Kong: Skull Island

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Kong: Skull Island

This latest, 1970s-set spin on the King Kong legend – starring Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson – is enjoyably big on spectacle but light on subtlety

Overblown in almost every respect (not only its giant ape), 'Kong: Skull Island' is the kind of Hollywood fever dream that, in its first few minutes alone, throws at you a WWII bomber crash, a sizzling montage of Cold War nuclear escalation and a wide-eyed John Goodman gushing about a 'place where myth and science meet'. (He should be a screenwriter.) It’s 1973 and his character, a government-funded conspiracy nut, is talking about weather-shrouded Skull Island, deep in the South Pacific and only recently discovered by satellite. Soon, a detachment of tech nerds, soldiers, a brawny tracker (Tom Hiddleston) and an ambitious photojournalist (Brie Larson, who won an Oscar for 'Room'), will be dispatched there to either gather undiscovered plants or – as we all suspect – become monkey bait.

Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts with a gleeful, look-at-me-ma garishness that speaks to his background in TV comedy, the movie feels wonderfully close to self-parody. When it’s a Vietnam War picture (which is often), we get every glorious cliché in the book, from slo-mo helicopters against a huge red sun to an endless stream of grungy rock nuggets by Creedence Clearwater Revival. And when the monsters do show up, it’s like we’re in the sandbox with the most imaginative 10-year-old: people get stomped, burning machinery gets flung for miles and giant spiders and vomiting lizards make up a parade of gooey spectacle. The effects work is always easy to follow; it’s a movie made for wrestling fans ready for the main event.

Yet for all its updated bluster, this update still can’t escape the shadow of 1933’s magical 'King Kong'. You still hope for that classic psychosexual tension between woman and ape; it’s a disappointment that Larson only rides the hairy paw once – and she hardly seems in thrall of the experience. (Meanwhile, Hiddleston’s man of action is just as bland as any human hero who’s ever competed with Kong for animal magnetism.) Stay through the credits and you’ll get a hint of the fantastic beasts yet to come. Let’s hope that next time, the filmmakers remember to bring a touch of tragedy as well. It’s not a proper creature feature without a little pain.

By: Joshua Rothkopf


Release details

Rated: 12A
Release date: Friday March 10 2017
Duration: 118 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Screenwriter: Derek Connolly, Max Borenstein, Dan Gilroy
Cast: Tom Hiddleston
Brie Larson
John Goodman
John C. Reilly
Samuel L. Jackson

Average User Rating

3.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:4
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
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Avatar for Marco D

Kong: Skull Island wasn't much of an excitement to me. How many recreations are we going to see related to King Kong? I guess we've seen it all before. Travellers discovering and taking over the island. Kong then destroys everything and everyone in his path. Why would anyone in the right mind attempt to even attack an animal of this size or height? Especially with helicopters.

The quality of the image to the film looked incredibly executed, even Kong's fur and features were created immaculately. It looked extremely authentic and not bad at all.

It did give me suspense and it is adventurous, but it doesn't get that exciting. I guess I knew what was going to happen every step of the way.

The storyline and the atmosphere of the film was cleverly produced.

Intrigued and wanting to see what lies beyond the island in the Pacific Ocean, team of soldiers and scientists venture in. What they don't know is that they'll be faced by the powerful, almighty Kong.

The destruction made by Kong is truly breathtaking. They've started a war with the wrong side. They've caused chaos where it wasn't needed. They'll soon discover who the real enemy is on Skull Island.

Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson demonstrate a great bond with Kong. There were moments in the film where Kong was face to face with Larson. I did hold my breath. It was something magnificent to see. Extremely terrifying, yet very beautiful.

Samuel L. Jackson played his part well and his character was ready to face the wrath of Kong.

If your a big fan of Kong, then I'm sure you'll love it.


Love MD.

Avatar for Tiago Almeida

Really good cast, impressive special effects and engaging story - the ingredients for a entertaining evening.

Avatar for Haley W

I really enjoyed this even though I am not big on action genre films! A big budget film and interesting storyline kept me engaged. Worth a watch!

Avatar for T. W.

A big budget film but with some low budget special effects which did spoil it on occasion. Kong was well rendered though and I liked his relationship to the island and the native inhabitants. But I do have an issue with some really bad logic... the island is surrounded by a permanent electrical storm and the rather large and stable boat refuses to cross the threshold of the storm so what do they do? Send in a phalanx of helicopters which are infinitely more susceptible to storms and lightning strikes! Wow... sail the ship in and take it easy... nope they take the helicopters and then they get way too close to Kong as if they had never had any real-life battle experience... come on. Basic stuff get it right... Sorry spoilt it for me ohhh and it was too long!

Avatar for Jane G.

What a great movie for a Sunday, with a lot of popcorn!! Action packed, and a good cast!

Avatar for OnlymeElena

New King Kong movie doesn't disappoint in terms of actions and effects. The story is happening around 30 years after the WWII and one american militant is living all this time on the Skull Island. This Island is occupied by nasty monsters and some people who are surviving  in the fortress village. King Kong is their God, he is a good guy who is actually fighting the baddies. Scary monsters fights are very captivating. As for the romance part between the ape and the lady, in this movie it's more empathy rather than romantic connection. She strokes him once and he saves her afterwards, that's it really, don’t have the resonance they should. It's a good actions movie.