Review: Kong: Skull Island (2017)

A team of explorers visit the mysterious Skull Island only to find something huge is waiting for them.

The time of the beast is now. Since the Peter Jackson directed blockbuster King Kong (2005), it has been a waiting game until Hollywood would reboot the monster-sized film.

With the release of Godzilla (2014) there have been plans underway to finally get the two back together in an on-screen mash up of monster mayhem. Although the Godzilla reboot was a bit of a let down, especially considering the stellar cast of Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe and Elisabeth Olsen, I can safely say Skull Island doesn’t follow suit. The film is what I would consider to be a modern-day B movie-styled monster movie, which pays off very well indeed.

We pick up with a group of scientists and soldiers making their to the uncharted island, led by John Goodman’s slightly unhinged Bill Randa, the group find themselves on unknown land, surrounded by forests and mountains. The others, including James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston), Preston Packard (Samuel L Jackson), Mason Weaver (Brie Larson) and more, soon discover that they are not alone.

As shown from the trailers (so not entering spoiler territory) the group encounters Kong early into the film when he takes down a fair share of the helicopter squad in the blink of an eye. From then on out the adventure takes a turn. The cast meets an indigenous tribe along with long-term resident of the island Hank Marlow (the hilarious John C Reilly) who has been living life with the locals for a number of years.

The action scenes in the film are simply amazing. Whilst it may not totally live up to the T-Rex fight from the 2005 incarnation of the film it is the next best thing, at the end of the day you wouldn’t want a scene-for-scene copy of the Jackson film. What amazes me the most is the world they are creating in this relatively short film. Monsters, mythology and  monkey(s), Skull Island has it all. There are some moments which are a bit cringey, but what can you expect from a film about a 100-storey-tall primate?

Another thing to mention here is the soundtrack, as the film is based in the 1970s, post-Vietnam, the soundtrack is full of songs from Black Sabbath, David Bowie and Creedence Clearwater Revival, creating a real atmosphere as well as a toe-tapping experience.

With the showdown between the Japanese Kaiju and the Manhattan-munching super-gorilla imminent (release date set for 2020) Skull Island is the perfect way to reboot the Kong franchise, let’s hope the smackdown is worth the wait!

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