Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, John C. Reilly, John Goodman Synopsis: A team of explorers and soldiers travel to an uncharted island in the Pacific, unaware that they are crossing into the domain of monsters, including the mythic Kong. (Source: IMDb) Rating: PG-13 Post-credit stinger? Yes.
Kong: Skull Island would make an interesting case study on making a good movie the wrong way. Much to the chagrin of this reviewer’s monster movie-loving heart, this film has a lot of problems. Like, a lot. Despite this sad reality, however, Kong: Skull Island still manages to dish out enough of what it promises (namely ungodly havoc at the unnaturally large paws of the largest primate ever put to film) for a good time at the theater.
Whether you enjoyed Gareth Edwards’ 2014 Godzilla reboot or not, many people from both camps criticized the film for its severe lack of the scaly antihero. Judging from the marketing for ‘Kong,’ one could easily be lead to believe that Legendary and Warner Bros. were aiming to right that wrong. The truth is, while Kong does see more screen time than his prehistoric pal, it isn’t by much. To be fair, Kong’s excellently choreographed throw-downs are the best parts of the film. They’re exhilarating. They’re just too sporadically spaced out between the dull human melodrama.
The hollow script (co-written by Nightcrawler‘s Dan Gilroy, I’ll have you know) does not allow its stranded characters (I use this term loosely) to develop past their ninety-second introductions and none of them have legitimate arcs. This becomes all the more disappointing after seeing how well this superstar cast does with so little to go off. Alas, we are left to imagine what they could have accomplished with richer material.
On that note, it would be a miss if I did not mention John C. Reilly, who plays an Air Force vet who has been living on the island for almost three decades after crash landing there during WWII. Despite this nightmarish scenario, he perfectly embodies the film’s tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. While most jokes fall flat throughout, Reilly, much like his humongous humanoid co-star, is a constant source of unabashed enjoyment.
Even in the face of its mounting imperfections, the unabashed enjoyment ultimately rises to the top. Whether you’re jumping out of your seat from the intensity of the monster mayhem, busting a gut at one of Reilly’s self-referential jokes, or bobbing your head to any of the kick-ass 70s rock selections, Kong: Skull Island succeeds in being what it is: a fun monster romp.
Are you going to see Kong: Skull Island? Let me know in the comments below!
Kong: Skull Island roars into theaters Friday, March 10th.