Since 1933, King Kong has been one of the most recognizable monsters in movie history. With Skull Island, he has headlined four different films, but the 1976 and 2005 versions were somewhat underwhelming. The newest version skips the iconic New York set pieces and stays entirely on the island where Kong lives. Will this add new life to the franchise, or will it be another lackluster entry?
It’s 1973, and Monarch scientist Bill Randa (Goodman) has discovered that there is an island that has never been charted because many ships and planes have gone missing in the area. He hires a mercenary (Hiddleston), a photographer (Larson), an army Lieutenant (Jackson), and some of his soldiers to go to the island and map it out. The welcome mat isn’t exactly laid out for them because as soon as they arrive they are attacked by a gigantic gorilla who lays waste to almost the entire crew; the survivors having to regroup and make it to safety. Along the way they meet up with a WWII pilot (Reilly) who crashed on the island 28 years earlier. It doesn’t take them long to realize that Kong is the least of their concern, as something much worse lurks in the wild.
So, I’ll start by saying this movie is an absolute blast. If I had to choose between watching a good film or a fun film, I would pick the fun one every single time. Luckily, this is both. There are so many cool scenes that I honestly couldn’t pick a favorite (though a certain scene with a gas mask and a sword is pretty much near the top). The effects are top notch, the soundtrack is full of some of the best 70’s tunes, the action scenes are exhilarating, and to top it all off, the movie is extremely funny. As for the acting, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. Hiddleston is fine, but brings nothing new – any actor could have played his role. Jackson plays the traditional Jackson character like only Jackson can. Larson, fresh off an Oscar win, is just so damn gorgeous she actually takes the focus off her co-stars. Goodman really doesn’t have anything to do, and is kind of wasted in his role. Reilly steals the show, and provides much of the comic relief.
Needless to say, I adored this film. Is there anything that could be improved? I’m sure there is, but I had so much fun watching it that any minor quibbles are irrelevant. This is one movie I will be seeing in theaters again, and that is something I haven’t said in a long time.
FINAL REVIEW: A+