Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Produced By: Thomas Tull, Mary Parent, Jon Jashni and Alex Garcia
Executive Producers: Eric McLeod and Edward Cheng
Screenplay: Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein and Derek Connolly
Story By: John Gatins
Visual Effects Supervisor: Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White
Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, John Goodman, John C. Reily, Tian Jing, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, John Ortiz, Thomas Mann, Shea Whigham, Tody Kebbell, Eugene Cordero, Terry Notary.
A prequel to the story of King Kong (who first appeared on film in 1933) Kong: Skull Island is about the origins of Kong; hinting at a past battle on an island hidden from the world by a never-ending storm.
Set in the ‘70s just as the Vietnam War is ending, scientist Bill Randa (John Goodman) takes a team to Skull Island to explore the possibility of MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms). Enlisting a military escort headed by Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson), this group of humans have no idea about the bizarre creatures they’re about to meet… or get eaten by…
The production team who created the 2014 film Godzilla have reunited here and some of the creatures on Skull Island reminded me of the Godzilla film, particularly those scary skull lizard creatures AKA Skull Crawlers. But there’s a better story here. Skull Island is more than the creatures and special effects although it was sometimes a close thing with the dialogue falling flat at times.
There’s a touch of fun with the 70s soundtrack and humour in the script but some of the jokes didn’t quite come off. The times when the film took itself too seriously were worse. Where the sincerity was just too much to swallow, losing that suspension and ruining the fantasy. But really, this was rare in the film which is a minor miracle when dealing with a MonsterVerse.
Samuel L. Jackson with those grouchy looks plays the villain well. And Tom Hiddleston as James Conrad, the hero, was believable as the British solider turned mercenary tracker – there’s a fantastic cast here. The highlight for me was John C. Reilly as the stranded WWII solider Hank Marlow. Now this guy was funny. And a great way to get the audience on side.
The Visual Effects team have given Kong some magic that make it seem there’s thought and emotion behind those eyes. And to really give the film that authentic flavour, director Jordan Vogt-Roberts (Kong being his second feature film) and the team film those beautiful tropical landscapes at real locations around the world: Oahu, Hawaii, the Gold Coast in Australia and Ha Long Bay (amongst others) in Vietnam.
There was some good action here and some tense moments with a conflict set up between those for Kong and those against. The script gives a bit of meat (ha, ha) to the story and there’s some good blood and guts with a setting that lives and breathes as an undiscovered world to frame Kong’s origins.
Great film to see on the big screen.
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