Movie Plot – Kong: Skull Island: After the Vietnam War, a team of scientists, together with a group of soldiers, explores an unknown Pacific island and ventures into the domain of the mighty Kong.
Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Writers: Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein, Derek Connolly, John Gatins
Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, John C. Reilly, John Goodman, Toby Kebbell
Hollywood grants new opportunities
An interesting development in Hollywood. Instead of playing it safe by asking an experienced director to direct the latest overpriced monster movies, promising talents get the chance to show what they have to offer. With Kong: Skull Island, it’s the third time a young successful arthouse filmmaker gets to direct.
Thanks to this, a new director can give a fresh new look to widely known material. Thus Jurassic World became a surprisingly enjoyable mix of genres and Godzilla got a beautifully stylized climax. It should be said, however, that the latter in particular followed a well-trodden path for the most part. That is much less the case with Kong: Skull Island. Just as Edwards stood out with his last twenty minutes, Vogt-Roberts manages to keep his film refreshing throughout its running time. We get to see quite a few scenes with Kong. More than you see Godzilla in the 2014 film.
His name is Jordan Vogt-Robert.
In terms of story, this New Kong adventure remains fairly similar to previous films about the classic monster monkey. A group of explorers go on an excursion to the mysterious Skull Island and soon discover that nature is often larger and more dangerous than in the rest of the world. The year this time is 1973, which gives a role to Vietnam soldiers who have been plucked from the lost war but still have the urge to open fire on anything unknown and potentially dangerous.
And there’s quite a bit of that present on Skull Island. Starting with an enraged Kong, who doesn’t put up with the bombs on his island and starts scattering helicopters, including crew around. On the way to the agreed pickup point, the handful of survivors must find each other back in the jungle, not knowing that they will meanwhile form a buffet for giant spiders and flying dinosaurs, among other things.
But what gives this film such nice energy is that everything goes just a little bit differently than usual. If you think you’re going to see a trite piece of cinema, Vogt-Roberts quickly gives it a little twist. The same goes for the action, where no scene feels like repetition. That’s also a part of why I prefer Kong: Skull Island over Godzilla. Although, I must say that I liked the Peter Jackson adaptation much better. Maybe I’d change my mind if I re-watched this movie since it’s been a long time.
Perhaps not a very sensational premise, but it doesn’t sink in for a second as Vogt-Roberts continues to alternate finely between tension and humor. It is not so much lead actors Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson who make the difference, but rather the supporting characters. Samuel L. Jackson as the intransigent colonel, John Goodman as the driven explorer and especially John C. Reilly as a feral Captain who has lived on the island since WWII; they are given room to show both their comic and more serious side.
I recall being surprised that Tom Hiddleston had such a small contribution to the film. His knowledge of tracking animals was almost not used. It even made me wonder why he was the lead actor? Also notable is the lack of narrative rhythm. Kong: Skull Island jumps randomly from scene to scene, with no intrinsic sense of time. As a result, the plot seems to need to be handled at breakneck speed. It is, therefore plausible that the viewer remains completely unmoved and only sympathizes on a primary level with the characters. In my case, I didn’t care about any of the characters. I just wanted to see Kong smash and fight.
Another actor worth noticing is Toby Kebbell, who played a soldier left alone after the split with Kong’s encounter. What many are also missing about Kebbell is that he actually also plays Kong! And you shouldn’t be surprised as he also plays Koba in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. He’s a great motion-capture actor.
Kong: Skull Island is worth it if you want to see Kong fight. The story, on the other hand, is somewhat weak and forgettable. Just know what you are getting before you start.