In this day and age, what can you buy for $190 million American dollars? In the case of Kong: Skull Island, those kind of funds will buy you a rollicking good time. Every few years it seems this old war horse gets a remake and this year’s version is one of its most successful editions. The GCI technology now made available to those with the right intention and budget have helped to make this Kong visually stunning, while the intelligent script that focuses largely on the human element make the character more sympathetic than it’s been since the days of Fay Wray.
The cast is chock full of Hollywood A-Listers including a man of the moment, Tom Hiddleston, the always popular Samuel L. Jackson (in a bad guy role) and even an attempt at some form of indie cred with Brie Larson, here getting her best Lara Croft on following her star turn in Room. The other A-Lister is that big bad monkey man, who this time out is big but not so bad.
The locations are exotic and the sets are stunning and the emergence of the big guy is played to full dramatic effect. Setting his early arrival amidst the shadows plays well to building the impact of his full reveal. It’s an interesting approach as it gives the film a pacing that engages until the final act as opposed to showing all early and leaving the audience nowhere to go.
The story is a very familiar one and it’s a nod to the filmmaker’s nous that they are so successful at breathing new life into a story so frequently told. Popcorn movies are big and often times bold but few of this ilk work as well as Kong: Skull Island.