The last time King Kong was on the big screen it was in a three hour long Peter Jackson film with a few goofy characters and some glaring plot holes (Still trying to figure out how they got that giant gorilla back to New York City). The best parts of that film were easily the action sequences that saw Kong battling monsters and destroying planes. So this time around, in this rebooted origin story, they’re giving the people more of what they want.
Kong: Skull Island takes place in 1974. Two scientists (John Goodman, Corey Hawkins) looking to prove the existence of giant monsters, journey with a survivalist (Tom Hiddleston), a photographer (Brie Larson) and a few soldiers fresh from the Vietnam War (Toby Kebbell, Jason Mitchell, Shea Whigham) to an uncharted island where they come in contact with the mighty Kong. After their helicopters are quickly demolished, the military colonel (Samuel L. Jackson) vows to kill the beast while a long lost soldier stranded on the island for 30 years (John C. Reilly) seeks to warn them that Kong is actually protecting the island from creatures much more deadly.
As I mentioned before, this movie is all about the action. There are several battles between Kong and a heap of slivering monsters that are just as exhilarating as the Kong vs. T-Rex fight in Peter Jackson’s 2005 King Kong. The early sequence that sees Kong destroying helicopters is also a fun experience. So if you’re here for that then you won’t be disappointed.
Unfortunately, that’s essentially all this Kong film has to offer. The characters, from their dialogue to their personalities all seem too much like clichés to be memorable. The lone exception is John C. Reilly’s Hank Marlow, a comically noble yet relatively senile character with an endearing personality and back story the audience can actually get behind. There are other attempts at endearment, but his is the only one that doesn’t fall flat.
The film does well to keep things moving, spacing out the sluggish dialogue and weak characters with suspense and eye popping action. It goes without saying, in a movie about a giant gorilla, that some parts require you to turn your brain off and just watch. Sometimes summer popcorn movies are released in March, and Kong: Skull Island is a perfect example of a moderately fun film that’s worthy of at least one viewing.
FINAL GRADE: B
MOORE REVIEWS Grading Scale:
A = Must See/Top 10 Nominee
B = Good film. Flawed, but still very entertaining
C = Not Bad, but highly flawed/Probably better off waiting for Redbox
D = Terrible Movie with a few redeeming qualities
F = I wanted to walk out/Don’t waste time or money