Tag Archives: Kong: Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island (2017), my thoughts


Well…I liked that a lot more than I thought I might. *various spoilers follow from this point*

This past Saturday afternoon I finally got to see Kong: Skull Island, the second installment in the giant monsters universe established by Godzilla (2014). Set in 1973 at the end of the Vietnam War, Kong follows an expedition led by Bill Randa (John Goodman) to the titular Skull Island, a previously unknown land mass that was only recently discovered by satellites. Randa claims the group (which is being escorted by a section of soldiers led by Col. Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) is there to study the geology of the island, but in truth, they’re also there to flush something out. That something being Kong…King Kong.

Kong destroys most of the expedition after they drop a series of “seismic charges” (i.e. bombs) on the island, unwittingly awakening a number of nasty monsters dubbed “skull-crawlers” by a character we meet later on. The survivors are initially separated over a wide area, but they are soon joined into two groups: one led by Col. Packard, the other led by James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston), a former captain in the SAS. The goal is to make it to the north side of the island where they can signal their ship for a rescue. Naturally things don’t do according to plan.

A large section of the film is devoted to watching numerous characters get picked off one by one by the various oversized creatures that inhabit the island (one of the most terrifying incidents involving a giant spider with legs that resemble bamboo trees), as well as the skull-crawlers (which are rapidly growing in size). Conrad’s group encounters the Iwi, a tribe that have been living on the island since time immemorial. Among them is a surprise: Lt. Hank Marlow (John C. Reilly), an American pilot shot down in 1944 by a Japanese pilot (who also crashed along with him). For the last 28 years he’s been living with the Iwi, and now he has a chance to leave with Conrad’s group (even though he’s pretty sure the skull-crawlers (the name he gave them because it sounded scary) will get them first). Marlow and Conrad’s group (which includes female photographer Mason Weaver) depart on a boat Marlow and his former Japanese enemy cobbled together from their wrecked planes before a skull-crawler nabbed the latter and head upriver towards their destination. But once they meet up with Col. Packard’s group, Conrad and company realize that something is seriously wrong.

Col. Packard is a very interesting character, and a great case study in how war can change a man for better or worse. Packard has been a soldier for a very long time now, and has earned multiple decorations, but with the end of the Vietnam War, he is struggling to find his place in the world (that’s why he happily accepted the order to escort the group to Skull Island, as it gave him something to do). Seeing Kong wipe out a large portion of the men he’s commanded for several years has given Packard an unbreakable fixation: to kill Kong by whatever means necessary, even if it means they all die in the process. I believe that, in Packard’s eyes, Kong is the living embodiment of the war in Vietnam that never got finished. Against the warnings of Conrad and Marlow (the latter attempting to explain that Kong is the only thing keeping the skull-crawlers at bay), Packard comes up with a plan to trap Kong in a lake filled with napalm while Conrad leads his group to the north. At the last minute, Conrad returns and convinces most of the soldiers to stand down, but not Packard, he simply can’t let go of what happened to his men. As a result, he is the latest victim of Kong’s rage.

The flight to the northern coast is dominated by a massive fight between Kong and the largest of the skull-crawlers (which was awakened by the large napalm explosion). It’s a titanic battle, and very well executed (the CGI doesn’t look fake at all). Ultimately, Kong is successful, the skull-crawler is killed and Conrad and the others rendezvous with their ship, while Kong watches from a distance.

There’s so much more to the story that I’m leaving out, but I don’t want to completely spoil everything. There is a loose connection to Godzilla where M.U.T.O’s are mentioned (the same term is used in the earlier film) and a post-credit scene (that I completely missed) sees two characters informed of the existence of other giant monsters besides King Kong (which is apparently the lead in to Kong and Godzilla squaring off in three years time, still not sure how I feel about that by the way).

My one complaint with the film is that there were a few too many characters to keep track of. I understand why this is (as most of these side characters end up dead), but as a result most of the people we meet aren’t as fleshed out as they might have been with a slightly smaller ensemble.

Favorite moments include:

Any and all scenes including Tom Hiddleston, especially a scene in the second half of the film where, in the midst of poison gas, he dons a gas mask, grabs a samurai sword (long story) and goes completely medieval on a bunch of monsters

The fight between Kong and the giant octopus

Kong’s backstory, as explained by Marlow, which really explains a lot about what Kong is doing on the island (it doesn’t explain EVERYTHING, but it does help)

Kong: Skull Island really is a good movie, especially if you’re looking for a fun two hours filled with action (and the slightest HINT of romance), so I recommend it to anyone who hasn’t seen it yet.

Disturbing Disney will return tomorrow!! Until then!! To see more of my random thoughts on film, see here


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Looking forward to new films in March!

Who else can’t believe that March 1st is TOMORROW? Seriously, wasn’t it January 1st yesterday? That’s what it feels like anyways. This is a month I’ve been waiting for, as a LOT of movies I want to see are finally coming out. I want to see a record number of films (record number for me that is); FOUR to be exact. If all goes according to plan, this is what I’ll be seeing (and happily blogging about afterward):

  1. Logan (coming out March 3rd): Ever since that trailer came out with X-23 attacking the clerk in the convenience store, I’ve been on the edge of my seat waiting to see this film. This is my last chance to watch Hugh Jackman play Wolverine and I’m not going to let the opportunity pass me by (even if I am afraid of what’s going to happen to him by the end of the film). Hopefully I’ll get to see Logan this weekend so stay tuned!

2.     Sword Art Online: The Movie (March 9th): It’s a little known fact with me that Sword Art            Online is my absolute favorite anime of all time (even more than Sailor Moon). So            when I heard that Sword Art Online was getting a feature film, I was excited. When I heard that said film would be granted a US premiere, I was thrilled. And when I discovered that said film would be screening in the city where I live, I about jumped over the moon! Sword Art Online started as a story where 10,000 gamers were trapped in a virtual reality game called (you guessed it) Sword Art Online (SAO for short). Kirito (our hero) and Asuna (our heroine) escaped, along with several thousand others, but the legacy of what happened in that game has followed them ever since. In this full length film, Kirito and Asuna encounter a new game: Ordinal Scale, that is based off of Augmented Reality (AR) instead of full Virtual Reality (VR) as their past games have been. The intrigue starts when monsters from the first SAO game begin appearing in Ordinal Scale, and it is implied that there is a huge twist somewhere in the story. I’m so excited to see this film, as it is showing for one night only!

3. Kong: Skull Island (March 10th): This is the one film that I’m not 100% excited for, because I’m not sure if it will be awesome or a complete dud. To be honest, I’m not completely sold on the idea of having a film franchise that leads to King Kong fighting Godzilla (there are so many ways that could go wrong). That being said, Kong: Skull Island does have Tom Hiddleston (always a plus), who may or may not be the biggest reason I’m going to watch this film. I hope at the very least that Skull Island proves to be a popcorn film like The Legend of Tarzan proved to be last summer.

4. Beauty and the Beast (March 17th): It’s almost here!! I am so excited about this film, even if it is a straightforward retelling of the animated film (though I’m sure there must be SOME differences in there, somewhere). I have deliberately avoided listening to any singing clips, as I want to go in as unbiased as possible (I hold the animated Beauty and the Beast film in high reverence). I must say I love the look of the enchanted objects (especially Cogsworth), I’m actually okay with the look of the Beast (it’s clearly motion capture but it doesn’t look “fake” either).

It’s going to be a crazy month trying to see all of these movies (and there’s a comic con in the middle too!) but I’m going to have a lot of fun doing it! What films are you looking forward to seeing next month? Let me know in the comments below. I hope everyone has a great rest of the day! -Becky

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