Kong: Skull Island is like a delicious piece of fried chicken: Easy to digest, satisfies you for a couple of hours, but not expected be great for you. That is totally fine. I have eaten fried chicken knowing it wasn’t healthy. I eat it because it is delicious. If having a thrill ride is your mantra, Kong: Skill Island will achieve that goal.
The film opens with a montage of war and postwar history from the Second World War to the Vietnam War. This is interspersed with the actor’s names printed on the screen. The way that was shot combined by who was in it (Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson and especially Bree Larson) made me believe that Kong: Skull Island was going to be fantastic. I thought that it would be a perfect blend of action and story.
Is Kong. Is Good.
Instead, we get a lot more action than the story here. The action was entertaining to watch and I had fun with it. The story was mildly interesting at best. Ultimately, Kong: Skull Island is a success because it never drops the ball and doesn’t make bad mistakes. Combined with the fact that Kong: Skull Island moves at a brisk pace and never bored me made it a pleasing experience for me as I watched it.
The best thing in Kong: Skull Island was easily the cinematographer and the special effects. What was interesting about the cinematography in Kong: Skull Island was that it took a lot of inspiration (and even copied a scene) from Apocalypse Now. From the bright, musky, orange-red sunsets to the aerial bombing of a jungle while playing on-the-nose music. At least the filmmakers were smart enough to use things from a great film while not using it as a crutch, I just wish it wasn’t done that way so obviously.
The special effects and the action sequences were also done well. It was good but nothing close to spectacular of different. They make a jump scare that was actually frightening and the climatic fight felt visceral and I easily bought it. They had one weird moment where King Kong was eating a giant octopus and the tentacles were hanging from his mouth which was odd. Finally, the best moment in the film for me involved a suspenseful, ingenious scene involving the sounds of flash photography and big bad reptilians.
Kong Be Better Next Time
The frustrating thing about Kong: Skull Island is that they play so safe that it’s not funny. There is no character development whatsoever despite the fact that the characters were well-established. I got that Hiddleston was playing a hunter and explorer but that was it. Larson plays a pacifist and a photojournalist, but that was it. Knowing how well they established these characters combined with the overall quality of this movie, I know the filmmakers could have easily pulled off a character driven story with great action simultaneously. That would have been awesome. Logan is a movie that did just that while Kong: Skull Island doesn’t. It sticks to the failsafe formula it knows it can achieve: A popcorn action movie.
So overall, Kong: Skull Island is a good movie to watch if you are thinking about watching it. If you weren’t thinking about watching it, you probably won’t enjoy it. If you have time on your hands and want to be entertained for two hours, Kong: Skull Island will do just that ***1/4