Keeping His Crown?
♦Tripwire’s Editor-in-chief JOEL MEADOWS took a look at Kong: Skull Island, the latest attempt to resurrect the King Kong franchise on the big screen…
Kong: Skull Island
Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Stars; Tom Hiddleston, Samuel Jackson, Brie Larson, John C Reilly, John Goodman
King Kong is the movie monster that the film companies won’t let die. It has been 12 years since Weta’s well-intentioned but rather pointless King Kong remake and Warner Bros. have decided to have another crack. Like Godzilla, Kong is a figure from the early days of cinema that audiences still have an affinity for despite the fact that they can seem antiquated and outdated in 2017.
Skull Island is set in 1973 during the Vietnam war and this lends it a kind of cool and a charm that it would be lacking if it took place in the modern era. John Goodman is Bill Randa, the head of a mysterious US government organisation trying to assemble a team to visit a mysterious island out in the Pacific, the skull island of the title. He manages to get funding and puts together a group of scientists and soldiers who head to the uncharted island. Hiddleston is SAS veteran James Conrad while John C Reilly is US airman Hank Marlow who has been living on the island among the natives since he crashed his plane during World War II. Here Kong is not the enemy but there are a group of lethal killer dinosaurs bent on wiping out the island’s residents and only the giant ape can hold them back. The head of the US marines on the island, the wonderfully named Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) is bent on getting his revenge on King Kong after he causes the death of one of his marines.
ILM have done a very decent job bringing Kong and the rest of the monsters on the island to life on screen and the presence of the likes of Goodman, Jackson and Reilly helps to lift it above its B-movie roots. Hiddleston is solid on screen although he doesn’t have a great deal to do. I am still not convinced that he works as a lead and he may be better suited to the villainous roles like Loki in Thor.
Kong: Skull Island is a very likeable monster movie with some deft visual touches and, even though it has a very silly story, somehow it manages to pull the viewer along. It is not a great film by any means but it somehow manages to be entertaining. It is a film out of time and out of kilter with everything else that gets made these days and there is something perversely refreshing about this. It does allude to further films at its conclusion but we shall see if Warner Bros. get their wish to make more movies bringing back the film monsters of yore.
Kong: Skull Island is out now in UK cinemas and from tomorrow in the US