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Kong: Skull Island Movie Review – Nothing Magnificent Besides Watching a Monster-Ape

Kong: Skull Island Story

Kong: Skull Island is based in 1973 when the American troops are returning from Vietnam war. Under the guise of a recon mission, John Goodman leads a mission into the unexplored and mysterious, ‘Skull Island’, with pacifist photojournalist Mason Weaver, a former SAS officer, Captain James Conrad working as a tracker and a squadron of soldiers led by Lt. Col. Preston Packard. While dropping explosives on the island, they are attacked by Kong and are separated. They face several other giant creatures along the way and meet Marlow, an American pilot stranded on the island since World War II. They eventually find out that Kong is not the real enemy. Will Kong be the real hero? Who shall survive this adventure?


Kong: Skull Island was extensively filmed in Hawaii, just like Jurassic World (2015) and King Kong (1976). Regarding the height of Kong, even all the actors were kept in a loop. John Goodman’s dress in the movie is similar to that of Robert Armstrong’s outfit in the 1933 movie, King Kong. Kong: Skull Island is the fifth movie of its kind, the earlier being, King Kong (1933), King Kong vs Godzilla (1962), King Kong Escapes (1967) and King Kong (2005). This is the second movie in the MonsterVerse after Godzilla (2014). The height and built of Kong in the movie was built upon the idea of its next installment (in the year 2020), Kong vs Godzilla.


Kong: Skull Island Review

Yes, it has been 84 years since the first Kong movie was played on screen and 12 years since the last, but most of the things remain unchanged. It makes you wonder if the production studios think of this as a big gamble to try on something new with the ape-story or if the writers really have nothing more than refitting the same old script with the same old subplots with more and more CGI effects shared with realistic action scenes and new actors.

Talk about the good stuff, Kong: Skull Island is great at a couple of places. The first shot of the magnificent monster-ape is absolutely breath-taking. The moment he emerges from the Skull Island Mountains against the sunset like a God, while dozens of helicopters are moving towards him, reminds one of a similar shot from Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. Besides that, the last action scene with the one-on-one fight between Kong and the Alpha  Skullcrawler are the best five minutes of the movie. Watching those creatures throw each other, especially a scene where Kong leaps and smashes a huge-boulder on the reptile is worth watching.

Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now borrowed heavily from Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, while keeping Vietnam War as the background to it and it seems that the writers and director of Kong: Skull Island borrowed heavily from both. The idea of white saviours, gun-wielding Americans coming from the heat of Vietnam War with a Lt. Colonel who is over-confident of winning an unwinnable war, the romance between the monster and the lady, and the characters of Conrad and Marlow drawing their inspiration from Conrad’s Heart of Darkness draw a very stereotypical picture of things already seen.

Kong: Skull Island sees the most under-utilization of good actors. Majority of the smaller actors in the movie are there for the sake of becoming food for the monsters. Of all the actors like Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L Jackson or Brie Larson who serve as stock characters, John C Reilly stands out and impresses with his acting and dialogues. In terms of failed-character building, the director messed up the air of suspense around Kong. Lack of chemistry surrounds not just the actors but even between Kong and Larson. You wish the writers could have borrowed elements from the Planet of the Apes franchise where the relationship between the humans and the apes are well-placed.


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