Kong: Skull Island Review


Jack Lynch, Online Managing Editor

Kong: Skull Island  is exactly what you expect: a two hour film filled with giant monsters fighting soldiers. It was top notch.

A research team, escorted by the US army, goes to an unmapped island that is home to giant apes, arachnids, squids and more.

This movie is, for the most part, a cash grab for the actors. Samuel L. Jackson can play the grizzled veteran/director/hitman in his sleep. Tom Hiddleston is more bland than white bread. Brie Larson’s most memorable feature is her camera. John. C. Reilly is the best actor in this film only because he is playing a character other than the loveable, goofball sidekick. Every other actor is good, but there is no stretching of abilities. The actors aren’t lazy, but are just not really trying. Even if they are bland and forgettable, they still aren’t bad actors. Tom Hiddleston is believable in everything he does, even if you won’t remember any of it the next day.

Compared to its predecessor, 2005’s King Kong, Skull Island is better. The new film doesn’t have an uncomfortably forced romantic subplot. Jack Black in a more dramatic role is nowhere near as good as John C. Reilly. Adrien Brody’s eternally mopey demeanor is not missed. Naomi Watts’ weird stockholm syndrome with a giant gorilla is alluded to in this film but in a way that it makes a tiny bit more sense. The new film is also a good hour and 20 minutes shorter and even with a reduced runtime is still a more entertaining story.

This movie is not Schindler’s List. Skull Island doesn’t want to make you think. It wants you to buy tickets and be entertained.. A giant ape fighting giant two-legged lizards (instead of dinosaurs, like in the 2005 film) is entertaining. A giant ape fighting, then eating a giant squid is entertaining. If you can appreciate absurdity and giant monsters fighting each other, you will be very satisfied with this film.

One of the best parts of Skull Island is that it never leaves the island. In the classic story, the most iconic part is Kong climbing the empire state building. It is also incredibly strange and even more unbelievable than the rest of the tale. Skull Island is all the better for keeping Kong confined to his home.

The major problem with this film is tone. The first third is a straightforward action movie; very little humor is attempted and even less lands.The middle third begins with the introduction of John C. Reilly and suddenly, it becomes a comedy. The last section focuses more on Kong than tone. Skull Island tries to be an action-comedy but is instead an action and then a comedy.

A movie tries to do one of two things: make you think or keep you entertained. Skull Island wants to entertain you. In that sense it is beyond successful. Sometimes it is nice to just indulge your inner child and watch giant monsters fight one another. If you have time over spring break, you should see it. You won’t miss much if you don’t. If you do you’ll have fun. What else can you ask from a movie?