This movie could have easily been named Samuel L. Jackson V/S King Kong and it would have been a worthy addition to the long list of “versus” movies. Most of the movie is dedicated to that aspect and it is entertaining as hell. I am not kidding one bit. Putting those 3D glasses on my glasses(yes, that’s how I watch 3D movies) and witnessing a huge ass monkey rampaging through an island full of unknown beasts is one of the best kind of entertainment that Hollywood has to offer and by the looks of it, they have learned quite a bit from Godzilla.
I am not saying that the movie doesn’t have flaws. It is littered with some major flaws but before I get into it, let me go through the meaty stuff first. First off, Kong is humongous. I have seen the trailers on my small laptop screen and I had an assumption of how it will feel in the theatre but the CGI guys really exceeded my expectations by a mile. I was screaming when Kong stood up against the setting Sun. The thing that got me more excited is the fact, and this is not a spoiler, that this is not Kong’s final size. He is still growing. As the movie is set in 1977 and we have seen Godzilla in 2014 and he is already this big, I can’t even imagine what his size will be when he squares up against Godzilla. I can only hope that it better be glorious as hell.
Getting into the story now. So we begin with Randa(John Goodman), a scientist and member of Monarch(an organisation that searches M.U.T.O’s) who believes there is something in an uncharted place called Skull Island. During the war torn time of the 70’s he wants to utilise the army before they are sent home and after some persuasion he succeeds in taking Preston Packard(Samuel L. Jackson) and his squad to survey this island. On the way, Randa picks up Conrad(Tom Hiddleston) who is a tracker and also a photographer, Mason Weaver(Brie Larson) to document everything. The film doesn’t take a shit-load of time to build up the mystery of Skull Island and smacks the squad right into the ground as soon as they enter. Thus ensues a magnificent display of mayhem and destruction and plenty of death. As the group gets scattered they should find their respective ways to reach the rendezvous point but Packard has a bone to pick with Kong. There are plenty of other humongous monsters littered throughout the movie and each of them are dangerous in their own way. Jordan Vogt-Roberts puts each of them to very good use. He takes his own good time to create the atmosphere of the Skull Island and it’s pretty evident that he believes in less talk and more show.
The cinematography and CGI work is just breathtaking. It is very evident that Larry Fong(D.O.P) has taken a lot of inspiration from old war movies like Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket. The non-CGI shots are as amazing as the sequences with the deadly and non-deadly creatures. In an interview they were saying that they have been to actual places and it feels so too. Skull Island is basically Australia on steroids. In Australia there is a 80% chance that everything will kill you and here there is a 100% chance that everything will kill you. I mean, even the non-deadly creatures can just step on you by mistake and you’re done. The fights sequences were choreographed in such a way that the audience can understand what is happening and not like the other giant fights, where the audience is completely and utterly confused that who is fighting whom. Each of the creatures are given a distinct colour and features so that the fights are intelligible and I will say again, it’s marvellous.
The performances are pretty good and why won’t it be when you have such a solid cast? I was really scared that Hiddleston will be made to play someone American but thankfully he is British in this movie. Brie Larson is pretty amazing. It’s great that Jordan has decided to lose the damsel-in-distress trope and thus Larson’s character has a more active participation in the events. Goodman, Jackson, Kebbell, all of them were pretty good. No real complaints in the acting department and with that I conclude the good stuff. Now, onto the bad stuff.
The movie doesn’t have much material to fill the sequences between the epic fights. There the movie wants to depend on the characters and the stories behind these different characters and that’s where the movie begins to falter. I suppose they weren’t even going for a very meaningful story because the movie isn’t about a meaningful story. It’s about a huge monster fighting huge monsters but that’s why they should have cut down on the long and seemingly pretentious attempt to create a feeling of care for these characters. Truth be told, I was more interested about the story about Kong’s family rather than the backstories of these people.
Another blatant plot-hole is that nobody gets hurt unless they are eaten. They fall from helicopters, they fall from mountains and even are a few feet away from huge explosions but none of that effects the characters in any way. The writers try to address it but the way in which those scenes are handled just squished the seriousness out of it. Then, there were way too many jokes in the movie and almost all of them felt extremely unnecessary. John C. Reilly’s character was so irritating that I was really rooting for someone/something to kill him. There is also the obvious problem of people meeting people at the exact right moment when they need to meet. It’s an island full of things that are out to kill anything smaller than themselves and it’s absurd as to how long this group survives. I know the story has to progress but then they should have made the Island less terrifying. You don’t make the entire place a living hell and then expect us to believe that this group is just awesome due to which they are surviving everything. Also, at a point the movie decides to become 300 with Loki slicing through killer Pterodactyls? It was really hilarious and not in any shape or form magnificent.
FINAL VERDICT – The movie is a great spectacle and the CGI is amazing and Kong is reason enough to enter the theatre. You definitely don’t want to miss this one at the theatres. So, definitely check it out. Even though it’s UA, I’d recommend not to take kids below 11 to this one. They’ll piss their pants, I swear after hearing Kong thump his chest and roar!
Thanks for reading.