King King is not a property or character I have a lot of affection for. I appreciate the craft of the original, the ground breaking effects are fascinating; and I get a kick out of Kong picking up people, putting them in his mouth and then taking them out of his mouth, dropping them and then stepping on them. The weirdness carries a lot for me. But the core story of “Beauty killed the Beast” is not one that ever resonated with me.
So this more pulp take on the character is one that inherently more appeal to me than something like the Peter Jackson version; which has too much reverence for the original. It becomes saddled by sentimentality and is just too long with too many pointless scenes. I had an ok time watching it but mostly I just don’t care about it.
This version of Kong himself moves away from just depicting Kong as a giant gorilla. He’s more humanoid, always standing upright on just his two legs. I like this change mostly because it means that Kong isn’t hunched over all the time and can wield his stature more effectively. I also really like that Kong here is just naturally a protector, a hunter of other monsters (Following in the model of Godzilla) and not just in love with a human girl.
Skull Island feels like a Kong movie by way of a movie adaptation of a Michael Crichton novel. To me it felt more like a throwback to 90s summer blockbusters (even though it’s set in the 70s). To me, this feels incredibly refreshing compared to most of the summer blockbusters we get these days.
This movie is flashy, overuses slow-mo, is really stupid, and a lot of fun. It completely delivered on what I wanted from it. Also importantly it has a breezy pace, with everything taking place under a strict time limit which helps keep everyone moving.
And there’s plenty of monster action, which is what I came to see. It doesn’t hit the single high point that Legendary Picture’s Godzilla does, but overall this is a much better movie.
I had a good time with this dumb movie. If they can bring more of this to their next Godzilla movie I’m stoked.