MMT Quick Review of KONG: Skull Island by contributor Darryl King

“Gorillas, Gorillas, Gorillas in the Midst! – Ice Cube and the Lynch Mob

It’s the year of 2017 and everywhere you turn… gorillas are exploding over the entire entertainment spectrum. The Flash television series on the CW delivered a classic episodic event with the super ape, Gorilla Grodd and a gladiator battle in Gorilla City.

This summer, the blockbuster, “War Of The Planet Of The Apes” finishes an incredible trilogy of films about apes who take over Planet Earth. But there is one ape who looms larger than all the rest, perhaps the greatest and biggest ape of the all… the “King of the Apes”… KING KONG!

“KONG: Skull Island” is the most recent imagining of this giant ape monster, who since the 1930’s has been demonstrating his dominance in a world filled with mere mortals. Every iteration, from movies, tv, cartoons and print, has continued to flush out the mythos of who Kong is, where he came from and what’s his purpose. Is he foe or is he a hero? At times, in his illustrious history, Kong has been both but for the first time we get a story that focuses solely upon his homeland – the island that birthed him called “Skull Island.”

And it’s called Skull Island because there are many incredible creatures and monsters  who abide on this island with one basic principle – eat or be eaten – which leaves a plethora of bones; the treasures left over from the victories of the better combatant.

Speaking of victories, is the film itself victorious? “KONG: Skull Island” is a powerful, beautifully shot, and visually stunning film, with nods to the color palette and feel of “Apocalypse Now.” It’s a wonderful action film, with expert usage of special effects and story – while revealing an enchanted and demented mythos for Skull Island, and its history and inhabitants. The battle scenes between KONG and the monsters, along with his opening assault upon the helicopters and invasion, is timeless and priceless.

And the audience gets what it paid for… KONG! You don’t have to wait long to see him and his screen time prevails throughout the movie; unlike the last Kong film that spent an hour getting to the island and focused too much on the human characters.

However, with an action film like Skull Island, there needed to be a delicate balance between the star “Kong” and the characters in the movie. Skull Island enlists the power of major actors and actresses but fails to truly utilize them.

Samuel L. Jackson plays a military leader who is unable to fathom his role in a non-military world. His character is way over the top and beyond approach, even for a Samuel Jackson role. Tom Hiddleston is a captain with expertise in ground military, but unfortunately his character is very bland – lacking the spice his role demanded to make him cool.

Brie Larson is an updated version of the famous Fay Wray role, who by sheer beauty calms the beast. This film gave her more to do than just a damsel in distress, but it overcompensated by allowing her to be more adventurous than was needed or believable.

John Goodman is fine as the mischievous and lying businessman whose ulterior motives cause a domino effect of destruction, but it is John C. Reilly who on the surface seems to be the comic relief but becomes the only character that is fully developed and whose purpose becomes the glue of the film.

In the end, even with the character development flaws, what we come to see is KONG and he truly delivers! After the film, you want to see more from KONG… and more is coming. This is a movie that you must see in 3D IMAX.

Also, sit through the end credits – because there is a post credit scene that is worth your while and indicates a larger universe, a universe of monsters with a king… and his name is KONG!

Darryl King is a video director, film writer and avid Marvel/DC comic book/movie lover. Check out his reviews of Logan and Dr. Strange right here on MMT.

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