Recent remakes of monster movies have been a tad underwhelming to watch as they lack the element of surprise. Fortunately, the Kong: Skull Island reboot is not one such example.
Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts, the story kicks off in 1973 as US president Richard Nixon has just announced the end of the Vietnam War. While the soldiers are busy preparing their trips home, Bill Randa (John Goodman), a scientist at the secret government agency Monarch, and his partner Houston Brooks (Corey Hawkins), are having a meeting with a government official. The two scientists show a satellite photo displaying an uncharted island in the Pacific, and propose exploring it. After a long discussion, the proposal is approved, but the scientists cannot go alone.
The scene then moves to Hanoi, Vietnam. Lieut. Col. Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson), a Sky Devil helicopter squadron leader, is being asked to join the mission to the island. Devastated to see the end of the war he cannot win, Packard accepts. Meanwhile, Randa recruits a British SAS officer Capt. James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) to be the team's tracker. The group, along with an anti-war photojournalist Mason Weaver (Brie Larson), board a vessel to the island.
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Using helicopters, the group enters the island. Soon, the unexpected happens as they encounter a giant ape named Kong. Kong fights the squad, causing Packard to lose his team. Conrad and Weaver's group is separated from Packard. On the other side of the island, Conrad discovers the unknown truths about the island and Kong.
Kong: Skull Island brings back the joy of watching monster movies. Throughout the film, audiences can feel the excitement of seeing Kong and other creatures appear on the screen. The plot is engaging as it is filled with surprises. Devoted viewers of the King Kong franchise might be surprised to see how the story unfolds.
The film succeeds in gluing viewers to the screen. At the beginning, snippets from the Vietnam War help build the mood. In the second part of the movie, the island's gorgeous views and the intense battle scenes manage to keep the audiences entertained. Meanwhile, the characters, particularly Packard, also play convincing roles that are humanly acceptable.
All in all, Kong: Skull Island is an unexpectedly good movie that should not be missed.