The latest entry in King Kong’s filmography is full of beautiful and gory entertainment
King Kong is one of the most iconic movie monsters, appearing in eight films since his introduction to the silver screen in 1933’s King Kong. His impact is still felt in film—the scene when Kong climbs the Empire State Building has been remade and parodied countless times.
Nevertheless, Kong has come crashing back into theatres with director Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ Kong: Skull Island, an oddball in a monster-saturated market. There appeared to be no real demand for a new Kong film, especially since there has been no appearance of the character since 2005’s King Kong. But the film may well have revived the old sense of wonder at this true king of the jungle.
The film stars Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson, and is set during the Vietnam War. Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard (Jackson) and his troops are called upon to escort an expedition to the newly-discovered Skull Island, a primeval Eden where anything seems possible.
As the war is reaching its peak, there is a race to control this new, untapped island between the Americans and the Russians, both after the valuable resources that might be present. Except, unbeknownst to either party, something big is defending the island. As Packard’s troops enter the island’s airspace, their helicopters are attacked by a 100-foot-tall gorilla in a memorizing action sequence. King Kong grabs helicopters and smashes them against each other, killing half of the crew. The survivors are now scattered around the island without any means to escape.
The film is visually stunning and shot on 70-millimetre film, a practice which is gaining popularity, as it allows filmmakers to create highly-contrasted images. There are a lot of vibrant colours, and the movie seems to be stylistically influenced by 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road’s action sequences. The directors make the most of the film’s 1970s setting by choosing a musical score of classic rock songs which set a humorous tone.
The film creates a real sense of danger, as some of the main characters are killed off in an unexpected and often gut-wrenching ways. The movie opted for a realistic, more horror-oriented approach to King Kong.
Kong: Skull Island is a film for monster movie fanatics who have been disappointed by the family-friendly approach of movies like Jurassic World and Pacific Rim.