Kong: Skull Island

2017, Adventure/Sci-fi, 1h 58m

389 Reviews 50,000+ Ratings

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critics consensus

Offering exhilarating eye candy, solid acting, and a fast-paced story, Kong: Skull Island earns its spot in the movie monster's mythos without ever matching up to the classic original. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Scientists, soldiers and adventurers unite to explore a mythical, uncharted island in the Pacific Ocean. Cut off from everything they know, they venture into the domain of the mighty Kong, igniting the ultimate battle between man and nature. As their mission of discovery soon becomes one of survival, they must fight to escape from a primal world where humanity does not belong.

Cast & Crew

Tom Hiddleston
James Conrad
Samuel L. Jackson
Preston Packard
Brie Larson
Mason Weaver
John Goodman
Bill Randa
Corey Hawkins
Houston Brooks
John Ortiz
Victor Nieves
Toby Kebbell
Jack Chapman, Kong Mo-Cap Services
Will Brittain
Young Marlow, Marlow's Son
Miyavi
Gunpei Ikari
Richard Jenkins
Senator Willis
Allyn Rachel
Secretary O'Brien
Robert Taylor
Athena Captain
Terry Notary
Kong Mo-Cap Services
Dan Gilroy
Screenwriter
Max Borenstein
Screenwriter
Derek Connolly
Screenwriter
Eric McLeod
Executive Producer
Edward Cheng
Executive Producer
Larry Fong
Cinematographer
Henry Jackman
Original Music
Stefan Dechant
Production Design
Mary E. Vogt
Costume Designer
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Critic Reviews for Kong: Skull Island

Audience Reviews for Kong: Skull Island

  • May 31, 2021
    It's decent. Good acting. Good special effects. The original is still the best.
    Morris N Super Reviewer
  • Jan 29, 2021
    The best of the bunch of Legendary's MonsterVerse, Kong: Skull Island is an exhilarating, frantic ride through Kong's homeland. Kong sports an excellent ensemble cast with Samuel Jackson, Brie Larsen, Tom Hiddleston, John Goodman and John C. Reilly, and it doesn't make you wait like the Godzilla movies to present its "biggest" star (sorry, couldn't resist the pun). Kong makes his presence known in a fantastic three minute prequel. And at the 30 minute mark, one of the best big monster action scenes takes place. As the army helicopters drop charges across the jungle to Black Sabbath's "Paranoid," a tree hurls itself straight into the windshield of one of the helicopters and all hell lets loose. The shot of Kong silhouetted against the setting sun with helicopters in slo-mo approaching is absolutely iconic. And there's the shot of a flying body taking out a helicopter. How cool is that? The problem with having that scene so early (which I loved), is that you get so pumped up but you have another 90 minutes to go with the usual middle arc slow filler. But overall, Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts has crafted a thrill ride of an action movie. The cinematography is just top notch. His take on Kong? Director Vogt-Roberts wanted Kong to feel like a "lonely god, he was a morose figure, lumbering around this island," and took the design back to the 1933 incarnation, which presented Kong as a "bipedal creature that walks in an upright position." With the upcoming release of Godzilla vs. King Kong, fans are taking sides on social media. I like both equally, but I have to pick Kong based on the latest movies.
    Mark B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 18, 2019
    The pacing and screenwriting fail to match up with the impressive cast and visuals. The film seems to waver between monster-thriller and goofy-comedy, and it most likely would've worked better if it had committed to one of the aforementioned genres.
    Spencer M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 08, 2018
    I honestly think comparing this movie to the original 1933 would be a bit unfair. I say this because the original has already been established as a classic and, in some people's eyes, you can't compete with the classics, even if those classics haven't exactly aged well from a technical standpoint. That's not to say that the original King Kong wasn't impressive because, for 1933, Kong himself was certainly very impressive. Having said that, though, the thing is that EIGHTY-FIVE years have passed since the original movie and this current year (2018). Unless you grew up loving the film or are an appreciator of the classics, this movie isn't gonna hold up well to 2018 eyes. It's not the film's fault, but that's also not people's faults either. I think that, subconsciously, we always want what's new and we want to see technological progress. Going back to my first smartphone, as good as it may have been at the time, wouldn't really go well when I've had two Samsung Galaxys (S3 and S6). Because we're always thinking about how we can move forward. I feel that that also applies to the original King Kong. People who haven't seen the movie can't magically adjust their eyes and minds to how it was back in 1933. It's impossible. You can pretend that you are watching it as you were in 1933, but you're not. You're probably watching it on a nice TV, a Blu-Ray special edition DVD. Even the appreciators, unless they're really hardcore, don't really put themselves into the mindset of how it was in 1933, because the film probably looked a lot dirtier and grainier than it does now with various restorations performed. That's why I feel it's fairer to compare THIS movie to Peter Jackson's 2005 epic, even if both movies are thematically different. Peter Jackson's 2005 is, basically, a remake of the original (and a very good one at that) that runs longer than life itself. Well, really, according to its Netflix page, it runs 3 hours and 7 minutes (with credits). I saw this version not that long ago (I didn't review it because, honestly, I didn't want to) and it's something like close to an hour into the film before they get to Skull Island itself. This movie differs in some key ways that, honestly, I think are beneficial in attempting to set itself apart. In a lot of ways, this is a war movie. This group of scientists and soldiers head to this island in the Pacific that has been completely uncharted, unmapped and unexplored by man (or so they thought). So they're sent to the island on a 'geological' expedition. I say that in quotation marks because, of course, the group behind the expedition has some ulterior motives and that is to see if there are monsters hiding beneath the earth and finding a way to flush them out. I don't wanna say that 2005's King Kong wasted time in showing you Kong himself, they built it up to it rather nicely. But I think this movie understands that, for this to work as a war movie, Kong has to immediately attack the helicopters as they come in and drop seismic charges on the island. Kong's introduction in this movie is tremendous and it does set the mood for this being a proper monster movie. Even though Kong, really, is kind of the hero in this scenario. There's an obvious, not-so-subtle commentary on how humans feel the need to destroy what they do not know. Or how they go into lands that are not their own and act as if they own the place and, yet, somehow when those native to those lands fight back, they're somehow the villains. That's explored in Packard's relationship with Kong, if it can be called that. Colonel Packard (Samuel Jackson) is a soldier without a war to fight as, the day prior to going into this expedition, the Vietnam war was...called off, I guess. Oh, and yea, this is set in 1973. Packard jumps at the opportunity to get back in the field, even if those below him SHOULD be able to go home to their families. Anyway, when Kong destroys some of the helicopters that come into the island, after dropping seismic charges of course, Packard takes it upon himself to go to a location where one of his other soldiers is at, collect the weapons and hunt Kong down. Packard's actions are selfish because, really, he's putting the rest of his team at risk of being murdered just because of some need to get rid of a giant ape that, really, can't be brought down with conventional weaponry. In many ways, Packard is Captain Ahab and Kong is his Moby Dick. The more sensible thing would be to retreat and escape with as many people as you can. The not-so-sensible thing would be to put your men's lives in further danger for some misguided mission to get "revenge". Honestly, to me, Packard is probably the most interesting character in the entire movie. Not really saying much, when Packard's really the only one with these motivations as the rest are just trying to survive. Having said that, however, I did like the characters and the cast was very good. It's just that there wasn't much development for a good chunk of them. There was also Hank Marlow, who had been stuck on the island since 1944 (before World War 2 ended) with this Japanese soldier that he was fighting against. Eventually, of course, they became friends as they found their way to the local tribe, that took them in and helped them for almost 30 years. I think that's another not-so-subtle commentary on how two people, without being told by their respective governments that the other is the enemy, can set aside their fight and become friends. I honestly wish we could have seen more of Gunpei (the Japanese soldier) and Marlow. The former is already dead by the time Conrad's group finds their way to the tribe. Perhaps the one problem that I had with the movie was how all these characters were split apart in the original attack by Kong. One group ends up on one side of the island and the other group ends up in another place entirely. And a lot of this is the groups trying to find their way back to each other. I never thought the movie was bad, or even remotely close to it, but I feel that this approach did kind of hurt the pacing a bit. Made it feel as if the movie did not need to be as long as it was. I think if you're gonna have these moments where both groups are just travelling, then you need to make more than one character legitimately interesting. That way it doesn't feel like we're just killing time until the next big set-piece. And the movie also has plenty of those as well. That's one thing, I do think the monster elements of the movie deliver on what they promise. There's some thrilling scenes where Kong fights skull-crawlers, which are like these lizard things that have Cubone's face, Jordan Vogt-Roberts (director of this movie) even said as much. There's a giant spider and the scene that it appears in is straight out of a horror movie. In short, the movie offers some pretty damn cool moments with its monster. And, also, it's a very pretty movie to look at too. There's just something about the cinematography that I enjoyed. It sets the tone perfectly, some of the shots are really cool and the 70s soundtrack helps put you in that era. In short, this is a really well-made movie, no complaints from me in that front. The movie evokes some strong war imagery that's similar in nature to Apocalypse Now and Platoon, minus the grime. And, really, I think that part of what I like most about the movie is how it makes a war movie using the frameworks of a creature feature. It works surprisingly well, all things considered. With that said, even as impressive as some of the special effects were, I think I'd still have to give the nod to the 2005 King Kong. Kong in that movie was just spectacular in terms of his movements and acting believably like a giant fucking ape. I don't think this movie remotely comes close to capturing the heart and soul of Kong. And I believe that this movie tried, because Kong does show compassion for some characters in the movie, but I don't think that they captured that as well as Peter Jackson's version. That's not to say that it isn't really fucking cool to see Kong, in this movie, fight against a giant octopus or giant lizard-things, but the movie failed to capture the heart of Kong and, realistically speaking, Kong IS the heart and soul of the movie. So, yea, while I had my complaints, I still felt that this was a good movie. It's just something different for the franchise. It doesn't try to replicate the original, it blazes its own path and I really like that. It falls just short of being very good, but I still enjoyed my time with this movie, flaws and all.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer

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