"Is that a monkey?"
Great idea to set the movie at the end of the Vietnam War in 1973. It just places the whole tale in it's own world of the past and grounds the more fantastical elements in something you can believe and believing what you are seeing on screen is 'real' is the very reason you see a Kong movie in the first place. This Kong looks very real and is as magnificent as he has ever been. The CGI here is very good across the board and while the 'skull crawlers' are standard movie monsters that lack imagination in their design, the real life mutated super animals like Kong and the insects and the spiders are spectacular.
The music of the time is great as is the cinematography. Jungle islands are never something that you ever want to be lost in and I got that right from the start. I was totally involved the whole time. The world here is strange enough and dangerous enough to make the battle for survival even more interesting. Samuel L. Jackson is solid in the kind of role he can do in his sleep. He has issues of his own that will only be solved by being a bigger badass than the biggest badass already on the island. He picked the wrong battle but that creates tension and gives us another story arc to enjoy. However, Jackson's anger is misplaced because Kong is actually the ONLY thing keeping these people alive as they try to escape from this island of the damned. This Kong is very sympathetic. He's just lonely because he misses his family and wants a girl who like another boy. That would make anyone a bit moody.
They let us wisely get to know many of these characters so their eventual deaths actually mean something, even if many of their sacrifices turn out to be totally in vain.
With many different groups trying to get to their extraction point we see the island from several different perspectives. That gives us time to get to know the characters before they are smashed, bashed, chewed and stomped.
And then there was one less. DAMN. I love a movie that shows me a fresh way for someone to die on screen. The battle scenes are inventive with everything going boom right when it is suppose to.
John Goodman pontificates a lot but will get his monkey no matter how many lives it will cost. Brie Larson gets the girl role and she is smart and cute and Hiddleston is a good action hero. John C. Reilly is an odd bit of casting but a welcome one. I SO want him to live to the end but I know from watching many a monster movie that he has ZERO chance. But his sacrifice will be glorious I know.
I am glad I brought my ear plugs with me because in the theatre the sound was loud, often uncomfortably so. I don't know why they feel they need to turn everything up to an 11 when a nice 7 would be just as effective and more enjoyable.
But my movie hot dog was awesome. I don't care what they scrapped off the bottom of the floor to make the wiener but it was fantastic. Best hot dog ever and I know from hot dogs. Even better than the ones you get at 7-11.