Flash Movie Review: Kong: Skull Island

SITTING in the semi-darkened theater waiting for the movie trailers to begin, I was wondering how many different film variations of King Kong I had seen. I believe I saw every one of them and I could even include the robotic one Bette Midler used in one of her concerts, where she played the Fay Wray character who was sprawled out across King Kong’s palm. Thinking about these different versions of the big ape, we really have come a long way from the 1st one to the latest one I was about to see. Of course I was basing it on the movie trailers I had recently seen. Recalling the earlier Kong versions, I can still remember how fake looking he was in the oldest movies. My guess is the writers needed to fine tune their script to keep the audience engaged with the story since an unrealistic looking gorilla would quickly become boring.     SPEAKING of story lines I wondered what the writers would do to keep me interested in this umpteenth time of me watching a King Kong film. More often than not I have noticed when a movie comes out with a well known character that has played before the script is updated to reflect current times. Sometimes it works and sometimes it is a bust. I can remember a group of classic horror monsters like Frankenstein and the Mummy being part of a series of movies that were based in comedy, starring comedians and comedy duos. Personally I found them ridiculous; taking such classic horror characters and placing them in a genre of films that no one would ever consider for them, diminishes their scariness in the public’s eyes. With these thoughts in mind the movie theater lights became dark and I sat back in my seat to see what Kong was up to these days.     FLYING over the Pacific Ocean, bound for a newly discovered uncharted island, a group of scientists and soldiers did not know they would be disturbing the inhabitants to the point of making them angry. This action adventure fantasy succeeded because of the special effects. From all the different versions of King Kong I have seen on film, this was the best looking or should I say the most realistic version of King Kong. The fight scenes were exciting, especially the opening one. If this film had not been so technically advanced I would have been bored by the script. With Tom Hiddleston (Crimson Peak, I Saw the Light) as James Conrad, Samuel L. Jackson (The Legend of Tarzan, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children) as Preston Packard, Brie Larson (Room, Short Term 12) as Mason Weaver and John C. Reilly (Carnage, Step Brothers) as Hank Marlow; I only found Hank’s character interesting. Samuel was doing his identical acting thing, so no surprises there. However I was surprised how stiff Tom and Brie were with their characters. This was partially due to the script that offered no insights, along with the direction that kept them one dimensional. Only John C. Reilly and John Goodman (10 Cloverfield Lane, The Monuments Men) as Bill Randa offered any interest among the cast. If you are into visual experiences then you would want to see this picture inside a movie theater. There was an extra scene at the end of the credits.


3 stars         




About moviejoltz

From a long line of movie afficionados, one brother was the #1 renter of movies in the country with Blockbuster, I am following in the same traditions that came before me. To balance out the long hours seated in dark movie theaters, I also teach yoga and cycling. For the past 3 years, I have correctly picked the major Oscar winners... so join me as we explore the wonder of movies and search for that perfect 4 star movie.

Posted on March 13, 2017, in Fantasy/Sci-Fi and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. I liked Peter Jackson’s “King Kong” film, starring Naomi Watts. The one back in 1976 that featured Jessica Lange was okay until the director changed King Kong from a man in a monkey suit, which was reasonably convincing, to a mechanical dummy. I’m always amazed that a movie studio, which can afford tens of millions of dollars on CGI and actor salaries, doesn’t invest in a decent script. There are plenty of good writers out there!

  2. CGI is becoming so commonplace that unless the story is compelling, I’m finding my attention span for ‘effects’ action movies getting shorter and shorter … perhaps that’s why Mad Max: Fury Road was such a welcome oasis in the desert, as it were. 😀 … think I’ll wait and see this one on my home ‘big’ screen. 🙂

  3. it always amazes that most of the classic big monster movies never have interesting human characters, thinking back on Godzilla in 2014 i don’t remeber anything about the actual people in the film even in this movie only john c. reilly was memorable only because he was used as comic relief. I wonder if its because most of the time these characters are just bait for said monster to kill or if the budget really does just go to hiring a familiar face as an actor which leaves them in a situation to hire amateur writers.

  4. Is it just me, or did you sense there was an element of ‘Moby Dick’ there between Samuel L. Jackson and Kong?

    • Wow, I did not think of that but now that you mentioned it I can absolutely see the comparison. Thanks for pointing it out.

      • “…to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.”
        You can almost hear it in Samuel L. Jackson’s voice…

  5. I have always loved King Kong, the original version. The version from the ’70s is pretty rubbish and the Peter Jackson remake was only so-so (great set piece action scenes and breathtaking mo-cap but attached to a boring script and way overlong) which has only made me more fond of the original. I am cynical enough that I always thought this movie seemed like a bad idea and the trailer and your review makes it seem like my cynicism was justified. There is no excuse for taking a character and premise as superb as a gigantic ape and building a flaccid or flabby screenplay around it.

  6. I saw “Logan” and “Skull Island” last Saturday with my daughter. I loved Logan but not so much Skull Island.

  7. I give this 6.5 / 10 not because this movie is bad but it has elements and structures that Peter Jackson have brought before. This time is just shorter.

    Both have mysterious island.
    Kong is the superhero and has a super villain monster.
    There are other creepy monsters among them.
    Kong has a special feeling for a woman.

    This version not only lack of innovation and fresh ideas, but also a better story telling.

  8. I think this Kong reboot had great potential and plenty of opportunities to be fleshed out more if they had a decent writer. It just feels like a filler film used to set up the Kong vs Godzilla film later in the franchise. They had a lot of interesting characters, like Conrad and Weaver, who were given pretty much no character development of backstory. A wasted opportunity. They could’ve had the chance to great characters that audiences can actually care about and root for.

  9. grevisangel73

    i agree with Laura the original is better, even though it is ancient now.

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