King Kong is arguably one of the most recongisable icons in film history. Kong: Skull Island is probably one of the most ambitious remakes to date. We went along to the premiere to see if it’s a chest pounding success.
Kong packs a punch
The first thing that hits you about Kong: Skull Island is that it’s an incredibly loud movie. From the very start the volume knob is stuck at 11. The movie sends one message out all too loud and clear – there will be no subtlety here. And there isn’t. In a massive departure from the 2005 outing, we get to see Kong right from the start. There’s no fannying around New York for 45 minutes. There’s no gathering interesting characters or building tension before even setting foot on a boat. What we get instead is a brief introduction to a fairly large number of cast members. You could also consider this an opportunity to try to guess who’s going to die and how.
During this period we meet Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Jon Goodman and Samuel L. Jackson. You can pretty much guess they’ll be there or there abouts by the end credits. We also meet about 20 other supporting characters (who probably won’t). To be fair, none of this really matters.
The Kong and the short of it
What follows is great fun. Big, entertaining, silly fun that just looks great. John C. Reilly introduces a much needed comedic tone at just the right time. But the real stars of the show are the monsters. Kong is hugely impressive, although we do seem to spend a lot of time looking at his butt for some reason. Other monsters feel a little bit underused but keeping this movie under two hours does feel like a win. While this film doesn’t rely on jump scares there are plenty of surprises along the way. Not a surprise is that Samuel L. Jackson steals the show. His screen presence, along with that of Goodman, threaten to overpower that of the monsters at times. It also leaves Hiddleston looking somewhat like a pale imitation of an action hero.
Is Kong: Skull Island any good?
As for the story, explorers and soldiers go to a previously undiscovered island. They blow stuff up, awaken the beasts, mostly die and the leave us asking ourselves who the real monsters are. The second movie in the Warner Bros/Legendary Pictures Monsterverse, Kong is a solid and enjoyable instalment. It’s at least two years before the third instalment is due. That’ll be Godzilla: King of the Monsters due in March 2019 at this stage. Kong: Skull Island does plenty to whet the appetite for more.
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