The CGI in King Kong: Skull Island has everyone else but the gorilla looking small. - Image credit: Warner Bros.

The CGI in King Kong: Skull Island has everyone else but the gorilla looking small. - Image credit: Warner Bros.

Reel Reviews: The mightiest of the Kongs

Kong: Skull Island may be more fun than Godzilla.

Brian Taylor and Peter Howe

For The Morning Star

A scientist (John Goodman), a soldier (Samuel L. Jackson), a photojournalist (Brie Larson) and a tracker (Tom Hiddleston) lead an expedition to the mysterious, uncharted Skull Island. There they encounter creatures amazing and deadly before meeting the King of the island, a 100-foot tall gorilla named Kong.

We say, “Kong: Skull Island may be more fun than Godzilla.”

TAYLOR: May be are the key words there. People had a problem with the recent Godzilla remake because it was a bit slow, trying and failing to make us care for its characters, or misusing its talented actors with flimsy dialogue. These problems were real and yet didn’t interfere with me watching Godzilla, more than once, in the theatre. I shan’t be attending the cinema again to see Kong: Skull Island despite the film not suffering from the same faults I found in Godzilla.

HOWE: I know what you mean, I really enjoyed Godzilla and have seen it more than once. Kong on the other hand, although beautifully crafted and well-acted, felt like it was missing something. It didn’t have that special feeling, it was like looking at Jurassic Park but without the excitement.

TAYLOR: I found moments of excitement, mostly when Kong was fighting other giant beasties. Mostly the characters were aghast in the presence of the island’s critters and not a lot of acting was required. There was also only the most minimal backstory provided, so the characters kind of “did what they did” without the audience needing to know why. For instance, there was the photojournalist’s sympathy, the scientist’s plans for the island and the trackers thoughts on the matter as well as the soldiers’ hatred. Once again, the real actors are not the stars.

HOWE: Some of the weird and wonderful creatures on the island looked great and others not so much. The giant stick/log insect for example was very poor. In fact, I nearly laughed at how bad it looked. Sometimes I can let things slide but I felt they tried too hard and too much in this movie to let that happen, which is a pity as I was really looking forward to this.

TAYLOR: I wasn’t disappointed. I thought the creatures were silly in the first place, but didn’t look silly, just impossible. Perhaps the giant stick/log insect was the silliest, but it’s only scenery. The whole film looked a bit dark and dingy with that “glowing light” look that so many films feature these days. It’s bothersome to me because the brightness of reality is diminished. It does, however, allow for computer characters like giant monsters to look more believable. All in all, I look forward to Kong fighting Godzilla in the near future. I hope the battle takes place in Washington, D.C.

HOWE: And why does there always have to be a well-spoken English bloke in these type of films?

Taylor gives Kong: Skull Island 3.5 ’70s soundtracks out of 5.

Howe gives it 3 tree toothpicks out of 5.