Movie Review: "Kong: Skull Island"
Bill Randa (John Goodman) leads an expedition to a mysterious island known as Skull Island. The expedition is meant to explore the island and uncover whatever resources the island holds. Bill Randa is joined by a former British special forces member (Tom Hiddleston), an anti-war photographer (Brie Larson) and a military escort (lead by Samuel L. Jackson). The large group gets to the island via helicopters and they start dropping seismic charges to help survey the island. They quickly meet Kong, a giant gorilla that protects the island and meets them with severe hostility for dropping seismic charges on his island. The group is now stranded on the island without a working helicopter and must get the aid of a World War II veteran (John C. Reilly) that has been stranded on the island for approximately 30 years. With his aid, the group must get to the extraction point, at the correct time, if they have any hope of getting home. What they soon discover is that Kong is not the only monster on this island.
Very Full Cast (-10pts)
John C. Reilly (+5pts)
Too many creatures (-2pts)
Action & Pacing (+10pts)
Helicopter Crash (-4pts)
Pro - Kong (+10pts)
Some may know, some may not know, but this movie takes place in the same universe as the recent Godzilla movie. The reason I bring this up, is my main concern going into this movie. If you have seen 2014's Godzilla, then you know the major issue with that movie. Godzilla was hardly in it! Knowing this and knowing that Kong: Skull Island is made by the same studio and producers, I was concerned that we would see very little of Kong. I was very pleased when I saw this movie and found out that the opposite is true. We see Kong right from the beginning. Then we see him often and we see him kicking tons of monster butt. We truly see him as King and protector of this island. Most of this movies' success (as far as being a good movie or not) depends on how well Kong was used. Thankfully he was used incredibly well in Kong: Skull Island.
Con - Very Full Cast (-10pts)
I think this movies' main issue was how full the cast was. There were way too many characters that the movie tried to focus on which led to none of them getting proper character development. I would have liked to have learned more about any of these characters but, because there were so many, I did not learn enough about any of them. This may not seem like a huge issue but poor character development lead to me not being properly invested in almost any character, John C. Reilly was the only exception. So when any monster showed up to threaten the group, I did not care and was not worried about anyone being killed or eaten. I think this hurt the movie a bit but thankfully there were enough good qualities to make up for it.
Pro - John C. Reilly (+5pts)
John C. Reilly was easily one of the better parts of this movie. The only reason I couldn't give more points for this, was because John C. Reilly was a side character at best. As I previously stated, the movie is filled with more main-characters that I did not care about and got no character development for. John C. Reilly got a fair amount of character development and the movie was significantly more entertaining whenever he was on screen, but he was still just a side-character. I think the movie could have done without a few of the main-characters to make John C. Reilly more of a focal point. I cared about his storyline more than the others, he was more entertaining than the others and he was really the only one I wanted to get home. John C. Reilly was great in this film and I think most people will agree.
Con - Too Many Creatures (-2pts)
Some may not mind this element of the movie at all, and to be fair, I only included this here because I couldn't find anything else to include in the Con's list. Anyway, there were a lot of bizarre creatures in this movie. Almost all of them seemed to have a body part that resembled nature and most of the predatory creatures only appeared alone which was conveniently on-at-a-time so that our group could overcome it. On one hand, I get that the filmmakers wanted to give new and interesting threats to keep the movie feeling fresh, but some of these creatures felt ridiculous and out of place to me.
Pro - Action & Pacing (+10pts)
This was an action packed, entertaining movie from beginning to end. Helicopter action, military action and, most of all, monster action. The action in this movie was great, it happened often but it was spread out enough so that it never felt redundant. It was complimented by comedy and the progression of the human' goals as they discover everything that this island contains. Kong: Skull Island is an action heavy film that utilizes comedy and adventure to compliment he great action sequences. This movie found a great balance which resulted in a film that is fun and entertaining from beginning to end.
Con - Helicopter Crash (-4pts)
One of the more ridiculous parts of the movie, involves helicopters but I will be as vague as possible to avoid spoilers. The action in this sequence was great but I was a little taken back by how many people survived separate helicopter crashes. Now, I know that I am no expert when it comes to crashes such as these but I really feel like less people should have been able to walk away from the carnage in this scene. I get why the filmmakers wanted these people to walk away but maybe change the plot slightly to give a more believable scene. Sure, I should not be complaining about "believable" when talking about a movie featuring a giant gorilla fighting giant monsters but a movie needs to follow the rules it sets up. There is nothing extraordinary about the people that survived the helicopter incident which means there should not have been so many survivors. Did this hurt the movie much? No, but it is a bit of a plot hole because it showed helicopter crashes as being harmless.
Rating: B- (84pts)
This movie was everything it needed to be. Was it perfect? No. It's biggest issue was simply that the film was too crowded which made for main characters that were under developed which made an audience of people who did not fear for these character's lives. The standout of the group was John C. Reilly who made the movie exponentially more entertaining whenever he was on screen. He was both the heart and humor of the movie, I only wish we could have gotten more from him. Aside from that, this movie is full of great, epic, monster related action from beginning to end. This is an epic blockbuster movie that deserves to be seen on the big screen.