MvVO Art Launches AD ART SHOW

Once Again Kong Remains King in “Kong: Skull Island”

Once Again Kong Remains King in “Kong: Skull Island”

Kong: Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island

Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts

Stars Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, John Goodman, John C Reilly

Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson

Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson

Though this new re-boot of the cinematic classic offers a buffed-up, adrenalized version of the legendary King Kong character, director Jordan Vogt-Roberts retained most of the structural elements of the original’s narrative. Though scrambled, rebalanced and transformed, mostly for the better, he resets this story to take place in 1973 in order to put into play a whole new mythology built around the advent of the mega-monsters. The two lovers are here — in this case, reconfigured to be former British Special Air Service Captain James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) and pacifist photojournalist Mason Weaver (Brie Larson) but their story is really sublimated compared to the implicit political message embedded in this version.

Much like the original storyline, a team of explorers and soldiers travel to an uncharted Pacific island thinking they are there to do scientific research only to discover a world of monsters, including a mythic super-sized, gorilla-like Kong. But unlike the 1933 version, all the action takes place on the island which stands in for an entirely ancient world.

That does mean the film riffs not only on the original; there are homages to all sorts of cinematic tropes such as Apocalypse Now and the Jurassic Park films among others. In this new film, Samuel L. Jackson — who plays a demented Colonel Packard bent on taking revenge on Kong for killing most of his men — repeats his famous line, “Hold onto your butts,” from 1993’s Jurassic Park — another film about an island beset by giant creatures that Jackson appeared in. So besides the obvious suggestion of “Apocalypse Now’s” Colonel Kurtz, the raging Jackson provides a character rife with references.

Besides that, given the director’s comic background (he did Comedy Central’s “Mash-Up” and the film “Kings of Summer”), Vogt-Roberts couldn’t resist brings in John C. Reilly, an actor who provides a light touch of comic relief to what is otherwise a very serious life-threatening sequence of gruesome death scenes. As most of the crew pushes forward — unaware that they are crossing into a forbidden domain of unearthly ancient beasts, Hank Marlow (Reilly) suddenly appears as a marooned World War Two pilot, who guides them to safety and, essentially, explains the plot twists to everyone, cast and audience.

Though audiences might assume this ape will succumb in the same way as the first version, that’s not the case (no spoilers here but sequels will include many other familiar monsters). It’s most of the characters who die. But that a strength about this film where most of them were annoying anyhow. Much like other recent beast fare in theaters (“Logan” and “Beauty and the Beast”) “Kong: Skull Island” provides a worthy rethink of this source material for audiences to gnaw on.

More in Film

James Franco

James Franco May Have Won The Critics Choice Awards But He Wasn’t There To Accept

Suzanna BowlingJanuary 11, 2018
Quentin Tarantino

Tom Cruise to Star in Tarantino Epic about Charles Manson

WriterJanuary 9, 2018
Pasek and Paul

Golden Globes: And The Winner Is Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

Suzanna BowlingJanuary 7, 2018
Greta Gerwig

The Stars Come Out For Rose: New York Film Critics Awards 2017 At Tao

Rose BillingsJanuary 7, 2018
Golden Globes

Assessing Last Year’s Movies Through The Lens of This Year’s Golden Globe Nominees

Brad BalfourJanuary 4, 2018
Amarr M. Wooten

Meet Amarr M. Wooten a Teen Star On The Rise With Nickelodeon’s Knight Squad

Suzanna BowlingJanuary 4, 2018
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Live in Concert: A Magical Experience at the Theater

Zach RamosJanuary 2, 2018
Mary Tyler Moore

Who We Said Good-Bye To In 2017

Suzanna BowlingDecember 31, 2017
Matthew Morrison

Cabaret, Talks and Performers to Warm You In January

Suzanna BowlingDecember 30, 2017