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Kong: Skull Island - Movie Review

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Kong: Skull Island - Movie Review

4 starsThe monsters are coming! The monsters are coming! The monsters are coming!!!

Hooray for the longevity of the B-movie! I am overjoyed to report back to you all that Kong: Skull Island recaptures most of the freewheeling celluloid fun that has been missing from the countless remakes since the original 1933 classic, King Kong.

Let that sink in for a bit. Hollywood – by draining the emotion and ratcheting up the monster takedowns – got it right this time. This is matinee material. Both the film’s tone and its swagger work in conjunction to create a throwback to the monster flicks of yore; when entertainment was as fresh and as tasty as the hot, buttery popcorn.

Centered on Kong’s Skull Island home, director Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ keeps the monster-driven picture king-sized and fun, fun, fun. Kong: Skull Island is so much better than you might be expecting. It gels with 2014’s Godzilla remake and is the antithesis of Peter Jackson’s spin on the tale of how beauty killed the beast.

Thankfully, writers Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein, and Derek Connolly have all done their homework; the respect on display throughout Kong: Skull Island is to be commended. The film takes place in 1973. Watergate. Nixon. And it can’t help itself from making some pretty jubilant wisecracks about politicians. Don’t worry, though. The screenplay’s only agenda is to entertain, get us to that mysterious island, and, surprisingly, connect us with other monsters in the established lore.

And it all starts with actor John Goodman as a conspiracy-embracing idealist convincing Richard Jenkins playing a DC senator to fund his latest hearsay-backed shenanigan involving something BIG and HAIRY being hidden on a remote island in the South Pacific.

With a cast that includes John C. Reilly as a veteran of World War II who has been stranded on the island since 1944, Samuel L. Jackson as Vietnam military commander with a chip on his shoulder, Tom Hiddleston as a British mercenary and tracker, and Brie Larson as a strong-headed female photographer, Kong: Skull Island gets much of his success from the cast doing their thing. Rounding out the members are Corey Hawkins and Jason Mitchell.

Much of the film is a monster-sized spectacle for sure – especially when all the roaring fills up the ENTIRE screen but, my god, the cast shines throughout this tale (or is it tail?), actually dialing down their stereotypical parts in order to offer a few surprises in the narrative.  Simply put, no one gets in the way of the monsters in this flick.

Approaching the island by helicopter, the audience is quickly treated to the threats of Mother Nature and of a gigantic gorilla. The crew maintains their composure after getting smacked out of the air, but their differing personalities are revealed through reactionary grunts and growls, with Jackson leading the charge to kill, kill, kill before they become peeled like bananas.

Thankfully, that’s not the only coarse the movie takes. This is a monster movie first and foremost; it is a tale of survival second to that. This means that our gang of survivors must overcome all manner of beasties AND mysteries before reaching the "safe" side of Skull Island.

And, in that way, this spirited b-movie sprouts wings and carries us off on a high-flying adventure that recounts the thrills and spills of Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. It is popcorn escapism through and through; critics and celluloid cynics need not buy a ticket to ride. It is just all-around fun as it anoints the true star of the flick with a Kong-sized crown.

Hail to the King, baby!

(And, PLEASE, stay for the bonus scene after the credits because the monsters are indeed coming!!!!)

Kong: Skull Island - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for brief strong language..
120 mins
: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein
Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson
: Action | Adventure
Awaken the King.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Kong's a pretty good king. Keeps to himself, mostly, but you don't go into someone's house and start dropping bombs unless you're picking a fight."
Theatrical Distributor:
Warner Bros.
Official Site:
Release Date:
March 10, 2017
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available.
Synopsis: a diverse team of explorers is brought together to venture deep into an uncharted island in the Pacific – as beautiful as it is treacherous – unaware that they’re crossing into the domain of the mythic Kong.

No details available.

Kong: Skull Island - Movie Review


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