Every era has its Kong. Following that dictum comes our very own version of it, but Kong Skull Island comes nowhere close to what Peter Jackson had managed to accomplish in the year 2005. It was an epic film, brimming with emotions, and unpredictable action. Timeless, that can never be forgotten. Au contraire, Kong Skull Island is quite the opposite when it comes to story building. You feel it rushing towards the action front, banks on only visuals and theatrics to wade through and even though it manages to be something, it ends up becoming nothing but an adrenaline shot that fades away the moment you leave the theatres.
Kong Diaries: The Primal Theme
Kong Skull Island rushes in without a good story to balance it properly on rails of sobriety. It is storming off at a huge pace to meet the action part just so we reach the fruition Legendary expects of it. Kong Skull Island is definitely going somewhere, and we know where (to defy Godzilla openly in the future releases) but you could read that desperation in it, and that’s what makes it highly ambitious. In that skittish attempt to reach an end, it decimates our age-old superhero into nothing but an ass whopping monster. But it is so much more. You know it, I know it, and everybody who has ever seen King Kong on the big screen before is well aware of it.
If you take a look at the action part, it has been brilliantly depicted. It’s what you expect a good action movie to pack in. But the frail storyline forces you to squelch your way towards all the action. What’s that, you ask? Well read on to find out.
Plot of Kong Skull Island (Spoilers Ahead)
As the title gives away, the flick wasn’t meant to be shot at home ground (just yet). So it was naturally the Kong Land where all the action was supposed to happen.
Enters Bill Randa played by John Goodman trying to convince senator Willis to get them to a wretched ill-fated island that’s also shaped like a skull. He has Houston Brooks done by Corey Hawkins by his side who successfully convinces Willis to pursue their mission on the grounds of “something fishy going on there”, and that the unexplored could house hidden treasures which their country should be the first to exploit.
Slapped on a mission that could use some adroit help, they pay up Captain James Conrad played by Tom Hiddleston good to accompany them in their adventure. They manage the escort Sky Devils, which is a helicopter squadron headed by Preston Packard (who else but our very own Samuel L. Jackson).
Mason Weaver played by Brie Larson who is a pacifist photojournalist joins them after, and their little family thus feels complete.
A camera does a lot more damage than a gun.
The Skull Island
They storm into a storm, the only thing stopping them from seeing what’s hidden, as Preston delivers a confident speech on how their choppers are capable of going anywhere come what may. On reaching there, the seismologist Houston Brooks begins his science experiment by dropping bombs to check if the ground is hollow. That’s when they encounter a flying tree that takes one of the choppers down.
Is that a monkey?
Amidst theatrics and slo-mo enters the king, the one and only Kong. Drums please!
He delivers his fury on the remaining flyers, as they crash and split into two groups. Their last hope is to escape the island by visiting the resupply team at the northern end in three days. But to Packard, for whom everything is personal, (he has, by the way, looked into the eyes of Kong after all) slaying the monster is somehow of paramount importance. Bill Randa spills the beans to a gunpoint saying his real motive was to prove to the world that monsters exist, and that they are waiting for their chance to re-claim earth.
The rest of the flick tries to bring us up to speed to the real monsters, Skullcrawlers thus showing Kong as a Good Samaritan, the king of the Island who is willing to do whatever it takes to help creatures in need. We meet Hank Marlow played by John C. Reilly a crazy American pilot who had crash-landed on the Island in the 40s.
I guess no man comes home from war, not really.
He tells them about the local natives Iwi, who had built walls to keep Skullcrawlers at bay. They used to worship Kong, the only God they had ever come across, who took care of anything that threatened their existence.
Marlow also tells them about “The Big One” preparing us for an imminent Boss fight of course. He tells them the Big Skullcrawler could have awakened if those bomb shenanigans were not stopped by Kong.
In hopes to find another one of their members, the team ends up reaching the Forbidden Zone, where Kong’s parents had once fought Skullcrawlers ages ago. They are attacked by a Skullcrawler there, with a lot of deliberate theatrics to give you the feels of how tough defeating a Skullcrawler really is.
A vengeful Packard with hopes to lay the simian down uses all the seismic bombs to trigger multiple explosions luring Kong into a trap.
It’s time to show Kong that man is king!
After bringing Kong down to his knees, he is busy preparing charges to blow up the beast, when Conrad intervenes to stop him. Owing to all that kabooms, “The Big One” aka “Ramarak” appears from the ground decimating everything and everyone that came in its way.
Kong tries to fight it off but fails in Round One. But in the final stand-off theatrically rips the monster’s guts out scoring one for Team Kong.
When the remaining people are trying to escape the Island, we find a furious Kong eyeing resupply choppers that are coming to help the stranded.
When the curtain drops, we find Hank Marlow reuniting with his family. There’s also one post credit scene in the movie that makes an allusion on the presence of other monsters on our planet. Cave paintings depict images of Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan and King Ghidorah, other monsters that Legendary had painted and will paint on the big screen in their upcoming releases.
You can order Kong Skull Island here:
Visuals of Kong Skull Island are pretty great. For a film that is literally thriving on it and being driven by it, I think its one of those crucial factors that the producers spent on plenty.
Toby Kebbell‘s Kong even though easily identifiable looks pretty badass on screen. The 100 foot tall simian is beastly and angry. It almost becomes successful in filling the shoes of what Andy Serkis had left us with. Pretty hard to beat, huh?
At times the screenplay becomes pretty good too. It keeps on delivering us lines that make you ponder.
Hank Marlow: Who’s winning the war?
James Conrad: Which one?
Hank Marlow: That makes sense.
Other Major Issues
Apart from the cardinal issue of not banking on a befitting story for us to feast on, Kong Skull Island doesn’t retain focus. Its nimble frames spoil your mood, and in that ambitious subtlety of Jordan Vogt-Roberts it becomes nothing but a fast forwarded wrestling match. It only stops, whenever it stops, to display a rad chopper shot in slo-mo or an angle that Jordan deemed necessary somehow to shoot because in his head it must have mattered beyond limit.
I think Brie Larson and Tom Hiddleston were nothing but wasted talents in a flick that only cared about theatrics. There’s no fitting stop, pause or breathe-moment where you get to actually see and feel for its characters.
They shouldn’t have agreed to do this flick in the first place. Whilst Tom’s shoes were easy to feel, anyone could have done what he did back there, Brie seems out of place too. She ends up becoming nothing but an irritating selfie woman who has to take photographs no matter how fatal the situation appears to be.
Death happens in a jiffy, without giving you time to experience grief. It’s been written like a glib with dispensable characters.
The Final Verdict
If you are planning to put Kong Skull Island up for comparison against the previous one, just a request – simply don’t! The movie doesn’t retain even an ounce of gravitas. It is merely for visual and theatrics, and to thrill you with its fight scenes, and to of course pave way for future sequels.
Legendary is obsessed with their monsters. They were promising us a monster hopscotch, and so we are going to get one. Just be patient. I think it must be around the corner.
You can watch the trailer of Kong Skull Island here: