The new King Kong movie is unashamedly a popcorn flick. It doesn’t pretend to be deeper than it is and even its trailers ought to have set your expectations right. With all that in mind, Kong is quite entertaining.
The movie’s very slim plot revolves around a group of scientists and army commandos who land on an uncharted island to supposedly conduct scientific tests which involve dropping large bombs onto the land. Unfortunately for them, the island isn’t uninhabited and its protector Kong rises up to defend its territory.
An epic Kong smashing helicopters scene later, the group is split up and has to make their way through the island to get to a pickup point in order to escape. One team is led by Tom Hiddleston who plays an ex-SAS officer James Conrad (there a few Heart of Darkness references like this in the film) who is now a freelance tracker and the other by Samuel L. Jackson who plays a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army. A couple of scientists and army officers form a large cast which essential exists to be eaten up or killed by various monsters.
Samuel L. Jackson’s character develops some sort of Capt Ahab-Moby Dick sort of relationship with Kong and sets out to kill him. Jackson does what he does best in a monster-flick, he forms an admirable adversary to Kong. John C. Reilly as a WWII pilot who is marooned on Skull island delivers as an eccentric and entertaining character in a cast which is otherwise bland. As a refreshing change Brie Larson’s character, a photographer who is documenting the trip, is a female lead in a Kong film who the giant gorilla isn’t in love with (cares for, yes but not in love with). I also loved the director’s use of her perspective through the 35mm Leica, which brought a retro feel to the movie.
The film has fantastic special effects, especially Kong who looks more realistic than ever. There are several other fascinating creatures who add to the CGI- spectacle. Kong is otherwise essentially a film about a group of people on an island constantly doing things they have been advised against and end up dying as a result of these actions. It’s over-the-top and thoroughly enjoyable for what it is. Go with the right expectations, watch it on the big screen and enjoy the surround-sound aided extravaganza that is Kong: Skull Island.
P.S: There is a post-credits scene.