Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, John Goodman, Brie Larson, John C Reilly, Toby Kebbell, Corey Hawkins. USA. 1h48m.
When I first heard about this film I was shaking my head crying about Another remake, but I still headed out to see it, just because I wanted to have a sofa to myself at the new local Empire Cinema,so I booked those two seats baby!
So it’s not a remake but it is a remake, yet again we’re discovering Kong but he’s not King anymore, in the same was that Spider man is not just a spider man he’s the AMAZING Spiderman, so now that King Kong had been downgraded and a slightly different persona and his tastes for blondes has been abandoned.
Deep the jungle a 700ft turkey lays an egg and there’s a distant rumbling.. then John Goodman (possibly the source of the rumbling) is asking for military assistance to go into a unknown region where no one has ever returned from.. mission so dangerous and top secret that they have to call in special ops.. nope just Samuel L Jackson and some grunts, it’s 1973, so queue some Rolling Stones and we have ourselves a modern day Apocalypse Now (1979).
En route the team, half military and half “science folks” Brains and Brawn are confronted by a huge cloud over the sea, they pause then plunge themselves into a whole new world.
Initially a camp is set up, the military bods get into their choppers and start to drop systemic charges, scattering small deer that they chase around the rolling hills, but then Kong appears and fucks shit up!!!! at first he struggles with the chopper blades but pretty soon he has destroyed most of the fleet and then just wanders off. Meanwhile a few survivors band together under the influence of Jackson and Hiddleston Jackson is out for revenge and Hiddleston is just trying to get the hell off the island. Pretty soon they realise they are out of their depths in this oversized and perilously world and are not prepared for being bottom of the food chain.
Eventually they stumble upon the indigenous people (why aren’t they giants?) who worship Kong as a protector and not a predator, the race is both primitive and mentally advanced, they have already adopted an old World War II vet ?? () who helps educate them island lore like a tourist guide at the end of the world. Then they discover what Kong is protecting the people from, that he’s just a baby AND there’s something bigger and badder out there and they need Kong’s help.
Samuel L Jackson is often a character and a half, adding in his own variety of spice into any film he totally out acts Hiddleston, for most of the film he’s forgettable, and I wondered if he was chucked in just to ensure the movie is a success. The group wander around this Jurassic style world, dwarfed against the giant wildlife, apart from the deer, they seem to be normal size, for no reason at all.
It’s just an expensive action movie but it’s fascinating to see how Kong’s character has changed over the years (probably something Georg Rockall-Schmidt can look into) from the mindless beast that had to be destroyed in the 30’s (the world was poised for war) to this majestic thinking, compassionate creature of 2017 (Hipster Kong) he’s had a lot of discoveries, this is probably one of the better versions, anything is better than the King Kong 1976 disaster with Jeff Bridges but in the big scheme of things it’s not an amazing film in terms of a detailed storyline and amazing character progressions, but it is action packed and I found the many new alien like creatures quite thrilling. The scenery is quite Miss Saigon,despite it mostly being CGI, it’s still skillfully crafted. It’s a film that you’ll have to switch the sense off to watch but if you just want to be entertained by an old classic monster being retold it does actually work, it’s not perfect, few films are. Kong isn’t King anymore despite John C Reilly calling him King every few minutes but he’s rising to the top again, it will be interesting to see where they take the adventures of Skull Island in the future, it’s strange how our perception of wildlife and the environment managed to change the face of Kong no matter where he lies in his royal lineage.
R – King Kong (1933), Apocalypse Now (1979), Jurassic Park (1993).
L – Giant Monster Films, Kong Films.
A – Did we need another reinvention of Kong?
5s – Samuel L Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, John Goodman, Toby Kebbell
Vs – King Kong vs Kong