Time” list. I tried to be as objective as possible but my bias shines bright. If you’re going to remake/reboot a movie be prepared for the additional criticism brought on by comparison to the original. You’re kind of saying you could do it better and it’s my job to tell you you’re wrong (most of the time).
A team of scientists and soldiers take an expedition to an uncharted island. While dropping seismic charges (bombs) on the island they are attacked by Kong. With half of the team dead, a mission of discovery becomes one of survival or revenge. Col. Preston Parker, Samuel L. Jackson (Snakes on a Plane), develops a Ahab-ian obsession with the destruction of the prehistoric primate while former SAS James Conrad, Tom Hiddleston (Thor), tries to safely navigate the treacherous terrain to take the survivors to an extraction point. Brie Larson (Scott Pilgrim vs The World), John Goodman(10 Cloverfield Lane), and John C. Reilly (Step Bothers) round out a talented cast in this action thriller from the producers of Godzilla (2014)
The Good News:
Samuel L. Jackson says “hang on to your butts.” Not sure if this was on purpose as a reference to his character in Jurassic Park but I liked it anyway. The action was exciting, there were a number moments where Bree Larson and Kong seem to connect (Kong’s affection for and protection of a beautiful woman at the risk of his own safety is one of the most essential parts of the beast’s character since his inception), CGI was pretty good and John C. Reilly made me chuckle a couple of times but that was about it.
The Bad News:
I know I said I was trying to be objective but I lied. I just can’t. I love King Kong. It’s one of the movies that made me fall in love with movies. Kong: Skull Island is no King Kong. First off, they tried to do way too much. There are far too many characters to give any enough screen time to get to like or have adequate backstory to even care about. As far as the story is concerned, it’s like they put King King, Moby Dick, Platoon, and the newest Godzilla in a blender and filmed the resulting smoothie. If I don’t care about the characters and the story is a mess, I have no reason to be on the edge of my seat, which is why I go to see these types of films.
Now, let me complain about the island’s inhabitants. King Kong is way too big, unless they’re setting up a confrontation with Godzilla (Spoiler Alert: They are). Also, is there a reason he walks upright? Just have him walk like the gorilla he is. Next, why aren’t prehistoric beasts and gigantic versions of normal animals enough? Tyrannosaurus Rex not cool anymore? Giant spider not scary without it having legs that appear identical to bamboo for camouflage and a frog like tongue to catch prey? Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.