It’s 1973, and the U.S. is withdrawing the military from the Vietnam jungles due to a ceasefire. As the war dies down, Captain Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) of the U.S. Army is going through a crisis: being war hungry but also having the integrity to follow all orders. When he gets a request to escort a gung ho conspiracy theorist played by John Goodman, he jumps at the idea of one last mission before heading back to civilian life.
Along with these two gung-ho members of the exploration, they are joined by James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston), the guide from British Special Forces; Mason Weaver (Brie Larson), the subjective anti-war photographer; and others such as John C. Reilly who steals the show while portraying a WWII pilot who has been stranded on the island since 1943. Reilly’s character, Hank Marlow, is charmingly witty man who looks similar to Tom Hanks from the blockbuster movie Castaway when Tom Hanks has grown a scraggly beard.
Skull Island is located in the South Pacific, and as the story goes, it is the last untouched place on earth, due to the protective wall of malicious storms that surround the island 24/7. This makes the island a gold mine for scientific research, hence the mission objective. The mission objective quickly changes from science to survival, as Kong comes into the picture without formal introduction, swatting down military helicopters like they are nothing but mere mosquitos disrupting his daily routines.
Compared to the 2005 film named King Kong, this movie has may differences. For one, Kong has grown quite a bit from then. Also this version of Kong does not include the cliche, and typically just odd, romance between Kong and the damsel in distress. I would say that this version of King Kong visually, and otherwise, blows all other version clear out of the park.
Kong: Skull Island isn’t just explosions and monsters though. It is also filled with dazzling special effects and beautiful scene locations that pleases the eye in every scene. With a budget of $185 million the crew was able to film in Hawaii, Vietnam, and Australia. Add a star studded cast, and it is truly proof that money can buy a great movie.
Oh and did I mention that this movie is setting up a King Kong vs. Godzilla movie that will be released some point after the sequel to the Godzilla (2014) movie. Other monsters from the Godzilla franchise will be featured in the duel movie (that plot point was revealed in an extra post-credit scene).
Overall, I rate this movie four out of five stars. It has a 1 hour 58 minute run time, and is rated PG-13. Strong language and sci-fi violence is used throughout this film.