Giant monster movies, or Kaiju films, are my bag! You put an enormous creature on the big screen and I’m probably going to eat it up. Hell, I’m still waiting for a proper sequel to Cloverfield. So you know that as soon as I heard there was a King Kong reboot heading our way it took a lot for my head not to explode. Sadly, when Kong: Skull Island hit theaters I was unable to make it out. Now, with Kong coming to bluray/digital I had a chance to sit down and take in the giant primate’s greatness! Join me as I take on Warner Bros newest release, Kong: Skull Island!
Kong opens in 1944, smack dab in the middle of World War 2. Two fighter pilots, on opposite sides of the conflict, crash land on a mysterious island. The two continue their fight on foot until their skirmish is broken up at the site of the title’s gigantic creature. Flash forward 30 years and we open on scientist Bill Randa (John Goodman) attempting to convince government officials of the existence of an unexplored island in the South Pacific. Under the guise of scientific geological exploration, Randa leads a military and research team (headed by Tom Hiddleston, Samuel Jackson, and Brie Larson) on a dangerous excursion through hidden land. As you can guess things go “not so according” to plan and the group must fight to escape the many inhabitants of “Skull Island”.
Let me start out by stating that this is not your run of the mill King Kong film. While there are brief moments of the “beauty and the beast” storyline seen in the origin story Kong films this is a mile a minute adrenaline rush. Honestly, this film closely resembles a Vietnam War film, which made the Southeast Asian country the perfect shooting location. This influence could even be seen in the film’s promotional art; one particular poster is a purposeful copy of classic war film, Apocalypse Now. Director, Jordan Vogt-Roberts places our characters in the trenches of an all-out battle between goliaths. That’s mainly where this film differs from the others before it. For example, while there are moments of terror in the Peter Jackson film, nothing compares to the “man vs beast” match ups we have in this latest incarnation.
This leads me to the visuals. This is, hands down, one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen. Each scene delivers a specific color pallet that draws the audience in. Not to spoil anything, but there is a particular scene that takes the color green and creates one of the craziest action sequences of all time. All of the color I wanted to see in Suicide Squad, can be seen in Kong! Along with the visuals, the music creates the perfect set piece for war. The mixture of Henry Jackman’s score and 60’s/70’s rock takes the audience through a range of emotions including hope and dread.
Now let’s talk the disc itself, and what everyone who has already seen the film is thinking about, EXTRAS! I’m here to tell you that this release does not disappoint. There are multiple making of/behind the scenes featurettes on the creation of Kong himself and shooting in Vietnam. There are also quick looks at Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson in their perspective roles. The feature I wanted to talk about most is the Monarch Files 2.0. This is a feature that continues over from the 2014 Godzilla bluray. Monarch is, of course, the agency put in place to deal with these “massive unidentified terrestrial organisms”. There are multiple parts to these files and each part deals with a specific aspect of the island and its inhabitants. It truly reminds me of the ghost stories on the Thir13en Ghosts DVD (2001). If you want more on the lore of these films, here’s where you’re going to get it. Along with these features we have very informative Director’s Commentary and various Deleted Scenes.
This is, in no doubt, my favorite Kong film since the original 1933 classic. While the other films are enjoyable in their own way, this is the only movie to truly capture the size and power of colossal primate. As a matter of fact, Kong is much more than a giant ape, he’s a god. That’s what’s brought to the screen here. If you want a fun, giant monster movie then look no further than Kong: Skull Island.