KONG: SKULL ISLAND Review
This is another glowingly positive review of KONG: SKULL ISLAND, which will reinforce the prevailing opinion that it is very good and you should not hesitate to see it.
KONG: SKULL ISLAND is visually stunning. Every shot on Skull Island is a work of art. The allusions to APOCALYPSE NOW imagery are inescapable.
APOCALYPSE NOW was loosely based on the 1899 novella Heart of Darkness. An unavoidable assumption is the starring characters’ names (Tom Hiddleston’s James Conrad and John C. Reilly’s Marlow) are derived respectively from Joseph Conrad, author of Heart of Darkness, and the novella’s narrator Marlow.
On the surface, the story is pretty simple. We see an opening sequence on an island late in World War II, then we jump to the end of the Vietnam War to set up the premise of an expedition to that island. There are visual and spoken references to things in the past that portend things that will take place in the future (in a movie most of us have already seen). A lot of details and other little things flash past like nuclear weapons tests, Monarch crates and mention of M.U.T.O.s.
As the premise is being established, John Goodman’s Monarch man holds the center. Then as the mission to Skull Island forms, the protagonist role is handed to Samuel L. Jackson. Once the action gets to Skull Island, events spin out of everyone’s control, leaving Tom Hiddleston’s Conrad to help the team survive. Eventually we are introduced to the contemporary John C. Reilly’s Marlow character to whom we look to for guidance.
Up to this point, I was distracted by some wacky lapses in logic (“No one in real life would ever do anything like that…”) and other science stuff, but after we meet Kong, the Fairy Tale aspect soon predominates and my disbelief was suspended. Actually, the stated model is one of Aesop’s fables (characters discuss versions of the same tale). This fable is played out until it reaches a point that replaces the “Beauty and the Beast” motif, Kong does not crave a blonde maiden this time around.
The story moves along briskly and the script is crisp. The casting is inspired with so many great performances in smaller parts. The actors all put in especially good performances, especially Shea Whigham, who dominates every scene he is in. I like Tom Hiddleston, but he seems overshadowed by the rest of the strong cast. Hiddleston just seems to have all his workman-like scenes stolen by the many other talented actors. As the star, Hiddleston’s Conrad character seems to observe and react to Brie Larson’s photographer character and the rest of the Monarch/military complex team.
I think the real star of the movie is pretty obviously John C. Reilly. Clearly Reilly’s semi-comic character serves as the bookends or frame of the story. He is the guide who understood the situation on the ground and beneath the ground. Reilly’s improvisational skills serve KONG: SKULL ISLAND well with many quips and small, but meaningful gestures. Reilly is able to convey much with his mellifluous voice and subtle gestures.
There were several faces the camera seemed to linger on, leading me to believe these were cameos that I did not recognize the guest participant.
To summarize, this is a gorgeous movie (just a marvel to look at and appreciate the artistry of the creative team), the conflicts are clear without being overly obvious the pace moves along rapidly through the coherent plot. There a lot of little details amid the big scenes and, perhaps most importantly the producers “Let them fight!”
You are going to love it. I guarantee it.
For more information on KONG: SKULL ISLAND, please see the previous coverage here on SciFi Japan:
- KONG: SKULL ISLAND Japanese Trailer and Logo
- KONG: SKULL ISLAND – New Trailer and Poster
- KONG: SKULL ISLAND – New Japanese Trailer and Poster
- KONG: SKULL ISLAND – New High-Res Japanese Poster
- KONG: SKULL ISLAND Production Notes and High-Res Photos
- KONG: SKULL ISLAND Final Credits
- KONG: SKULL ISLAND Clips and Promotional Videos
- KONG: SKULL ISLAND Cast Interview Soundbites
- KONG: SKULL ISLAND Crew Interview Soundbites
- KONG: SKULL ISLAND New Trailer and Cast/Director Open End Interviews
- Madame Tussauds And Legendary Pictures Announce An Epic KONG: SKULL ISLAND Experience
- KONG Has Come Ashore in Los Angeles
- KONG Watch Continues in Los Angeles
- KONG: SKULL ISLAND — Kong Footprint Sightings in Los Angeles