Kong: Skull Island – Film Review

I had heard really polarising things about Kong: Skull Island so I went in with low expectations and l really enjoyed myself. I think that’s the key – go in expecting something silly, cheesy and lowbrow and you won’t be disappointed.

Tom Hiddleston plays James Conrad, a former SAS tracker who is hired to lead a so-called mapping mission to a remote, untouched island in the South Pacific. He is joined by John Goodman, a man from secret organisation Monarch, which orchestrated the mission, members of the US Army, including Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) and Jack Hamilton (Toby Kebbell), and photojournalist Mason Weaver (Brie Larson). It’s not long before they discover the giant prehistoric ape on the island – but he’s not the big bad, he’s actually protecting everybody from the monsters hiding underneath.

The film feels like an old-fashioned monster movie. It is all about pushing the story and the action forward, no matter if the characterisation and quality of dialogue get lost along the way. I don’t usually tolerate a bad script and shallow characters but it worked because the film is already so busy. I liked that we didn’t spend too long on their background and getting them all together because it meant we got to the island and met the ape quicker and from then on, it moves at a pretty slick pace.

No, the acting is not great – Jackson is playing the same character he always does and Hiddleston wasn’t a convincing SAS man – but what can you expect from actors when they are given nothing to really sink their teeth into? This is a monster movie, godammit! Stop expecting so much from it. Don’t be expecting such highbrow things from this genre. This is all about action, which you will get in abundance. It doesn’t really let up, with new creatures being found and characters being dispatched left right and centre throughout.

I loved the location, the fact that it is a fresh take on Kong, that it hints at the Kong/Ann Darrow bonding storyline but doesn’t rehash it and I enjoyed the inclusion of John C. Reilly, a man who has been on the island since WW2, because he provided most of the laughs.

The CGI of the ape, the other monsters and the island itself was fantastic. I was so impressed. I didn’t like the Skull Crawlers, the ultimate big bad of the island, because they were weird looking, like they needed to have more legs, and I disliked how much screen time they were given, especially the huge one, that took far too long to die.

All in all, it has a few flaws but if you are just here for an exciting and fun monster story, that is what you are going to get. If you want something meaty and meaningful that requires thinking, you’re better off looking somewhere else.

In cinemas Friday 10th March 

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