Skull Island, set in the ‘70s and directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts was different than the other King Kong movies. The monster never climbed the Empire State Building, and never even came to America.
Most of the action is set on the remote Skull Island in the South Pacific. The movie opens with two pilots crash landing on this Island. One is Japanese and one is American. They fight until they are interrupted by Kong himself. Then there is a montage of snippets from the ‘70s and the opening credits roll. In a classic scene-type, William (played by John Goodman) goes to a bar to hire a tough-guy character James, (Tom Hiddleston) to be a tracker and lead his team around skull island on his expedition.
Once they are on the boat there is a suggestion of romance between James and the anti-war photographer who is fresh out of Vietnam, Mason (Brie Larson). However, this isn’t a half-romantic flick. There’s no recorded on-screen kiss, just subtle vibes throughout.
On the island itself they encounter the beast where he swats their helicopters out of the air, yet his hands or paws are mysteriously not damaged by the rotating blades.
It seems their reactive decision to fire on Kong immediately is quite literally jumping the gun… this will be seen later. After the helicopters crash-land, the separated groups explore the island on foot trying to get to a rendezvous point with the boat in three days time.
They encounter giant spiders, a giant water buffalo and natives. Hank (John C. Reilly), the American pilot from the opening sequence, has been adopted by the natives and his aging has slowed due to living with the tribe.
He reveals to the group that Kong is in fact protecting the island community by battling skull-lizards that live underground. They worship Kong and he makes their lives possible. In another part of the jungle, Colonel Preston (Samuel L. Jackson) is revving up his men to kill Kong for whittling down their numbers in the earlier helicopter smack-down.
The end is generally happy, though some people were eaten along the way by lizards or Kong. There are some pretty visuals of the sea and the mountainous island. If you like special effects these are fairly good ones, this might be a good movie to see. The acting isn’t breathtaking, but there are some hammed up moments and lines that fall flat. But the movie overall is quite a spectacle. Just what it sets out be.