A team of scientists led by Bill Randa (John Goodman) mounts an expedition to Skull Island, a mysterious land hidden by a permanent storm front and previously unexplored. Under military escort, they fly in a convoy of helicopters and are immediately attacked by Kong who manages to destroy the entire fleet of aircraft. The explorers are separated and LTC Packard (Jackson) decides to destroy Kong. The remaining survivors discover an indigenous people and an American flyer, stranded on the island since 1944. As they learn the truth about what they’ve stumbled upon, it becomes clear that their mission has taken an unexpected turn. They have just three days to find their way to rescue and escape the dangers lurking in the jungle.
2017, Color, Rated PG-13, 1 Hr 58 mins
Dolby Atmos, TrueHD 7.1, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, 2.40:1 Aspect Ratio
Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson
Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts
I was concerned this film would simply be yet another King Kong reboot, but I’m happy to say it is the start of an interesting new franchise. Yes, you can expect multiple sequels in the vein of Marvel and DC but at least this time, there are no super-heroes involved. The plot is tied together by an organization (of course) called Monarch. We’ll be seeing them again for sure. If you’re a fan of classic monster films like Godzilla (and his cast of baddies) then you can expect a new installment in this series every couple of years.
While no new ground is broken, Kong: Skull Island is highly entertaining. The special effects take CGI to a whole new level. I was mesmerized by the incredible realism that unfolded before me. Hollywood has managed to top itself yet again. The cast is loaded with A-listers but their performances are mere backdrops to the expertly-crafted action scenes. Were there even humans in the movie? It almost didn’t matter. There are humorous moments aplenty and you will certainly see some similarities between Samuel L. Jackson’s LTC Packard character and COL Kurtz from Apocalypse Now. In fact, he probably delivers the most impactful performance of them all, though John C. Reilly as the stranded flyer comes in a close second.
In all, it’s an hour-and-forty-five minutes of big, loud fun. The story isn’t that important but it has a satisfying ending and a great lead-in for future chapters. Be sure and watch the credits for an Easter Egg to see what I mean.
The image is perfect in every respect. I saw not a single moment of softness or smearing. Detail is as crisp as 1080p can be with deep contrast, beautifully saturated and natural color, and blur-free motion. It doesn’t get much better than this (in HD/SDR anyway).
The featured audio encode is Dolby Atmos with a TrueHD 7.1 core, but you also get a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 option. Whichever one you choose, the sound is fantastic with tons of surround effects, deep bass, and reference-level clarity.
Bonus features total just under an hour and include multiple making-of featurettes, background pieces on the Kong legend, a follow-around with Tom Hiddleston, deleted scenes, and trailers.