Movie Review: “Kong: Skull Island” – Unnecessary Re-make

Written by Caitlin Cooper May 01, 2017

kong: skull island

In an effort to re-make classic monster films, we’ve now been given a remake of King Kong. However, Kong: Skull Island bears little resemblance to the story we all know, and in fact manages to take good source material and make is rather lacklustre. It’s got a cast full of big names (like Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, and Tom Hiddleston). It’s got a lot of CGI. And it’s got a script that’s a bit of a letdown. Prepare yourselves.

In Kong: Skull Island, a team of scientists, a photographer, a special agent, and the army journey to an uncharted island and in doing so unknowingly enter the domain of Kong, a great king who protects the natives against the evil creatures that once flourished. But their arrival sparks Kong’s protective side, and unleashes countless dangerous creatures. Together, they must fight to escape the island and stay out of Kong’s way. Along the way, vengeance takes root and lives are lost.

“An uncharted island. Let me list all the ways you’re gonna die: rain, heat, disease-carrying flies, and we haven’t started on the things that want to eat you alive.”

The problem with re-makes is that it’s hard to not compare it to the ones that came before. What strikes me the most about Kong: Skull Island is that while trying to reinvent a classic story, it somehow lost the heart of the original. Where’s the bond between Mason (Brie Larson) and Kong? We see them meet for an awkward 2 minutes, and from then on it’s love? That relationship was meant to be the heart of the story, the anchor. So it feels off that the relationship is brief and weak. However, in Kong: Skull Island, Kong is revered by the natives, not feared. He’s a protector. The natives also aren’t 100% painted as “savages” who kill first and ask questions later. So that’s something. I like that Kong lives in harmony with the natives, and that his family has protected them for generations.

kong: skull island

But then, what else is left of the story? Well, you have a man stranded on the island since the war. You have a scientist who lied about why he wanted to go to the island. You have a Colonel who’s determined to kill Kong in retaliation for Kong killing his men. The latter story-lines are perhaps predictable and typical, but also weak. If you know a giant animal can kill you with one swipe of his hand, why not focus your energy into getting away from him rather than antagonizing him? If you know there are other creatures on the island who can also easily kill you, then leave ASAP. It defies logic. The more interesting story is the man who was stranded on the island for years, and thankfully that story gets a decent amount of screen time.

“This world never belonged to us, it belongs to THEM. The only question is how long we have before they take it back.”

So with a fairly weak script, Kong: Skull Island then has to fall back on is its action sequences and incredible CGI. The CGI is, simply put, very well done. You can see so much detail in Kong himself, and the monsters are interesting as well. The creatures on the island – good and bad – are cool as well. The fight scenes themselves are big in scale, and are sure to please any fan of monster movies. However, it feels like they drag on sometimes, and stretch the imagination just a little. Fire? No big deal. Get tossed around and seem dead? Too easy; Kong has to do some more ripping and punching.

Kong: Skull Island

If you don’t want to read too much into your action movies, then you’ll probably be able to just sit back and enjoy Kong: Skull Island. But I like action movies with a healthy side of good plot. The film is left open for a sequel and of course that’s the case. Make sure you stay to watch the credits scene, and then maybe you too will feel like “Oh, so that’s where this was going?” Or maybe you’ll be excited for the next big screen monster film.

My Rating: 4/10

kong: skull island

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About Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin is an avid watcher of movies and television shows so she decided to use her passion to write about them. She has a B.A. in English Language and Literature with a Minor in Creative Writing.

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