Movie Review: Kong: Skull Island is Bigger, Not Necessarily Better

Twelve years after his last film appearance, King Kong stomps back onto the big screen this weekend looking bulkier than ever before. With a 79% on Rotten Tomatoes, the giant ape now stands at 100ft tall, compared to the 25ft monster we saw in Peter Jackson’s 2005 movie. No, the Empire State Building is nowhere to be found in this movie, but does Kong still manage to climb to new heights? Here is my take on this re-make. 

Let me set the stage for you: The film begins with a group of soldiers and scientists, plus a photojournalist (Brie Larson), exploring an unchartered island in the Pacific. Director Jordan Vogt-Robertse delivers the first action scene fast: as soon as the crew’s helicopters hover over Skull Island, they start dropping bombs on the island, and Kong swats them down like flies. With several crew members dead, US army colonel Preston (Samuel L Jackson) refuses to leave the island until he finds a missing soldier, but former SAS captain James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) wants to lead the team to their designated rescue point. The group also disagree over their true enemy’s identity: is it Kong, or the island’s lizard-like predators, the Skullcrawlers?

My point of view: The big ape is simply a wonder to see on the big screen and the cinematography is amazing to see. “Kong” Skull Island gets its creatures right, but the rest is a bit choppy. After a few short minutes in my seat, I began to pick up on the fact the lack of character motivations, and the story-line has been tossed aside like the helicopters in Kong’s hands. Make no mistake about it — most of the characters here are not needed (sorry). A weak script finds A-list actors with not really a good reason to be in the film, while Kong does all of the heavy lifting. But really, who’s complaining? The truth is that no one is actually going to Kong: Skull Island for them. What the people really want is Kong — and the Kong rises to the occasion. I loved everything about the memorable creature battle scenes which was epic, jumpy, and quite a thrilling experience to witness. The whole time you are routing for Kong to rip and tear them to pieces ... as he is the “King” Kong.  

I would give it 3 out of 5 stars. Kong: Skull Island is a great movie — as long as you ignore everyone on screen who isn’t Kong. If you’ve got nothing to do this weekend, and you want to watch the world’s greatest monster brawl it out on the big screen this is definitely the movie for you. And isn’t that worth the price of admission alone? It definitely was for me. On the bright side we’re getting the Godzilla vs King Kong movie in 2020, and Kong is going to be much bigger and better. Bring it on.