I wasn’t quite sure how this was going to go given how many times the source material has been used over the years. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised with both the execution and the prospect of expansion they teased with the end credit scene. I won’t spoil it for you but if have yet to see the film stay for the credits. They went away from the old storylines where they take Kong from his home and bring him back to NYC to climb the empire state building and swat planes. I like this latest rendition better than the Peter Jackson version because it strayed from the usual plot line and it placed an importance on Kong not present in other iterations. Kong in this film is more than a huge mindless overgrown ape, and its refreshing. Not to mention that they waste no time in introducing him to the viewers unlike the latest Godzilla film, but it that films case I agreed with it to a degree because that’s what they did in a lot of the Godzilla films.
John Goodman plays a survivor of some old attack on a ship from years past who has put together a team of researchers that are looking for a mystical island that for some reason (insert Bermuda triangle cliche) they cannot easily find and travel to where the thing that attacked the ship now resides. With the help of a politician he finds passage and a military escort to see if the legend of this island is true. The other group is a research group as well that you would recognize if you watched the 2014 Godzilla known as Monarch which searches for M.U.T.O’s the acronym for massive unidentified terrestrial organisms. Not sure why they couldn’t just say big ass monsters other than wanting to sound cool and I’m not sure they succeeded.
I also noticed they changed the time frame for this version as well. Samuel L. Jackson plays the part of a Colonel of a Marine helo unit tasked with escorting these scientists to the island to aid in their research mission. He decides to take this mission fresh off a tour in Viet Nam instead of rotating home as the war has just ended. His role is a bit cliche but I don’t mind it because it’s Samuel L. Jackson. I love what he brings to the table even if he ends up being the same character in nearly every film. In Star Wars had he uttered “The Force MF do you feel it?!!” to be honest I would have rolled with it, but that’s just me.
John C. Reilly who plays Hank Harlow a WWII vet who’s been stranded on the island since then is easily one of my favorite characters in this film. He is funny here and not over the top stupid he normally goes for which is what makes it enjoyable here since someone stranded on an island for years with people he can’t verbally communicate with while surviving the other dangers presented in this place might make one kind of loopy to say the least. Essentially he is our guide to this place, and rather nonchalantly explains the dangers in a dead pan fashion to the group of other protagonists. Like most of us watching his outlook is not favorable but not in a whiny way.
Brie Larson plays Mason Weaver an anti-war photojournalist which I initially cringed at because it seemed the damsel in distress role was just being recycled here but I was pleasantly surprised that they at least changed the dynamic between Kong and young blond haired woman here. It’s still present in this film but ultimately not as in your face as before. She’s not chained down as a sacrifice in a white dress as Kong goes crazy trying to get her back here. (Although I must shamefully admit I thoroughly enjoyed the scene in Peter Jackson’s version where Kong knocks her over repeatedly and dies laughing the whole time at seeing her fall.) Tom Hiddleston plays Conrad a former British special forces operative turned mercenary tracker. I like him as Loki but he feels unnecessary and forced on us as the “love interest” for the photographer. Plus he’s under used but that’s not his fault…get your money Tom!
Like I stated initially I was pleasantly surprised at this film and there’s not much for me to gripe about. The action is well done and I like the visuals of the island, it’s people and the other creatures we are introduced to. The plot is interesting with some changes from what they normally give us with a Kong movies plus it seems as if they will tie it into other films which should be awesome for fans of these types of movies. They did seem to borrow a little bit from Pacific Rim but I’m not even mad at that. Pacific Rim was all flash whereas this film has more substance to it which is always a good thing. I would advise anyone remotely interested in Godzilla, Mothra, King Kong, and the like to go see this film while it’s still in theaters. You’ll enjoy it! Let me know what you think in the comments below.