Film Review: Kong: Skull Island

This review will also be published on Magnolia Preparatory Academy.

I wish I just saw Shin Godzilla.

This afternoon, my older brother Ken took my sister and I to see Kong: Skull Island, the second installment in Legendary Pictures' Monsterverse series (starting with Godzilla 2014). A few months earlier, I had seen Shin Godzilla, a superior, Japanese-made kaiju film, from its limited theater release in October.

Here's my review of Skull Island:

Kong: Skull Island is a reboot of the King Kong film series, which started with the original King Kong in 1933. Skull Island is primarily set around a group of people visiting the titular island to see King Kong in 1973, near the end of the Vietnam War.

Hoo boy. This is where things start declining:

For starters, there are far too many monsters. While Shin Godzilla had just one monster, and made it a very interesting and well-designed kaiju, Kong: Skull Island uses several poorly-developed and explored kaiju throughout its 2-hour runtime, weakening the audience's interest in the beasts. Second off, while the special effects were evidently well-funded and well done, there's a certain sense of charmlessness that comes with using high-budget special effects and CGI in kaiju films. Contrast Shin Godzilla, which, while it made use of CGI, also opted to use some practical effects (if I remember correctly).

Personally, my biggest issue with Skull Island has to be the film's omnipresent gore (no, not the man who should've became President in 2000). Throughout most of Skull Island, seeing large amounts of graphic violence (such as King Kong ripping the tongue and internal organs out of one monster) does not help one's appetite. A character is impaled vertically through their body, and there are several other bloody character deaths throughout the film.

While Skull Island might be an entertaining way to spend two hours munching popcorn (if you're okay with nauseating graphic violence), it probably won't win any Oscars, and is inferior to Shin Godzilla.


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