Kong: Skull Island takes us back to the Vietnam War era to reboot everyone’s favorite gigantic primate. It may not match the original classic but the fast-paced story holds its own.
Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts (The Kings of Summer) from a screenplay written by Dan Gilroy and Max Borenstein and Derek Connolly with the story by John Gatins, it’s not a movie that makes us wait a while for King Kong in the same way that the rebooted Godzilla made us wait for the monster.
The star-studded cast includes Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson, Jing Tian, Toby Kebbell, John Ortiz, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Shea Whigham, Thomas Mann, with Terry Notary and John C. Reilly.
A team of scientists, soldiers and adventurers unite together to explore an uncharted island. Upon arrival, the island turns out to be more dangerous than they expected as several of the military helicopters get taken out by King Kong. Not only does it start a battle between mankind and nature but the discovery mission quickly turns into a mission for survival.
It goes to the crew for opting against shooting the film on a soundstage. Instead, they have opted to film on location in Hawaii, Australia, and Vietnam and digitally added Kong in later.
“I want this film to take people out of their comfort zone and thrust them into a balls-to-the-wall adventure that is visceral, intense and like nothing they’ve ever seen before,” says director Jordan Vogt-Roberts. “I’m pretty sure you won’t find a gigantic ape-like creature punching a Huey helicopter in another movie but that was the movie I wanted to see.”
Everything the characters know about the world changes the moment they arrive on Skull Island.
“I love the idea of taking a handful of characters that have come out of the Vietnam War not believing in anything or quite knowing where they belong and thrusting them into this mystical place,” Vogt-Roberts says. “Kong is not just a giant animal in our film. This isn’t a man versus nature story. That’s why our Kong will be the biggest in Hollywood history—I want audiences to feel what it’s like to look up and see something conscious and ferocious and 100-feet tall looming over you.”
King Kong originally appeared in the 1933 classic and that film was remade in both 1976 and 2005. What we have now is a rebooted origin story that also serves to tie in to the Monsterverse created by Legendary Pictures and sets up Godzilla vs. Kong due out in 2020 and set up by the inclusion of Goodman and Hawkins’ characters being employed by Monarch as well as a post-credits scene featuring drawings of Godzilla, King Ghidorah, Mothra, and Rodan.
While Monsterverse is in our world, the stakes are heightened to include the MUTOs (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organisms). In order to make this a reality on screen, the producers and writers have to merge two distinct timelines with two different cinematic mythologies. Whereas Godzilla was set in 2014, Kong: Skull Island takes place during the Vietnam War. This does make for a tricky situation for the 2020 film.
Warner Bros. Pictures will release Kong: Skull Island in 2D, 3D in select theatres, and IMAX on March 10, 2017.