Monster movies, especially remakes, are very rarely done well. I didn’t expect a lot from Kong: Skull Island, just another remake of a character that’s been around for decades, never anything particularly special. While I wouldn’t go so far as to call this a ‘special’ movie, it is a solid piece of cinematic work. Kong is a thoroughly enjoyable and well-made monster blockbuster, and a very entertaining movie overall. Director Jordan Vogt Roberts does an amazing job of showcasing all the characters, along with integrating the theme of war throughout the plot of the movie.
The scene: it’s 1977 and the Vietnam War is coming to an end. Bill Randa, played by the wonderful John Goodman, a secret ops conspiracy theorist, convinces a senator to allow him to put together an expedition out to the remote Skull Island to try and find something that he believes lives there. Under the guise of a mapping crew, several scientists, an army escort, a lone former black ops agent and a photographer to document this journey set out for what could potentially be the discovery of a lifetime.
After their helicopters are attacked by Kong and they’re left stranded on the island, the group are separated, and must find their way to the north side of the island as fast as possible. One of the groups, including Conrad, the former black ops agent who now takes any job as long as the pay is good, played by Tom Hiddleston and Mason, the photographer whose aim is capture the photo of her life, (the classy Brie Larson) come across the local island tribe, where they met by Hank Marlow (the inimitable John C. Reilly), a man who has been marooned there since 1944, the end of WWII. Queue Hank joining their escapade to try and find his own way back home.
Samuel L. Jackson plays Preston Packard, a Colonel who doesn’t know how to deal with life after the war. After Kong attacks them and kills several of his men, Packard becomes obsessed with destroying Kong, and slowly starts to become more and more unhinged as the movie progresses. Jackson plays crazy amazingly well, and is definitely one of the highlights.
However, John C. Reilly is the one who steals the show. His classic one liners, and ability to constantly keep the humour going throughout the movie make this piece a step above what it would have been if he wasn’t in it. Honestly, I love John C. Reilly. He’s just such a wonderful actor, and if he hadn’t been in it I wouldn’t have enjoyed it half as much.
Kong: Skull Island is not a life changing movie. There are no major surprises, but it is highly entertaining, extremely well made, and the acting is just phenomenal from an incredible cast. It has some amazing shots (the slow-mo helicopter one being one of my favourites) and a really great soundtrack, along with a solid storyline. It is what it is: a very enjoyable (with a slight B movie feel)
By Emma Morris