Kong: Skull Island was one of those films I had been dying to see for a long time. And boy, did I love it. Different from previous telling’s of the story, this I found was far grittier and survival based. None of this hero and damsel in distress nonsense, it was very much about the survival of the characters involved.
The two female characters are not there to look good and scream for the men to save them – no, they actually have a purpose (OMG, I know right!). Mason Weaver is a feisty photojournalist, she wishes to catch the wonders of the unknown, to showcase a story that hasn’t been told, to show how a world without war and humans of her civilisation, is far more peaceful. You know, aside from the monsters trying to kill them.
San Lin is a young biologist who works with Houston Brooks, trying to uncover the way this island grows, breathes and lives. She works with Brooks and delves into his ground-breaking theories on seismology, proving to be a vital part of the team, knowing that disturbing the natural balance of this other worldly place, was not a wise move to make.
Along with them is James Conrad, a noble former British Special Air Service Captain, who provides understanding of conflict and the animals that live on this strange island. He and others of military service, Reg, Glenn, Earl and Hank Marlow, an eccentric but wise soldier who had been stuck on the island since World War Two, fight to keep the people in their team safe of the inhabitants of the land they embark on.
Of course, that proves to be far more difficult than planned. Many die and there is a lot, a lot of bloodshed. Along the way, filled with gruesome scenes and horrific monsters, the groups are split up and picked off one by one by creatures unheard of. When a regroup is formed, it is clear that many are no longer walking with them and upon discovering a civilisation of people living on the island, in a peaceful society, guarded by Kong himself, they discover that the giant ape which took many of their soldiers down, was merely protecting his homeland and people.
I mean, that’s what you do when someone drops a bunch of bombs on the land you love.
Hilarious and morbidly witty, the film plays on the days of heroes returning from war but with a slightly darker edge, one that shows the way in which war affects people’s mental state. Marlow is suffering from isolation, most probably a series of depressive years and cycles, while many of the soldiers wish to be at home, away from bloodshed and war. Reg and Glenn and Earl were my favourite characters aside from Mason and James, they were funny and sweet and brutally honest and loyal.
And then, oh then, you’ve got Preston Packard, a US Army Lieutenant, who is hellbent on seeking revenge, but finds himself in a vicious cycle that only breed hate and fear among those around him. In a fierce battle at the end, Kong is seen as not only a protector but a caring ape, who defends the soldiers that had attacked his home at the beginning of the story. He shows more heart than many of the soldiers who look at him as if he is a mindless creature.
In fact, in the end, it is Preston who looks like a monster more than Kong.