*Minor Spoilers*

Let’s get this review off to a good starting run out of the gate; Kong – Skull Island sucked. There, I’ve said it. Now you do not need to read the rest of this review. You do not need to give this film any more of you attention.

Still here? Okay, let’s press on.
So the last King Kong film was a bit of a mess. It was long winded and a bit silly, but I seem to have good memories of watching it. I remember being on holiday and it was on in the hotel and as the missus was getting ready, I was sitting watching it.
I had heard that this Kong film was suppose to out-do the Peter Jackson one, looking like it was going to be a bit gritter and more action packed (as seen from the trailers of US soldiers flying around in hueys firing machine guns), and whilst the film was more action packed, I couldn’t help but feel greatly disappointed with this newest incarnation of everyone’s favourite enormous ape (the title of favourite ape goes to Caesar from the reboot series of the Planet of the Ape movies).

With a cast of the likes of some well known actors, such as Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L Jackson, John C Reilly, and John Goodman, as well as a lot of recognisable actors and actresses from various other films and TV Shows, I thought we would be on to a winner. After watching it, I was truly amazed that some many well known actors would sign onto this piece of dribble.

The story follows a group of scientists and soldiers as they travel to the mysterious Skull Island to explore it, however, the MOMENT they get close to the island (after getting through some strange whirlwind thing), things go wrong, in both the sense that the characters get themselves into a predicament, and the film itself goes greatly down hill. Kong is introduced almost instantaneously, leaving no shock to the characters or the audience. Okay, the audience know that they are going to see a King Kong film, so maybe I will let that slide, and maybe because of just how big they decided to make Kong (stupidly in my opinion, but I think that is to maybe make him take on Godzilla in a later film?), they really couldn’t have them not see him the moment they arrived on the island.

I think the film might have been set in the seventies, judging by how much the film makers desperately wanted to make a Vietnam war film. If its not classic tunes we’ve heard before in those war films, then its the uniforms and the weapons, as well as soldiers being stranded in the jungle, that gave it away. Any chance they get they blast another 60s-70s era tune out of the side of door-less helicopter, which soldiers lean out of, lighting cigarettes with “Born to Kill”-esc writing on their helmets.
Again, this was not necessarily a bad film. I am just merely point this out. If I was asked to make a Vietnam film, then I would have done the same thing.

The thing that is bad with Kong is that it all feels a bit silly. The plot is madness and totally not what you expect. Its admirable that they’d try and make an entirely knew story, and origin, to the classic towering ape, but it was not done overly well in my opinion. The inclusion of the strange new creatures did add an interesting twist to the established formula, but I think even if they had stuck to the classic dinosaurs, of which Skull Island was famous for, then it would have been enough.
The issue was that the second the mission was ruined, we have two separate stories. Samuel L Jackson and his soldiers, on a mission to kill Kong, and all of the “Good” characters who just wanted to get home. These two story-lines, added into the mix with Kong’s origins, just created too much for the film to cover. In the end we get a plot that is really all over the place.

The action of the film was okay. The scenes involving the new creatures were probably the only highlights of the film. A particularly good battle scene in a mass graveyard of enormous creatures was reasonably well done, but there were just silly moments thrown into the mix, maybe just to try and bring a bit of humour to it. You can see this throughout the film, especially when John C Reilly is brought into it. He is there purely for comic effect, although his character and his backstory were one of the most interesting of all. I wanted to see more of his character on a serious level and the effects of what would happen if he got off the island. There were a lot of moments like this, ones that were almost good, but never reached their full potential. Which just left me feeling disappointed.

What Kong: Skull Island felt like was a good idea on paper that was poorly executed. It was an interesting concept and if you were to write the plot of the film down, then you would think that it did sound good. However, I have been fooled by this before (see: Predators). A good idea is not enough to carry a film, and in this particular film, poor decisions made by both the writer and the director have ruined this film and possibly the franchise as a whole. I cannot imagine that this would get a sequel, or a film where Kong is battling Godzilla, and it would seem that we will have to wait a few more years before Hollywood decide to reboot the series once more.

I would say that if you did want to watch a brain-dead throwaway movie that you come away thinking “Well… that was all a little bit silly”, then Kong: Skull Island is for you. It is a shame as the film did really have a lot of potential. I mean the trailers did not make it look amazing, but that is not always the case. Most of the time when a film has a decent trailer, it turns out to be a bit rubbish (see: Prometheus), where as other times a film can come completely out of left-field and you come away thinking that you really enjoyed it. Unfortunately this is not one of those movies.

It seems that Kong will need to wait on Skull Island a little bit more until the day when he can be brought to the city with flashing lights and be unleashed upon us all in total awe of his magnificence.

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