With the success of “Godzilla” and “Pacific Rim”, it was bound to happen that Hollywood would bring back the notorious ape, King Kong. Universal was friendly enough to hand the right of King Kong to Warner Bros. and this studio used this character quicker than ever by announcing a King Kong vs Godzilla film after making a new King Kong movie.
The film is set in 1977. Bill Randa (Goodman) discovers an island and hires a team of soldiers and scientist to investigate. What they come to find is that they’re not alone and must survive with their new discoveries in order to get off the island.
The problems that came up in “Godzilla” was that there were few scenes that involved the reptilian monster and that there wasn’t any character development with anybody in that movie. “Kong: Skull Island” improves on these two things, but not by much.
Almost every character has little to no development and is meant to be killed by Kong. The biggest attempts into telling the audience about these characters past lives is with Hank Marlow (Reilly) and Preston Packard (Jackson). Marlow landed on the island during WWII and has lived on the island for over 20 years. His desire of knowing what he’s missed out on and telling the team about his wife helps make Marlow more likable. The first scene with Packard shows he’s a soldier who misses the war. This scene helps explain why he wants to kill Kong.
Yet these two also give the best performances in the cast, notably with the comedy. Every joke falls flat unless it came from Reilly or Jackson because their charisma helped with their timing.
These two are the only characters the movie lets us care for. There is a scene where Jack Chapman (Kebbell) is writing a letter to his son, but it isn’t delved into enough to leave an impact. If the ensemble was cut in half and focused on those characters, then there would be a huge improvement on letting the audience have a feeling for the characters.
When Kong is in the movie, it makes everything more appealing. He puts the audience in awe, making them wonder what will he do. Him fighting other monsters are the best moments in the scene because it’s what people want and it’s entertaining. Yet the editing is too stylistic with the repetitive slow motion shots to a point where it gets distracting.
For Vogt-Roberts first non-indie film, it was a decent attempt. The monster brawls are amusing with some decent composition shots. It’s just the editing is too stylistic and over the top, with characters that have little development and deliver flat jokes. It’ll be interesting to see how the future ‘Monsterverse’ will turn out, but going based off of this and “Godzilla”, we’ll at least have some fun.