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Kong: Skull Island: Average Guy Movie Review

In recent years, famous Hollywood apes have been making a return to the silver screen. The Planet of The Apes has found new life with a series of prequels, the third of which is released later this year. King Kong was met with positive reviews in Peter Jackson's 2005 remake, but since then has remained dormant. Now, with 2014's Godzilla inspiring a re-imagining of the giant monster franchise (AKA the MonsterVerse), the King has returned.



Instead of returning to the 1930's like the original, director Jordan Vogt-Roberts has put a new spin on the story by setting it at the end of the Viet Nam War. Through the use of the new Landsat satellite, an uncharted island has been discovered in the south Pacific. Bill Randa (John Goodman) - a senior official in the government organisation Monarch - believes the island could be home to as yet undiscovered creatures, known as M.U.T.O.s (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms). In order to prove his theory, Randa plans to piggy back on an expedition to the island. Along for the ride are Captain James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston), a former SAS tracker, photojournalist Mason Weaver (Brie Larson), Randa's colleagues Houston Brooks (Corey Hawkins) and San Lin (Jing Tian), their military escort led by Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) and Lieutenant Hank Marlow (John C. Reilly), a fighter pilot who crash landed on the island during World War 2.



Considering this is Jordan Vogt-Roberts first major feature film, Kong: Skull Island looks incredible. The CGI is very good and combined with the use of real locations, everything looks real, authentic, believable even. This is a visually stunning movie! It feels like a monster movie crossed with a Viet Nam War movie. You can see where Vogt-Roberts drew inspiration from movies like Apocalypse Now and Platoon. Then there are the creatures, Skull Island is home to many giant species and Kong is their protector. Where as Peter Jackson's Kong resembled a silverback gorilla, this Kong is bipedal, much like his 1933 incarnation. One thing the cast didn't know throughout shooting was his height, he now stands at about 100 feet tall, probably so he can take on monsters like Godzilla in future movies. Kong's main adversaries are what Marlow calls the "Skull Crawlers", large lizard-like creatures that live beneath the surface. These ugly bastards are fast, strong, and come with lots of sharp teeth. Should you encounter one, at the very least you'll need a new pair of pants!



It's fair to say that the weakness in this movie isn't with the creatures but with the humans. They have assembled an incredible cast, some brilliant veterans combined with promising new comers. All of whom deliver great performances. The only problem is, most of them are given very little to do. It certainly doesn't take long to develop an idea of who will survive. You could argue that they've come to an island of monsters where humans aren't the top of the food chain. And yes that may be true, but it's the humans' arrival that sparks off all the trouble in the first place. After that, they just seem to bimble around the island. John C. Reilly's character, the veteran who's been stranded on a desert island too long is definitely the most interesting. All of his quirky character traits make for some hilarious interactions with the island's new arrivals.



Kong: Skull Island is an impressive follow up to 2014's Godzilla and opens up the MonsterVerse to new MUTO's and new stories. There is an end credits scene that hints at this, but missing it won't really affect your experience of the movie and I would suggest it's not worth waiting for. Over all Kong: Skull Island is an enjoyable movie. The interesting story, incredible action and stunning visuals make for a thrilling experience. Some of the characters are quite interesting too, it's just a shame they didn't give them more to do.

7/10



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