Kong: Skull Island is a visual masterpiece. Now, I'm sure this has been said before with other flicks, but when I think back to the stop motion King Kong movies that were made before my arrival to earth and how far technology has advanced, this movie is a marvel to behold. It was 2003 (14 years ago) that Hulk raised the bar on placing a CG character into scenes with live actors (Recognizing Jurassic Park as the OG of the bunch). Fast forward a few years and movies like Transformers and Avatar simply changed the game and challenged viewers to spot the difference between flesh and blood and ones and zeros. Kong is without a doubt something beyond any of my previous examples.
As of now, Kong is the King.
The story unfolds as Bill Randa (John Goodman) and Houston Brooks (Corey Hawkins) are making a pitch to round up some troops, still itching for action, to visit a remote island to conduct research. The round up of merry men and a few women include a photographer Mason Weaver (Brie Larson), a tracker/super survivalist James (Tom Hiddleston), and of course every one's favorite profanity professional Samuel L. Jackson (Preston Packard). Notice any oddities in the casting?
Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts knew exactly what we all wanted to see. A big ass Gorilla cutting up in the jungle and boy did that happen. From the outset, Kong is a force to be reckoned with. His eyes, his strength, his pure rage was on full display and before viewers realize it, they are connected to this abnormality in a way that is a bit unexpected. The CG places him perfectly in his environment and makes it difficult to discern real from fake thus making the movie going experience more immersive.
If setting the movie just after Vietnam wasn't a jab at the fragility of life, setting the story on Skull Island definitely set the record straight. If you think everything in Texas is big, check out your boy Kong and let me know how you really feel. Not a single human was a match for the environment and filled every moment with peril; just when you relax something new deadly is introduced that makes you say, they should have phoned it in.
With the exception of a bit of predictability thanks to foreshadowing and a few obvious, that's going to be a problem moments, the story and pacing are solid. Kong isn't just a big ol' meanie. He actually has a legit gripe and some common sense and it all actually makes sense. So if there is an underlying them to this movie it is, use some common sense people. Especially when the writing is clearly on the wall.
The action pieces were epic! Michael Bay [Transformers] could learn a thing or two about framing CG action so viewers can appreciate the character models. When Kong started to rumble in the jungle, there was absolutely no way Alonzo [Training Day] had shit on him.
Skull Island was a place of beauty and death all rolled in to one and it set the tone for the visuals as Kong was a visual marvel and packed quite the punch. This movie is a must see. Also, hang around for the post credit scenes, you won't be disappointed.
- This is the King Kong we were meant to see.
- Technology is simply amazing.
- This movie would make for an awesome survival video game. I'm thinking open-world island with the ability to switch between Kong and human characters. It could work. You read it here first.
Disclaimer: Steve is an employee of Turner Broadcasting, a division of Time Warner, however the views expressed in this post are of my own.