Kong has been a character of great interest in my life. I used to watch the old Jessica Lange and Jeff Bridges movie all the time as a small kid. I also enjoyed the original (even though I made fun of the special effects a bit). Then the Peter Jackson version came out in 2005 and blew me away. Over the years, it has grown into one of my favorite films of all time. I just feel it was about as beautiful and exciting a version of the Kong story as anyone could possibly ask for. So, it’s safe to say that I was pretty excited to see a new version of Kong.
Which may also be why I am a little disappointed in this latest iteration. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this movie and I’m recommending that you see it, but it’s in no way on par with the qualities of the last film. The wonder, awe, and beauty that defined the emotional core of that film is gone. The exceptionally choreographed action sequences are gone. And essentially what we get is a really well shot creature feature with a lot of really good actors. Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Huddleston, Brie Larson, John Goodman, and many more all deliver the best work they can within the confines of this script.
What the movie is most interested in is delivering thrills. None of the thrilling sequences are particularly stunning in the way they were choreographed or conceptualized, but they are certainly exciting and several are fairly memorable. I particularly enjoyed the first major set piece where Kong brings down the helicopters. I had already seen much of it in the trailers, but to watch the whole thing was fairly exciting. It wasn’t in the league of Kong fighting the V-Rex’s or his last stand with the Air Force on top of the Empire State Building, but it was cool enough to justify its existence.
The story here is not much different from other iterations of Kong. A man named Bill Randa (John Goodman) believes there are monsters on Skull Island. So, he hires a mercenary (Hiddleston), photo journalist (Larson), and soldiers (led by Sam Jackson) to go on a expedition. Of course, they don’t know what they are really looking for and are super surprised when giant monsters begin attacking. However, the twist here is that they don’t have interest in capturing Kong. Instead, this movie goes the direction of ‘The Lost World’ and juxtaposes half the survivors trying to escape while a few others track down the monster. It’s nothing new, but it works.
That’s not what most are going to care about though. Most audiences are going to want to watch monsters fighting monsters, monsters attacking survivors, and did I mention monsters? Of course I did. That’s why you are going to see this movie, and on that level it delivers the goods. If you want something more then go see Peter Jackson’s ‘King Kong’. This is a pure creature feature here.