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SKULL ISLAND — It’s not quite the summer movie season, but it’s close, and we’re starting to see some of the big summer movies peek their heads around the corner.
“Logan” opened up last week to rave reviews and a whole slew of money at the box office, and this week, we will see the opening of the monster movie “Kong: Skull Island.”
I didn’t have high expectations for “Kong” for a few reasons, including the fact it was supposed to be connected to the disappointing “Godzilla” from 2014. The trailer for “Kong” had promise, but overall, I was skeptical at best. Then the final trailer released and I have to say, I went from skeptical to cautiously optimistic. Then I went to the theater and walked out thoroughly entertained.
Here are a few reasons why “Kong: Skull Island” is a great time at the theater:
We know a Kong movie is going to be a movie littered with special effects, so they better be good. Peter Jackson’s 2005 “King Kong” was a massive disappointment, but it did have some stunning visual effects. This version of Kong delivers on the effects with what may possibly be the best-looking Kong we’ve seen on screen —not to mention the other monsters he takes on during the film.
Along with the 100-foot primate are some impressive visuals of the king’s home, Skull Island. The film was shot in Hawaii and Australia and contains amazing locales and imagery that truly seem to transport us to terrifying Skull Island.
The way director Jordan Vogt-Roberts shot the film will remind you of the Vietnam war film “Apocalypse Now” with its color palette and production design, which is fitting considering “Kong: Skull Island” takes place days after the United States removed itself from the conflict. The orange and yellow tones create a beautiful, yet terrifying tone that keeps you engaged the entire film.
Along with great visual effects, a good monster movie also needs great action. Vogt-Roberts really sets up some fantastic sequences to show off what Kong can do. One particular scene that stands out is when the crew arrives to the previously unknown Skull Island only to encounter the uncharted land’s ruler, Kong.
The scene is madness and chaos as helicopters fly in and Kong tries to keep them from destroying his home. It sets the tone for what we can expect for the rest of the film, and while most of the other action scenes don’t quite match this one, they are still plenty fun.
The movie gives us loads of King Kong action.
As I mentioned, “Kong: Skull Island” is filled with action and mayhem, but it’s also filled with some great humor, which was much needed.
This is an area where the 2014 version of “Godzilla” fell flat. The film took itself too seriously, but “Skull Island” didn’t make that mistake. The script is full of jokes and gags that will actually make you laugh out loud. I’m not saying the movie is a comedy, but it has its fair share of laughs and gives the movie a tone and rhythm that makes it both fun and funny.
John C. Reilly
A lot of the humor I mentioned comes from the scene-stealing performance of John C. Reilly. Reilly plays a World War II pilot who crash lands on Skull Island during the war and is stranded there for nearly 30 years before this new crew stumbles upon him.
As you can imagine, Reilly’s character is borderline insane after spending decades on the monster-filled island, but he’s a kind hearted fly boy who’s still stuck in the '40s and has knowledge for days on combating man-eating monsters.
Reilly turning in a hilarious performance is nothing new, but he really steals the show here, and between him and Kong, this movie is worth checking out.
Overall, “Kong: Skull Island” isn’t an amazing film, but it is a fun one and is the best time I’ve had at the theater in 2017. I know we’re not very deep into the year, but I still had a blast. This movie actually got me excited to see what Warner Bros. has planned for their shared monster movieverse.
“Kong: Skull Island” is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for brief strong language. Watch for Dave Clyde's full review on Friday of what parents should know about the movie's content.