‘Kong: Skull Island’ Review Roundup: An Action-Packed Rehashing Of A 1930s Classic
Jordan Vogt-Roberts‘ Kong: Skull Island opens everywhere tonight, and has garnered a 79% on rottentomatoes.com. The film is a reimagining of how Kong came to be. The film stars Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Oscar winner Brie Larson, John Goodman and John C. Reilly as they venture to find Kong and, depending on the character, wish to kill or preserve the monster. The film is set in Vietnam in 1973, and is not subtle with its political references.
KONG: SKULL ISLAND REVIEW ROUNDUP
“Ultimately, the film’s Vietnam setting is less about warfare and history than finding an intoxicating canvas for a pretty old story. Kong: Skull Island is more about the monster clashes and, as the post-credit clip (a true commercial) proves, setting up future installments. A wider kaiju-verse is planned. King Kong, like many before him, has merely been drafted into a war not his choosing.”
–Jake Coyle, Associate Press
“The film is as overflowing with characters as it is with prehistoric monsters, which keeps things moving at a rapid clip… Skull Island is never boring, but it never sits still. The team of screenwriters privilege the characters, which is a good thing, but there are just too many here. Coupled with story beats that have to be hit, there’s just no room for anyone to breathe… The anti-war, anti-violence message serves as the moral of the story, but the more interesting theme is embodied by Jackson as the colonel who loses his grip with reality in the jungle.”
–Katie Walsh, Tribute News Service
“The giant ape returns, though this Jurassic Park knockoff takes place neither in the Depression era, which gave us the original King Kong (1933), nor in the present, when satellite photos would surely alert us to the existence of a 100-foot gorilla. Instead—and for no reason I can fathom, except perhaps the classic-rock tunes desired for the soundtrack—the story takes place in 1973, when the Vietnam war is winding down and President Nixon is being driven from office.”
–J.R. Jones, Chicago Reader
“Fans of the big, dumb action-adventure movie should go bananas for Kong: Skull Island, because movies don’t get much bigger and dumber than this creature feature. My own opinion, if I were still a 10-year-old boy: Best. Movie. Ever. My present-day opinion: It’s a good thing the monsters are so fun in a terrifying kind of way, because you won’t remember the characters or story after leaving the theater… There’s some fun to be had in these choices, and there are intense thrills to be had watching the beasties battle for the 10-year-old in all of us seeking that kind of adventure. Kong: Skull Island works on a pure-adrenaline level of excitement, fully aware that the audience isn’t here for a story, or the actors, but for the monsters and the destruction.”
–Michael Smith, Tulsa World
“You can’t keep a good monster down, especially in Hollywood. After years in storage, the mighty ape with the big teeth and the thing for pale blondes has been dusted off and digitally turbocharged for Kong: Skull Island. Once again, a lot of the noise and action involve guns, monsters and crashing jungle chases, but the most promising moments involve King Kong and the really little lady he unexpectedly meets… In Kong: Skull Island, the big guy has a new look and a new gal pal, Mason Weaver (Brie Larson), who’s somewhat feistier and certainly more sensibly dressed than her predecessors. She points and she shoots, and not just her camera… Skull Island has momentum, polish and behemoths that slither and thunder. The sets and creature designs are often beautifully filigreed, but the larger picture remains murky… Skull Island is adept at goosing you; it deploys action-movie feints and horror-film frights capably amid its clichés and deaths. Every so often it also pauses and allows Kong and Mason to move you. As each recognizes the other, they bridge the divide, but perhaps because their relationship is more empathetic than romantic, these encounters don’t have the resonance they should. Alas, beauty no longer has her beast, the beast no longer has his beauty and this darkness has no heart even if it will have a sequel.”
–Manhola Dargis, The New York Times
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