The year1973 was a strange time in the United States of America. Nixon was in the White House, the Watergate scandal was in full swing and, among other things, the US decided to pull troops from the conflict in Vietnam. The last one, in particular, is important as it is a major place of contention between two of our main characters in Kong: Skull Island.
King Kong has been around since 1933 and seeing him in a new way is refreshing. Bigger than previous versions of the classic monster, he dominates the screen every shot he’s in. While not specifically stated during the film, it is revealed that Kong: Skull Island is set in the same world as 2014’s Godzilla.
Opening the film was Bill Randa saying, “Mark my words, there’ll never be a more screwed up time in Washington. But we can’t let it stop us.” While making me laugh, it set the stage for the film perfectly. It showed that we will not only have conflict within some of our characters, some of them might not be fully stable.
After the stage is set and we meet the characters, we get this shot of a Nixon bobblehead. It shows how rough the ride to the island is and I couldn’t help but smile. Once we finally arrive at the island, we’re greeted with this amazingly beautiful shot of Kong that we saw in almost every trailer. That shot alone is a beautiful example of the amazing cinematography and shot selection from Cinematographer, Larry Fong
Every time Jason Mitchell’s Glenn Mills was on screen I couldn’t help but smile. He is that younger man who just wants to go home and, every time he talks about it, he does it in a humorous way.
There is also one scene where Brie Larson’s Mason Weaver is taking pictures of the natives. This scene comes off as cute and innocent in a way that gives the film a grounding that is needed.
For the most part, the film was fun and didn’t require much thought. Though there were a few questions that came to me while watching. While I love 70’s rock, why would you blast Black Sabbath while flying over an unexplored island? To me, all that does is give away where you are if there are hostels on the island.
It was mentioned that Kong is not fully grown. While already at 100 feet tall and intelligent, just how big can he get? And how much smarter will he get?
I am also not sure about Samuel L. Jackson’s Preston Packard. Is he suffering from PTSD and just wants something to fight? Or is he truly upset that Kong took out his men? He seems over the top when it comes to Kong and doesn’t care about getting the rest of his men killed.
Throughout the film, the comedy is set at just the right points and just the right way that it breaks up the seriousness of the film. It helps to bring it in and make it more than just a monster film. Speaking of monsters, the creature design in this film is different. But different is good, they’re nothing like anything I have seen before.
Humorous and dark at the same time, it’s not a film I’d recommend to the younger audience. They don’t shy away from violence and blood and some of the language is harsh. While I enjoyed it, I would definitely recommend this film only to the more mature audience.