I started out wanting to write this semi-serious article taking a look at what worked and what didn’t for Kong: Skull Island, but as the weekend got away from me and I fell behind on putting this review out on the interweb something interesting actually happened with my thinking towards this movie.
Due to the lack of options at the box office this weekend, Kong was king and rightfully so because in its truest sense it is a straight popcorn movie, however, after reading initial reviews and responses over the past couple of days something dawned on me after watching it;
This is a John C. Reilly movie with Kong in it.
Before you scoff at my assessment, try and take me seriously for just a moment. The movie begins and ends on his character and has a complete character arc for him. He is by far the funniest and most entertaining character on screen, surpassing even the 200ft tall gorilla that is giving helicopters and creepy crawlies,or as Reilly’s character so eloquently named them, “Skullcrawlers”, the beatdown. Even in that moment, he finds a way for it to be humorous and because his character is so free/crazy to say these great lines it actually diminishes the other main character’s roles within the film to the point where they are simple one-note background players to Reilly, Kong and the big bad. From there, I could go down the line of the actors, their roles and how little they actually mattered in comparison, but rather bore you with that I can just simply state that outside of those three major players within this movie, Samuel L. Jackson and John Goodman make a solid effort to attempt to create something different, but ultimately Goodman’s screen time is too short and Jackson simply takes the path of Apocalypse Now’s Col. Kurtz, which is something only he can pull off and not come off as overly-campy.
Tucked inside a very action-filled movie, there are great visual moments that truly stand out as their own pieces of art. The first encounter of the unit and Kong is something that had the audience gasping and cheering as well as some of the character deaths at the hands of the various creatures that roam the island other than Kong, but again, ultimately the story keeps refocusing on Reilly’s Hank Marlow and his drive to get off the island after 28 years.
If you have already seen Kong: Skull Island, then I think you would possibly agree with what I am saying about this movie, but if you haven’t yet then take my words into account. Kong is a a great popcorn watch that you will come away having been entertained. It features an amazing cast, albeit underutilized, and an even greater soundtrack to match the times of the 1970s when the film is set. I would not advise paying full price for this watch, however, I myself of guilty of over-spending in order to just see a movie and be somewhere else for two hours. If you want that, this is your movie.
Kong: Skull Island – 3 Garys