Dir. Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)
“This planet doesn't belong to us. Ancient species owned this earth long before mankind. I spent 30 years trying to prove the truth: monsters exist…”
The one true king of the monsters is back – bigger and better than ever. Kong: Skull Island is an atmospheric apocalyptic romp that knocks the monkey business out of Peter Jackson’s 2005 effort (Darkmatters Review).
"Easy does it"
Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts bring Skull Island to full living breathing cinematic life and from the impressive opening manages to keep the action rocking along without short-changing any of the characters. The humans range from Samuel L. Jackson’s hard war-bitten Packard who vows to take Kong down, through to Brie Larson’s plucky photo-journalist Mason Weaver who wins the huge ape’s heart – these are characters worth spending time with and ones that we get to care about. Which makes it tough in places because Skull Island is a place of death so maybe don’t get too attached to anyone…
"That's a serious monkey"
Tom ‘High-Rise’ Hiddleston stands out as adventurer Conrad (and not just for his British accent), John ’10 Cloverfield Lane’ Goodman gives good value as scientist Bill Randa but it’s John C Reilly who brings some welcome comic relief and savvy observations – having been stuck on the island for 30+ years…
"This is where you RUN"
Then there’s the monsters and boy, this is where Kong: Skull Island really shines. Upping the ick and gore factor to a pleasing degree (probably pushing the limits of a 12a rating), the various humans – especially the soldiers accompanying the expedition get taken out in all sorts of grisly ways. The CGI menagerie includes mutant tree topping spiders, limb tearing pterodactyls and monstrous water buffalos but it’s the skull crawlers who are the main danger. Part lizard, part alien, part skull – all threat - they are the stuff of nightmares and when Kong fights them it's a monster battle royale that makes even the Kong vs Tyrannosaurs fights of yore look weak.
"and death came with them"
This is Kong’s film though and he’s superbly realised – massive and heroic in a way that we haven’t seen him before, the scene where he first encounters the helicopters invading his home is one of the best action sequences ever committed to film.
Many critics have been sniffy about Vogt-Roberts’ new take on Kong but for me, this is the daddy of all monster movies. Pure hairy excitement, lavishly and stylishly shot, backed with a killer ‘70s soundtrack – this is a super fun monkey-em-up that will leave you grinning and demands a sequel!
Out of a potential 5, you have to go with a Darkmatters:
(4 - Kong-gratulations the King is BACK!!)
Awesomeness ööööö – Monster sized set pieces
Laughs ööö – Some funnies
Horror ööö – Bit grim in places
Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Monkey Gods have love of humans..?