War For The Planet With An Ape
King Kong is something of both a metaphorical and physical monster in cinema, he is a beast who cannot be contained or tied down, whenever a director tries to tussle with the big guy he is defeated, so will this new creature feature fair better? I suppose the real question is, is Kong still King?
What makes Kong: Skull Island so successful is that it has two distinctive and different storylines woven within the same film on the one hand we have the scientist and researchers who are just trying to survive on the island and get home, but running parallel to this is whole Heart of Darkness plot with an army general who just can’t let go of the war. These two stories could have easily grinded against each other and made for a gruelling watch, making us feel never fully satisfied with either tale, yet somehow it the pair run in perfect tandem with each other which only makes the final product even stronger. This is down to Jordan Vogt-Roberts masterful craftsmanship with narrative.
Monster movies are never an easy task for any director; you have to strike a balance between the human and the supernatural, and neither are forgiving masters. Jordan Vogt-Roberts does this with ease, he accomplishes the near impossible in Skull Island, he makes us care for Kong. Consider for a moment that is a feat that not even Peter Jackson could overcome. In comparison, King Kong is an over baked, ham fisted, CGI spot fest that didn’t really say anything of merit. Whereas Skull Island give us many ideas and thoughts to chew on long after the credits roll.
Even Skull Island’s soundtrack has something wider to say, it feels like it has emotions of it’s own, bringing out the inner beating and rhythm of the island itself. Every part of Skull Island is magnificent.
Every time we are introduced to Kong, the interactions are frantic, violent, and impactful. He is used of course sparingly but as usual this just makes his overall stock move valuable in the film. He is a physical presence like we have rarely seen in cinema and every second he is there matters. In Skull Island, Kong returns to his original roots. I respect Skull Island for not being overly Hollywood in its approach or it’s execution, in reality this is the film we wanted Godzilla to be.
While you would think with having such a strong and extensive cast list as Skull Island has, there might be a fight to the front of the queue to appear the most valuable asset, but because of the films set up were we have several characters split from each other there is enough space and screen time for everyone, each of them being reflections of the other.
Kong: Skull Island is this generation’s Jaws, there I said it, and it’s true.