HOLLYWOOD—He’s back! Yep, Kong the ruler of all rulers is returning to the big screen, yet again, this time marking the eighth time the primate has jumped to the big screen for audiences. Unlike the 2005 version, courtesy of Peter Jackson, this latest outing is not 3 hours long, thankfully.
“Kong: Skull Island” brings back a level of nostalgia that has been known for this franchise, for many of us who weren’t fully introduced to the infamous creature back in the 1930s and during an era when the B-movie was a glorious outing, the 2005 version is the only thing many of us have to go off of. So let me reiterate, this Kong is not about love, not at all.
At the forefront of the chaos is government agent Bill Randa (John Goodman) who is desperate to lead an expedition into an uncharted region of the world known as ‘Skull Island.’ With the help of geologist Houston Brooks (Corey Hawkins), the duo assembles a team that consists of James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston), United States Army Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) and photojournalist Mason Weaver (Brie Larson). Yes, the team is unlike any other assembled if you ask me. All the characters that appear in this film are unique and definitely not one note; that is something worth highlighting
The one problem I did find continuing to echo in my mind while watching this movie was that I felt shades of Jackson’s 2005 flick “King Kong” present in this movie. The idea of an expedition to an uncharted island, a civilization living in secrecy and treacherous creatures and animals unheard of are just some of those things. The one element that makes this flick so entertaining is it throws out the concept of Kong falling in love with a beautiful woman. While it’s expected that Mason would be that damsel in distress that is not the case, Larson brings a fierce intensity and firepower to this character that makes her fun to watch.
However, the chemistry that one would expect between Mason and James falls flat; no kiss or lovemaking for that matter ever takes place even though it’s teased on multiple occasions to the audience. With all the explosions and firepower, the film does have comic relief courtesy of a transcendent performance by John C. Reilly as Hank Marlow, who has been trapped on the island for close to 30 years. In addition, Jason Mitchell provides plenty of witty one-liners as Glenn Mills.
The one thing that works for this flick is the writers don’t delay the introduction of Kong, as its predecessor. The audience gets up close and personal with the beast during the opening sequence. From there, it becomes a battle of egos between Colonel Packard and Kong. Hmm, a man with some firepower or a massive ape, who do you think will be victorious? I think the ape, but Jackson gives us what we’ve come to expect from his character type time and time again; an angry man who wants someone to pay, regardless of who gets injured or killed along the way.
“Kong: Skull Island” is indeed an immersive picture that draws the audience into this amazing world, full of visual and special effects that are so realistic it’s scary. I mean the movie if raises that eyebrow that there are indeed uncharted places on this Earth, and there might be a reason for it: we don’t belong. This movie does what a great B-movie should do; entertains, leaves you on the edge of your seat and enjoying the popcorn from the opening credits to the end.