Thursday, 9 March 2017

Kong Skull Island Film Review

I caught Kong Skull Island today. Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts. A hold on for dear life ride to an uncharted island somewhere deep in the Pacific. It's 1944 and in that theatre of war a US airman is taking on his Japanese enemy after both parachuted out of their burning planes. Just as the knife is about to cut the throat, two large furry hands appear.

Fast forward to 1973. The Vietnam War is drawing to a close and Bill Randa, played by John Goodman, and Houston Brooks, played by Corey Hawkins, are attempting to see Richard Jenkins's Senator Willis. They want him to underwrite their exploration of Skull Island. A mystery as big as the Bermuda Triangle. He finally agrees to give them the funding when Randa suggests the Russians may get there first, when they also see the satellite images.

In Vietnam Randa and Brooks tie up with ex-British Special Agent (!!) James Conrad, played by Tom Hiddleston. He will lead the expedition. And Brie Larson's Mason Weaver gets the gig as photographer. She has been out there covering the Vietnam War.

The expedition is to be given a military escort by Samuel L. Jackson's elite helicopter team. His Lieutenant Colonel Packard is all too happy to take on the new orders, even though the men are only one day away from shipping home. A great bunch of guys only looking forward to seeing their moms, kids and sleeping in their own beds

With a full geological crew including Tian Jing (The Great Wall) as a biologist, they set sail.

A terrible storm surrounds the island and the ship's Captain will not go any further. But the helicopter pilots are seasoned flyers and get through. They find the beautiful Skull Island. And once landed to set up camp, start dropping explosives to map the ground. But Kong appears within minutes smashing the helicopters like Dinky toys. Totally unexpected. A movie normally beds itself in before the action starts. But this was all go. The team is split into two groups and a lone airman with his dead colleague and crashed Chinook.

Packard demands Randa tell him everything about the expedition that he doesn't know. Randa admits he and Brooks work for Monarch. A secret government organisation that searches for signs of other life. And as the only survivor on a ship years ago in WWII no one would believe what he saw. This is his chance to prove what he saw was real.

And Kong is real. All 85ft of him. Skull Island is like Jurassic Park but with suitable footwear. Full of completely undiscovered spiders, ants, birds, sea monsters and huge water buffalos. Some of the native species more friendly than others. Kong is handy with his south paw!

And out of the jungle comes John C. Reilly's Marlow. The crashed airman from 1944. And he's really friendly. Did we win the war? Which war? Have the Chicago Cubs won the World Series? They'll never win! I saw then why the movie was set in 1973. So that he could still be alive. And of course the Vietnam era has great music and the filming owes a great debt to all the great Vietnam War films.

He tells the group with Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson, that Kong is the revered King of the island. He protects it from creatures that he calls Skullcrawlers. And attacked the helicopters when they were setting off the charges. Unknowingly disturbing them.

On the other side of the island the team led by Packard sets off to find Chapman the lone airman. And also take down Kong. Lieutenant Colonel Packard is still at war.

It was a great action packed fun movie. With a terrific cast. The ever reliable John Goodman, John C. Reilly and Samuel L. Jackson. Tom Hiddleston wasn't the star, it was a whole team effort. The soldiers all great guys. Lucky Brie Larson I thought as the sole female on the ship. But she wasn't there just to be pretty and faint helplessly at the sight of Kong.

The ending was very tender. Brought tears to my eyes. Cubs fans will love it.

Go see it when it officially opens tomorrow. And wait until after the credits for an Easter egg that sets up Kong Round 2. There just might be another King of the island

You know who.

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