Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts offers a King Kong like you’ve never seen him before in Kong: Skull Island. He also effectively turns the previous versions of the King Kong story on their heads, and kick starts a whole new beginning to a monster franchise that’s headed towards a Kong vs. Godzilla showdown.
Skull Island is set in 1973, and boasts an amazing cast: Oscar-winner Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, John Goodman, and John C. Reilly ... clearly, this film had ample budget, and it shows in the stunning production design.
Though filmed on location in Hawaii, Australia and Vietnam, the beautiful landscape of Skull Island is believably cohesive, and convincingly prehistoric and full of danger. Also, the monsters within are refreshingly unique, an impressive feat considering how similar CGI creations can look these days.
In this version, explorers determined to prove the existence of monsters venture onto Skull Island with a military escort, an anti-war photographer, and a former British SAS captain and expert tracker. None of them had any clue what they were getting themselves into when they embarked upon their quest.
Almost immediately, the group is separated: one led by tracker James Conrad (Hiddleston) who plans to get everyone off the island, and one led by Preston Packard (Jackson) who’s determined to avenge the men he lost by killing Kong. Abrupt editing makes the two missions feel like fractured narratives rather than parallel storylines. And it isn’t until its final act that the movie comes together cohesively and viewers get swept along for a heart-thumping escape from Skull Island
However, that flaw is fully forgiven because Kong: Skull Island is just so. Much. Fun. It’s adventurous, thrilling, scary, funny and moves at a pace the keeps you engaged.
Go for Kong, stay for the after-credits scene, but don’t bother paying extra for 3D.
Kong: Skull Island hits cinemas on Thursday, March 9.