WATCH THE TRAILER(S) HERE:
KEY CAST MEMBERS: Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Toby Kebbell, Jason Mitchell, John Ortiz, Shea Whigham, Terry Notary, Tian Jang, Eugene Cordero, Thomas Mann and John C. Reilly
DIRECTOR(S): Jordan Vogt-Roberts
But once they arrive in the realm of the mysterious island, they are greeted by something no one (or maybe at least one of them) expected: A giant, monstrous ape (portrayed for the screen by Terry Notary) who does NOT take kindly to intrusive visitors. But despite Randa’s and Parker’s mutual desire to prove man is king, they soon learn that Kong – and the other species on the island – have a thing or two to shout about that …
SO, IS IT GOOD, BAD OR ABSOLUTELY AWFUL? A film with an awful 20 minute opening followed by an hour and 40 minutes of salvageable to actually quirky yet entertaining fare, Kong: Skull Island is a summer popcorn movie come a few months early … Because there are a couple of stale kernels mixed in with an otherwise decent bucket of fun.
There are two things that really make Kong: Skull Island fun – and those are the performance of John C. Reilly as an adopted Skull Island “native” and the presence of Kong (who is utilized properly in each instance) as portrayed by Terry Notary. Reilly’s performance is the perfect mix of fun and whimsical, giving the audience a character worth actually rooting for in a film otherwise devoid of one (save for the giant ape). Indeed, while Goodman and Jackson play their respective roles well – you KNOW what you’re getting from both within 30 seconds of seeing them – and Mitchell and Whigham add a nice bit of realistic-based humor, Reilly provides one that truly supplements the film with a sweet one while Kong is shown to only be a monster in stature, not in practice.
That’s all you pretty much you need to know about the movie … Save for the monstrous inhabitants of the island (Peter Jackson’s take on the king in his 2005 telling of the giant gorilla’s tale is pretty much replicated here, but with a more ominous, Lone Survivor tone) and the tribal natives, Skull Island covers familiar territory. And at times, some of that territory is a bit too familiar for its own good. Save for a more-important-than-you-realize-opening-sequence, the first 20 minutes of the film is bland but necessary exposition, the cast is forced to deliver some overtly-ominous dialogue and despite receiving top billing, Hiddleston and Larson don’t do anything remarkable in their roles as much as just play them efficiently. Throw in director Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ early homages to Michael Bay action movies (there are some sequences in here that seem straight out of Transformers) and you get an entertaining – but at times, mixed – bag.
In short, Kong: Skull Island is a lot like visiting your local zoo: There’s a lot to like … But when you pass through the monkey house, you’re gonna smell some things you wish you hadn’t before you get to the end.