Even though Hollywood-trade blog Deadline called it “My Big Fat Geek Monster Movie,” it’s much more than that.
I really fell hard for “Kong: Skull Island.” It’s fantasy and horror on steroids thanks to modern special effects and a stellar cast.
Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts, the movie is written by Dan Gilroy and Max Borenstein, from a story by Gilroy and John Gatins.
It unfolds during the Nixon era when the Cold War was in full swing.
Government agent Bill Randa (John Goodman, absolutely terrific!) hires British Special Air Service Captain James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) to lead an expedition to an uncharted island in the Pacific Ocean.
They meet in Shanghai with their military escort, led by General Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson). TimeLife photographer Mason Weaver (Brie Larson) also joins the team.
Randa reveals his real mission; to search for large prehistoric monsters that are said to exist on remote islands.
They arrive in several helicopters and begin to drop explosives, ostensibly, to test the ground. But before you can say mercy, Kong is on the scene, destroying most of the choppers, scattering the search party and clearly sending a message.
I saw this screening in IMAX and I have to say this was the best experience I’ve yet had.
With causalities high, the remaining crew take off in hopes of being rescued.
They meet Hank Marlow (John C. Reilly) a pilot who has been stranded on the island since World War II. Marlow soon informs them that Kong is not the real enemy, but rather then many supernatural beasts who inhabit the island.
He says in fact, “We’d all be dead if it weren’t for Kong.”
Kong is worshiped like a god, because he protects the island’s inhabitants from creepy subterranean lizards known as “skull crawlers.”
Larson is just stunning. Along with Hiddleston, they captivate the screen. I’ve seen Hiddleston before as Loki in the Marvel superhero movies and he’s terrific here–a star-making performance for sure.
The Kong special effects are dramatically good and the script is surprisingly nuanced.
At first, you want them to destroy Kong, but by the end of the movie, you’re in his corner.
The scene where Kong meets and then saves Larson is surprisingly moving, and the film sports one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard in years–from Credence Clearwater Revival to Bowie. Superb!
Call me a Kong guy, but I tremendously enjoyed this movie.
Side note: After what seemed like twenty-minuets of credits, there’s a surprise ending scene which perfectly sets up the sequel. And, I know they’ll be one!
The movie opens in theaters this Friday (Mar. 10).
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