Based on the popularity of the most recent American made Godzilla film, the production team and studio behind the film decided to re-introduce the giant monsters of old. Godzilla was a great stepping off point and with this second film we are taken back to a land for an exploration that time forgot and King Kong.
This film isn’t going to win an Academy award for best film. Rather, its about the experience of seeing gigantic monsters on screen and watching Kong beating the living bejeesus out of them. When I was young, the monster movies that played on the weekend were always my favorites. It wasn’t real, just the imaginary creatures of my mind coming to life. Truly, this film does indeed bring to life the creatures of many a little boy or girl.
The film is set in 1973 and with a loosely explained connection to Monarch, the mysterious monster watching organization, a military and scientific exploration team sets out for Skull Island. The island is perpetually covered by an intense storm of hurricane like strength. So of course, we must get through the fog and look where we don’t belong looking.
Where this film stands out is the cast. Brie Larson and Tom Hiddleston are very good actors. Larson is an Academy award winning actress and Hiddleston brings to life the best villain of the Marvel Comic Universe, Loki. They both bring a gravity and timing to the film that allows for a connection to the drama of the script. Such a connection is very important when selling a film about a 100 foot tall monkey. Without the connection, the film would quickly become a farce and a joke.
Additionally, the ace in the hole on screen is John C. Reilly. His comic talents have been on display in dozens of movies. He plays a marooned WWII pilot who has been on the island for 28 years. He provides snarky comment, laugh out loud one liners, and a wonderful foil for the rest of the cast.
What takes away from Skull Island is Samuel L Jackson. He plays the same one note character he has been playing in his recent films. He doesn’t play another beat except a wronged army officer avenging his men. And his greatest failing is that any other actor could basically play the role the same way. Jackson does nothing to set his character apart from any other armed forces officer.
A additional plus is the design and CGI of Kong himself. The films special effect crew must have been given a massive budget. Kong looks great and the rest of the monsters and large animals just jump off the screen. A great movie to watch with a bucket of popcorn!
The movie is worth seeing on the big screen.
2.5 stars – A Hitting a Mark recommendation.