What’s it about?
Kong Skull Island, is the re-imagined origin story of King Kong and is the second film in the monster cinematic universe being set up by Warner Bros.
The film follows a group of explorers and their military escort as they embark on a discovery mission to an uncharted island in the Pacific. The members of the group have secrets and agendas of their own for going on this trip, but are not prepared for what they find once they reach the island. Attacked within minutes of entering the island and left with no means of transportation, they must make their way across the island to a previously agreed rendezvous point if they ever hope to make it off the island alive.
How they manage to do this while encountering various exotic animals of the island, some benign, some terrifyingly dangerous, including a 100 foot ape called Kong that is worshiped on the island as King, is what the rest of the film is about.
The parts of the film where the story focuses on Kong and the other exotic creatures are the best parts of the film. The action set pieces are good, but could have been better in many places. The highlight of the film is the group’s first encounter with Kong, where he starts swatting helicopters like flies. This sequence is both visually fulfilling and gives you that adrenaline rush that one craves in an action film. The climactic fight is also a well made action set piece. The explanation given for the existence of Skull Island is mildly interesting, though it does not stay with you after exiting the theatre.
The creature design of various animals and the rendition of skull island itself is very good. The camera work and the visual fabric of the film is unique and well done.
When the film is not focused on Kong, it feels like a generic film. Nothing stays with you once you have exited the theatre. The human characters feel one note and do not add anything to the film. The film also fails to evoke a sense of awe, or of horror, or tragedy, and just feels like a perfunctory origin story installment in a much larger cinematic universe, which, going by the end credit scene, looks like it is a part of. Also, this film does not have even one emotionally engaging moment like the 2005 King Kong by Peter Jackson. The action, while good, does not have the epicness of Jackson’s film either.
The editing is average, especially in some action scenes where there are so many fast cuts that it is downright annoying. Also, the problem with the film is that the best bits of the film is given away in the trailers, which kind of robs the viewer of discovering the action scenes on the big screen. Even in terms of story, there is nothing new in the film other than what the trailer promises. All in all, an underwhelming film, much like the 2014 Godzilla, which is also a part of the monster cinematic universe that Kong : Skull Island belongs to.
There are no noteworthy performances in this film. Only John C.Reilly as the crazed World War 2 survivor and Samuel Jackson as a warmongering, bloodthirsty army major are decent in their respective parts. Tom Hiddleston, playing the main lead here does not have any personality or charm that we have come to expect from him after his turn as Loki in the Marvel movies. Brie Larson looks expressionless and bland and completely out of place here as an anti war photographer, which is surprising, as she was stunning in her Oscar winning film Room. John Goodman feels under utilized, and the rest of the cast are just there as screen fillers.
An underwhelming monster movie that is good only in parts, this one is strictly for King Kong fans.
2.5 / 5 stars