Going into Kong: Skull Island I was very apprehensive knowing that the producers behind the most recent Godzilla film, probably one of the most bland films you could possibly make about a giant lizard that can shoot fire from its mouth fighting a giant winged moth creature, were behind the helm of Kong. However, within minutes it was clear to see that they had learnt from their mistakes made with the Godzilla franchise and managed to create a thoroughly enjoyable film with so many great aspects.
The film begins by swiftly introducing all the characters involved and the era in which the film is set in a very stylish manner, with smooth scene transitions and great dialogue all laid on top of a brilliant soundtrack. This introduction is done in such a way where it manages to give you all you need to know about the characters and the world in as little time as possible whilst keeping it interesting and entertaining, which is very important for a film such as this, because nobody wants to be left waiting around for hours to see Kong in the same way we were left waiting for Godzilla in 2014, only to see his left foot or something for a minute and then have to wait another half an hour to see him again.
The stylish cinematography and good pacing of the film continue, as within minutes of getting to Skull Island the band of characters come face to face with Kong in an epic battle, showcasing the outstanding visual effects this film has to offer along with the spectacles it has to offer as the story plays out. After this, we are able to spend more time with the characters as they explore Skull Island and we get to learn more about their personas and the relationships they have with one another. What we learn is that the main characters themselves are quite cliché; with Tom Hiddleston basically playing Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson playing a standard Samuel L. Jackson role and Brie Larson and John Goodman playing standard characters we have seen before. However, the performances they put in are still brilliant and in fact I feel it is the supporting actors, such as Shea Whigham, Thomas Mann & Jason Mitchell, who really steal the show with their comedic roles adding a light hearted backdrop to the darker tones of the film.
The comedic aspect in the film ramps up further when we are introduced to John C. Reilly’s character Hank Marlow, a guy who’s been stranded on Skull Island for decades but is hilariously down to earth about it. This extra light hearted comedy, along with the further exploration into Skull Island and its wilderness really made this film reminiscent of Jurassic Park, a similar story of a group of people trying to escape wilderness and avoid the threat of giant monsters whilst also having a bit of a laugh with it.
As the film progresses further the action also ramps up, with numerous altercations with the Skull Island wilderness on many different levels, from big set pieces to smaller, yet still very effective, action sequences. Whilst the visual effects and the choreography of these set pieces are superbly done and are thoroughly entertaining, they do suffer from being overly cheesy at times, most notably the stand off between Kong and Samuel L. Jackson which just seemed really excessively cheesy and kind of dumb, but everything else is epic, especially the final stand off between Kong and the Skull Crawler, was cool as f***.
The film also has a very important deep message hiding under all the entertainment value, and that is that human nature shouldn’t be to seek out and destroy anything that they don’t fully understand and therefore see as a threat, which is summed up in this quote from the film “Sometimes the enemy doesn’t exist until you go looking for one.” A message which is shown throughout the film, through many varying perspectives as the different characters struggle with this predicament.
Overall, this is a thoroughly entertaining film which is just a great bit of fun, some great comedy between the characters, beautiful visuals, epic action sequences and an easy going plot line, however I feel like this film is getting some unwarranted bad rep because of being part of the King Kong franchise, but this is definitely more entertaining than the predecessor films within the same franchise whilst also still having an evoking storyline.
An epic, yet stupid, Gubb.