I thought I was done with this blog. I haven’t posted in 9 months, and I’ve lost focus of the original goal. But every so often something comes out that I HAVE to write about. Last time it was DC: Rebirth. This time, I’m surprised to say, it is Kong: Skull Island.
Yet, here I am. I loved this movie. I thought that it was a fresh enough take on the character to revitalize the franchise, while neither ignoring the origin, nor being bogged down within its structure. Casting was great. Setting was great. Most of all, I just had a lot of fun watching it.
So why am I surprised?
There are a few reasons.
First, of the past few movies that I’ve seen (Lego Batman, Logan, and Kong) I was looking forward to Kong the least. In fact it was barely on my radar. I love the original King Kong, I even liked Peter Jackson’s remake in 2005, but after the disappointment that was 2014’s Godzilla I had low expectations. The Logan trailer was phenomenal, and I knew Lego Batman was just going to be pure fun.
Casting didn’t help either. Normally, any movie with John Goodman in it is awesome. 10 Cloverfield Lane, Argo, that black and white silent film that won the Oscar a few years ago. However, we also have his antithesis in Sam Jackson, a man who won’t say no to a role. As far as franchises are, his presence seems to be a bit of an omen. He has played himself in movies such as The Spirit, the new Tarzan flick, Robocop, and lets not forget – the Star Wars prequel trilogy. His role as Nick Fury is still bad, but makes sense, as the Ultimate version of Nick Fury is designed after him. As far as I’m concerned his best role is as Frozone. John Goodman and Sam Jackson together just confuses me.
But the truth is Lego Batman disappointed me and while Logan may have been a better movie, Kong: Skull Island was the movie that I got the most enjoyment out of.
And here’s why:
Kong was Kong. This film didn’t set out to change who Kong was. He was still portrayed as the monstrous beast who could take on an army, but who can stand in front of a woman and no peace. He is protector to the islands inhabitants, and death for anyone who comes looking for trouble.
The Skullcrawlers are an awesome replacement for the dinosaurs of previous films that work as a connection to other Kaiju and provide an excellent adversary for Kong. They look terrifying, they act terrifying, and we’ve seen King Kong fight T-rex enough already.
The cast was great. I enjoyed seeing Hiddleston as a hero. Sam Jackson, as much as I hate him, did a good job of making me hate his character. This was the first film I’ve seen with Brie Larson, and it makes me excited for her as Captain Marvel. Of course, John C. Reilly was hilarious, but I also feel he did an excellent job of humanizing Kong. His role, more than anyone else, was the best, and he was the best actor for it. I was actually the most let down by John Goodman. I actually thought his character was kind of lame.
I didn’t know what to think when I found out that the film was taking place in the 70’s, but I actually felt that the Vietnam War was a great backdrop to this film. Sam Jackson’s Army vet looking for purpose made absolute sense, as did John C Reilly’s WWII survivor as an outsider among the next gen of soldier, as did Brie Larson’s anti war photographer. I feel like it added a facet to the film that wasn’t necessary, but added so much.
The film was also visually stunning. The shots of Kong against the sun were magnificent. I just want to watch that opening scene again. Equally great was when Kong emerged from the fog in front of Brie Larson and Tom Hiddleston’s characters (whos names I forget). Kong also had some great action sequences, such as when he fought and ate that octopus. The creature designs such as the Skullcrawlers and the mossed over buffalo were awesome! And the best part? Kong looked more like the 1933 version that the straight up Gorilla from the 2005 version.
This was a film that took the fibre of its being from the original film, but didn’t loose itself in being a remake or in setting up the franchise that will follow. It changed up elements, such as the Skullcrawlers, where it felt was necessary, added to the history, but took nothing away from Kong or the island, and in the end Kong was still the same tragic being that he has always been.
I had a lot of fun watching this, and I can’t wait to see what comes next (though I don’t know if it will be as good).