'Kong: Skull Island' is my new favourite monster movie

Kong: Skull Island (2017) - IMDbStory 

After the Vietnam War, a group of scientists head to a remote island in the South Pacific with the help of the American army and find more than they bargain for as they stumble across the home of Kong.

What I like about this story is that it's simple and straight to the point. That being said there is also more to it if you read into it. Movies like this don't need to be complex as it takes away from what you came for. That being  a giant gorilla.


This movie is filled with familiar faces, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, John Goodman, John C. Reilly, Toby Kebbell,  Corey Hawkins. The cast have brilliant chemistry and because all the characters are so different from each other it makes you curious as to how they would interact with each other and it doesn't disappoint.

The acting in this film on the whole is very good. The standouts were John C. Reilly, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson and Tom Hiddleston. Sam Jackson's character is one of the most interesting in the movie as his intentions are unwavering. He is one of the few that doesn't have a true character arc and because of that he is at odds with everyone else which makes for a compelling conflict as the movie goes one. John C. Reilly surprised me in this movie as his character in this one is different from his more comedic character (even though he has his comedic moments) which brings some much needed levity to some of the intense moments.


As mentioned earlier the story is simple but that doesn't mean the writing is. There are complex characters within a simple narrative which creates a nice balance. There is a very good balance between the two and even though this is a story driven ,movie you care about the characters. They all have their own reasons for doing what they do.

The movie was directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts who is relatively new to blockbuster film making but is you wouldn't know it when you watch this film. There is solid pacing and direction. The film runs at 1 hour 58 minutes but in that time you're introduced to all your characters and the main elements of the story. While on the subject of character introductions, Kong's introduction in this movie perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the movie. You never feel the movie slow down or waste time. All the characters are exactly where they should be as each of their interactions add more layers to the story and Kong and because of that, you see genuine growth in a lot of the characters. They don't end the movie the same way the start and because you're invested in that journey the end feels legit.

CGI/Set Design 

This movie is visually stunning. The CGI blends beautifully with the background and while this movie does rely quite heavily on CGI (It does have a giant gorilla in it) it never looks or feels out of place. The creature design is simple enough that there is instant recognition but complex enough that Kong feels human. The Oscar nomination for Best Visual Effects is well deserved.

This film has fantastic set design. While writing this review I checked if the movie was filmed on location and it was. That is what makes the film look authentic. I have no doubt that a green screen would look good but the look of this film perfectly matches the time period that is it set in.

The cinematography was done by Larry  Fong who did a phenomenal job. While watching it I paused numerous times just to stare at the image in front of me. There are certain set pieces that would make stunning painting (that I would buy). The colour grading in the film is also brilliant. The film looks muted and time appropriate while having colours that stand out and call out for attention.


The score was done by one of my favourite composers Henry Jackman and it also adds an air of authenticity to the film. The sound of the film is very psychedelic which is evident in both the score. What I love about the score is its duality. It goes from sounding like a 70's rock ballad to something more cinematic which also serves as auditory cue for what is going on in the film.

There is also brilliant use of silence. In the more intense moments there is complete silence which leaves both you and the characters in the movie on edge and because of that the moments that follow  more impactful.

Overall Thoughts

Kong: Skull Island might be my favourite monster movie yet. Mainly because it doesn't feel like one. Even though Kong is one of the main characters in the film and is a gorilla the size of a building, he still feels human and you see more of him humanity as the film goes on. He also has his ruthless moments which are incredibly entertaining.

The differing human characters make for an eclectic mix of people. They all  come form different places and have different motivations that overlap and because of that the conflicts they have feel real and organic. 

I'm now 100% game for Godzilla v Kong. Having two monster beat each other senseless sounds like a great time at the cinema.