Film Review: Kong: Skull Island

Our favorite ape, Kong, underground monsters and mercenaries in this fantasy/sci-fi film. Photo courtesy of Legendary Entertainment/Tencent Pictures

Kong: Skull Island, a fantasy, adventure, directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts is set in the 1970’s. For those of you too young to remember and not paying attention in history class, that was the time when people had to actually use language to communicate with one another.

Skull Island as imagined by screenwriters, Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein and Derek Connolly from a story by John Gatins is an uncharted and undiscovered island that lies somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

The Vietnam War has just ended and a secretive organization known as Monarch led by secret agent, Bill Randa (John Goodman) a major Bermuda Triangle conspiracy theorist convinces the government to fund an expedition to an island that may or may not exist, in the hopes of finding a new species. Since Washington no longer has to pay for  a war and apparently has extra money to spare,  they give him the okay.

Rand assembles a crew that includes the very pissed-off  Lt. Colonel Preston Packard, (Samuel Jackson), who’s really quite good at playing pissed off; Capt. James Conrad (Tim Hiddleston), a renegade former British mercenary; Houston Brooks (Corey Hawkins), your typical nerdy-but-brilliant biologist and, lastly, a woman. What monster movie doesn’t have a woman, right? In this case, she’s combat photographer, Mason Weaver, played by Oscar winner, Brie Larson.

Along with the crew a dozen choppers are brought along in to penetrate the dense fog and rain that shield the island from view. Maybe that should have been a clue to stay away.

To say their landing goes smoothly, could not be further from the truth and it doesn’t take the crew long to realize that this island holds many surprises.

One being a man named Hank Marlow (the wonderful John C. Reilly) who crashed landed on the island during World War II and has been living there quite happily among the natives, both monster and human. Of course, there’s a definite possibility the dude could be out of his mind.

Since the film is called Kong, you all know what’s coming and, yes, the big hairy ape appears and he seems to have grown. He’s now 100 feet tall, still wears an angry look on his face, but when you look into his eyes, you can’t help but want to cuddle the big guy.

Unfortunately, he’s not the only monster on the island. Living in deep underground tunnels, are these super nasty, dangerous, vicious serpent-like predators nicknamed Skullcrawlers and they are intent on wiping out King and his species. They are so mean that Kong seems like a pussycat next to them.

To say any more would be giving too much away, but I will say, Kong: Skull Island which opens in theaters  March 10, is visually breathtaking, filled with humor, excitement, great action, effects, surprises and is extremely entertaining, which, sometimes, is all you want when you go to the cinema.


By Joan Alperin


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