Kong: Skull Island Review

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Kong: Skull Island is another remake of King Kong, but it is definitely more exciting than the last King Kong film, which was released in 2005.  The new Kong has an Apocalypse Now, Predator, Moby Dick/Captain Ahab vibe to it, which lays the foundation for a potentially awesome giant monster flick.  What made Kong: Skull Island even more interesting, is the fact it is set in the same universe as the recent American Godzilla movie although decades earlier, which means an eventual dust up between Kong and Godzilla will likely be happening in the near future.

The story centers around two government agents representing an organization called Monarch that needs funding to set up an expedition to a recently discovered island in 1973.  It is their belief that this island may be home to giant monsters, which they believe in, but they don’t have the physical evidence to prove it.  One of the agents gets his belief based on an experience he had on a naval vessel that was attacked by a large reptilian creature in the 1950s.  If you saw the recent American Godzilla movie, it alludes to the fact that the U.S. Navy in the late 40s and 50s was trying to track down and kill Godzilla using atomic bombs.  They covered up their atomic attacks on Godzilla by claiming they were atomic bomb tests. After initial resistance, an expedition is authorized by the government.  A U.S. Army attack helicopter unit, scientists, a tracker and photographer board a ship and head to the island. Once on the island, it is not long before the human invaders meet King Kong and all the other deadly creatures on the island. Soon an expedition of discovery becomes a mad dash to escape and keep from getting killed or eaten.

The premise of this film is great, and the fact that Godzilla lives in this universe is a dream come true.  Kong: Skull Island is a mix of old Toho Godzilla films, King Kong vs. Godzilla and Monster Island, and done with great special effects and cool human characters. Despite all the good pieces that make up this film, the tone of the film was off.  The creators of the movie weren’t sure if they wanted it to be serious or funny, and it didn’t mix well. Since the tone was off and some parts were kind of funny, I was caught off guard by some of the graphic ends some of the soldiers and scientist faced. It was nowhere near Logan level carnage, but more in line with the latest Jurassic park movie violence, so think about that if you are taking little ones. I did jump a few times I will admit.  Another issue I had was there seemed to be more helicopters  that were flying to the island than were on the actual ship.  An oversight on the movie makers part, or did I miss something? Either way, Kong: Skull Island is a good adventure style movie with awesome visuals, monster on monster action and monster and human combat, but it still rang emotionally hollow for me.

Grade: C+


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