Jul 152017
 

Kong: Skull Island isn’t perfect but still fun and entertaining enough with director Vogt-Roberts intermixing monster movie with a Vietnam-era war picture and even the human characters weren’t bad, if not thinly written at times while Kong himself does show a bit of personality and his CGI was pretty good.

 

 

Kong: Skull Island
(2017)

Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Warner Bros. | PG13 – 118 min. – $44.95 | July 18, 2017

Date Published: 07/15/2017 | Author: The Movieman

 


MOVIE INFO:
Directed by: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Writer(s): John Gatins (story), Dan Gilroy and Max Borenstein and Derek Connolly (screenplay)
Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson, Jing Tian, Toby Kebbell, John Ortiz, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Shea Whigham, Thomas Mann, Terry Notary, John C. Reilly
DISC INFO:
Features: Commentary, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: 4K, Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 2
Audio (4K/BD)): English (Dolby Atmos), English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video (4K): 2160p/Widescreen 2.40
Video (BD): 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles (4K/BD): English SDH, Spanish
Disc Size: NA
Codecs: HEVC / H.265 (4K), MPEG-4 AVC (BD)
Region(s): A, B, C

Note: This review contains many plot spoilers, so readers please be aware!


THE MOVIE — 3.25/5


There have been numerous King Kong movies that have hit the silver screen over the years, beginning with the classic 1933 version and got the big budget treatment with Peter Jackson’s $200 million+ 2005 3-hour opus (the extended cut added 14 more minutes) which I had found to be pretty good though over the years, I’ve only watched once and little to no desire for another viewing, based on the sheer length.

Now 2017 ushers in the latest addition, Kong: Skull Island, that isn’t just another monster movie, however there are plenty of monsters, but the Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ movie also mixes in a Vietnam War film, which was a brilliant move and helps stand itself out from the rest.

The story of Kong: Skull Island is set in 1972 just when President Nixon announces the withdraw of American troops from the Vietnam War, much to the disappointment of Lieutenant Colonel Packard (SAMUEL L. JACKSON), but jumps at the chance for one last mission when the crackpot Bill Randa (JOHN GOODMAN) has found a previously uncharted island surrounded by a dangerous weather pattern and garners financing to investigate. Along with Packard’s men — Chapman (TOBY KEBBELL), Mills (JASON MITCHELL), Cole (SHEA WHITMAN), Slivko (THOMAS MANN), et al — the convoy also includes scientists Houston Brooks (COREY HAWKINS) and San (TIAN JING), anti-war photographer Mason Weaver (BRIE LARSON) and tracker James Conrad (TOM HIDDLESTON).

Upon arrival to the island, they drop bombs meant to survey what was underneath but instead, they encounter the mighty beast himself, King Kong (mo-capped by KEBBELL), who thrashes right through Packard’s fleet of choppers leaving only a dozen or so left to scour the island and make their way to a rendezvous point on the other side where they are to be picked up (the storms surrounding make communication impossible, of course, not unlike a cell phone conveniently losing reception or battery power in a horror movie).

With the choppers down, the film basically follows two teams, one with Packard and his men, the other Conrad and mostly civilians, all in a foreign place where Kong is perhaps the least of their worries. In addition we meet Hank Marlow (JOHN C. REILLY), a man who has been living with island natives for nearly 30 years.

The performances for the human actors are… alright. I don’t feel there are any real standouts. Samuel L. Jackson actually keeps it in check and doesn’t overact too much and he sells the frustrated military man rather well; Tom Hiddleston uses his charms and good looks to sell a pretty bland character; Brie Larson looks good and has a contagious smile, her character, though, forgettable; and John C. Reilly serves well enough as the comic relief and guide to the history and lore of Skull Island. The rest are mostly fodder for Kong or the numerous creature to chow down on.

Kong: Skull Island is not a bad movie, not in the least. I actually found whenever we get creature versus humans, the film works, it’s only when we get CGI vs. CGI where the movie loses it for me, but that’s not unique to this film, I just mostly get taken out of a film know full well it’s not real; that said, for the most part the visual effects are fairly well done.

Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts in his first high-budget studio venture, Kong: Skull Island is what apparently yet another shared universe for Warner, joining Universal’s “Dark Universe” is doing their own Monster Universe with the possibility of a monster v monster between Kong and… Godzilla. Not a terrible idea, so long as the scripts are well written as Warner’s Godzilla was a letdown and even this one didn’t measure up, though was far more entertaining by comparison.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.0/5


This release comes with a semi-glossy slip cover and inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy.

Audio Commentary – Jordan Vogt-Roberts already was an interesting dude in the featurettes, and few interviews I saw online, and this commentary is no different. Even going solo, he makes it an interesting listen.

Featurettes (Total Running Time 39:16):

  • Creating a King (24:26; HD) is split into two parts (Realizing an Icon, Summoning a God), breaking down this new King Kong with comments by the cast and crew.
  • On Location: Vietnam (5:38; HD) looks at filming in Vietnam which provided some distinct locales.
  • Tom Hiddleston: The Intrepid Traveler (6:53; HD) – The actor, more or less, guides us through the filming locations (Hawaii, Australia, Vietnam), interspersed with behind-the-scenes footage.
  • Through the Lens: Brie Larson’s Photography (2:19; HD) looks at the real pictures taken by Larson.

Monarch Files 2.0 (Companion Archive) (7:58; HD) – Here we get some fictional info on the company and its origins.

Deleted Scenes (3:45; HD) – Some minor footage was removed, nothing major, and nothing germane to the plot or characters.

PreviewGeostorm

 


4K VIDEO – 5.0/5, BD VIDEO – 4.75/5


Kong: Skull Island roars and thumps its chest onto 4K Blu-ray presented in its original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and given a 2160p ultra high-definition transfer (HEVC / H.265 codec). This was one of only a few movies I saw in theaters and, given its based on my memory, this matches what I saw on the big screen. Colors, thanks to the HDR, are vibrant throughout and detail is nicely defined and sharp. This is really reference material.

The 1080p high-definition Blu-ray meanwhile isn’t bad either. It’s not quite as sharp comparatively but still impressive with some nice colors and no major or obvious flaws like artifacting, aliasing, banding and the like.

4K/BD AUDIO – 5.0/5


Both the 4K and BD comes with Dolby Atmos tracks (along with the “regular” DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) and it is awesome sounding from early on as it’s mostly either music or dialogue to when the choppers land/crash onto the island and we get to hear Kong’s roar (as well as the roars of the predator creatures) to the helicopter blades spin and, later, with the battle with Kong.

 


OVERALL – 3.5/5


Overall, Kong: Skull Island isn’t perfect but still fun and entertaining enough with director Vogt-Roberts intermixing monster movie with a Vietnam-era war picture and even the human characters weren’t bad, if not thinly written at times, though Samuel L. Jackson does make for a great (human) antagonist while Kong himself does show a bit of personality and his CGI was pretty good. This 4K Blu-ray released by Warner offers excellent video and audio transfers (for both formats) and a fine selection of bonus material.

 

 

 

 

Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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