Kong: Skull Island stands tall by committing to its concept

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Christoph Russi ’17

“Kong: “Skull Island”, directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts, was a fun movie to watch. I suppose I didn’t go into it with any other desire than to be entertained for two hours, and it certainly didn’t market itself as anything more than just that– an entertaining brawler monster movie with a very big ape. However, even if it didn’t seek to outreach its concept, there was a certain exceptionality to it. It actually executed its premise in a way that wasn’t stale or heavy-handed.

The villain, played by Samuel L. Jackson, wasn’t just some flat trope that set out to be contrarian. He had actual reasons for being an antagonist. There’s subtlety to the tones of environmentalism, media manipulation and Vietnam-era attitudes on foreign nations. The location was beautiful, the beasts were creepy and threatening and John C. Reilly was in it. John C. Reilly is absolutely hilarious in just about every role he takes, and if you haven’t watched “Dr. Steve Brule’s ‘Check it Out’” on YouTube, you really should. In fact, his character was probably the highlight of the film for me.

Unlike some of its predecessors, Skull Island isn’t an awkward Hollywood fusion of romance, drama and action. It commits to the monster-flick genre through and through. The simplicity of the giant-bashing genre in coordination with the film’s directive approach is what makes this piece tick. There are notable stylistic choices in camera use, visuals and music, and it also helps to have an all-star cast that knows what they are doing. The humans in the story exist to facilitate Kong, who is the real lead of the story. That being said, these actors know how to add enough character to their roles to engage the viewer. Kong works by being exactly what it has to be and not overreaching.