The producers of “Godzilla” reimagine the origins of one the most powerful monster myths of all in “Kong: Skull Island,” from Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Pictures and Tencent Pictures.
A compelling, original adventure from director Jordan Vogt-Roberts (“The Kings of Summer”), the film tells the story of a diverse team of scientists, soldiers and adventurers uniting to explore a mythical, uncharted island in the Pacific, as dangerous as it is beautiful. Cut off from everything they know, the team ventures into the domain of the mighty Kong, igniting the ultimate battle between man and nature. As their mission of discovery becomes one of survival, they must fight to escape a primal Eden in which humanity does not belong.
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I was a massive fan of both the original King Kong and the Peter Jackson remake, so when Kong: Skull Island was slated for release I was somewhat sceptical as to whether this reboot would come close to the previous offerings. The saving grace was that this Kong would fit into the newly established Godzilla timeline culminating in Godzilla vs Kong. I was also a great fan of what Gareth Edwards achieved with his Godzilla reboot, so was I right to be scpectical. Yes, yes I was. Before watching, the viewer needs to erase all memory of the preceding movies. The plot is very flimsy. The Vietnam war is winding down, Monarch is cash strapped and needs to find a big ticket item to start its cash flow again. Monarch finds an action strapped air-cav unit on wind down and gets them along for the ride to the mysterious Skull Island on the proviso they're riding shotgun to map the island with some boffins. Everything predictably goes wrong when they get to the island. There's lost of rock music and Huey gunships flying in slow motion into sunsets, very Vietnam War, you're supposed to be pumped up and salivating. Not really, it all happens so fast that you don't care. Unlike Godzilla which built suspense and was frugal with its action and monster smash down, Kong unveils its titular character from the off. Yes, Kong is big, strong and impeccably rendered in glorious cgi, however by showing him off so early he loses his majesty. The previous Kong movies made the audience wait and built up Kong's fearsome reputation, when you saw him it was an event and well worth waiting for. This time, on show early, zero suspense. Shame. Kong isn't alone on the island, oh no, there are reptilian creatures called Skull Crawlers who also inhabit the island and have battled Kong for supremacy for some time apparently. They too are a brilliant design and look great on screen, shame they too aren't explained well and are just there for smackdown. Again, shame. There are some spectacular action sequences, notably when Kong faces off against some helicopter gunships, but we've seen the rest before in Pacific Rim, Godzilla and the older (better) Kong offerings. Even the cast seem like they're going through the motions which is a waste of talents such as Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, John Goodman, Samuel L Jackson and the brilliant John C Reilly (who is the only character with any background). What you're left with is a monster movie that meets Apocalypse Now. It's watchable but is a movie based on listening to people saying that they want more monsters more of the time. Only the post credit sequence made me excited, as it hints at things yet to come. Let's hope for bigger and better from this franchiser.
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