Kong: Skull Island

Kong: Skull Island ★★★★½

One of the most unabashedly fun and purely entertaining movies in recent memory. Sporting a stacked cast of ringers all turning in solid work, not to mention off the charts production design and superlative cinematography from Larry Fong. 

But the real hero here is Jordan Vogt-Roberts, whoever the hell he is. I’ve never seen a director so effortlessly sustain a tone this precariously complicated. Essentially this film is tightrope walking between grisly horror and carefree fun for 2 solid hours, with nary a misstep. It would be so easy to tip it too far into the grossly upsetting or the goofily comedic. But it never happens. The feat of this film’s unicorn-like tone really needs to be recognized and celebrated more often. 

The special effects look terrific. They even hold up with the bulk of them being in broad daylight. And the sound design is a sumptuous treat, what with all the discrete jungle noises and obvious love and care that went into the directional panning and object placement. I can’t count how many times a character heard a noise from offscreen and turned their head to look directly at the speaker in my home theater it was coming out of. Shit like that is so goddamn fun. I mean, you know you’re in for Atmos delight from the first second of this as the production company logos are cycling though and you don’t see, but hear the dogfight between Gunpei and Marlow whizzing around all the speakers. What a wonderfully amusing way to start this tech showcase of a film off. 

Speaking of John C Reilly as Marlow: the man deserves some serious kudos for injecting his gimmicky character with genuine heart and soul along with his singular offbeat charm. Hiddleston makes for a dashing, swashbuckling lead and props to Samuel L Jackson for showing up to work, man. He’s really bringing something new to the table for him and I’m all about it. Brie Larson couldn’t be more winning, the haters be damned. 

Shout out to Shea Whigham for being the only 48 year old infantryman in the Vietnam war. 

So, great cast, killer monster stuff, stunning visuals, solid score and a masterfully executed, wholly unique tone. Shit like this keeps me young at heart. I love it.

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