Kong: Skull Island 4KUHD Review

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The Movie: 6/10
Kong, he’s one of my long-term movie love affairs. Our first encounter was when I watched the 1976 version with Kurt Russell and Jessica Lange. Your first is always the most memorable:) I saw the original 1933 version in college when I was taking film appreciation and history classes. It opened my eyes to my Kong’s past, his struggles, how much he’d grown, and I saw a pattern of him falling for any female with blonde hair. (lucky me:) Through the years I watched the 1976 a few more times, and it always captivated me, and still does. When Peter Jackson came along in 2005 to bring us a new look at my lost love, I was so excited, and then I wasn’t.

I get it, it’s difficult to take on a story that so many people have fond memories of, and for their own reasons. It must be a challenge to make a new version with your own vision while trying to hold on to something from the original, or other beloved versions. The thing is, Jackson is a fan of Kong and tried to over movie it…if you get what I’m saying. I didn’t have that feeling I had with the 1976 telling of the tale. Time for our newest venture to Skull Island, what do I think this time around?

Let me put it this way, I was entertained but not impressed. That feeling of awe came with one thing, Kong is HUGE HUGE HUGE, which is awesome. I want my big cinematic classics to be bigger than they have been. The 1933 Kong was so small he had to scale the Empire State Building. This time around Kong is almost a tall as the building, so he’s colossal, which I LOVE. I won’t do any spoilers, but the concept of what Kong’s roll on the island, and in the world is also flipped around and I appreciate that too. The battles with even bigger creatures on the island look amazing and if they had made the whole movie just that, Kong’s life with these asshole lizards, and maybe a few glimpses of the people on the island, that would be fine with me. The problem comes with the other assholes, the people who arrive on the boat, as we always do, who decide Kong is a beast and needs to be brought down. I want to see a Kong movie where we have a bit less testosterone, and more science. I want to know exactly how Kong is so big. How are the other creatures on this place so big, and no more of that hokey shit about it being caught in an evolutionary blind spot on the planet, or radiation, or whatever.

The people in this version of the story are all kind of boring to me. The think they made a strong female character, but she contributes absolutely nothing interesting or smart or anything at all. The guy who is supposed to be the jungle expert is blah. The guy who wants to destroy Kong is a 2 dimensional cardboard cut out of a guy who doesn’t want the war to end. Oh  yea, this is set at the end of the Vietnam war, which is also pointless. I’m not talking about the war, that’s a whole other topic, but setting this movie in that era is completely lost. The only reason it is, is so they can find the dude on the island who crashed during WWII, and to make us think that our soldier characters are all toughened and grizzled by their time in battle so they are more prepared….here is one spoiler….they are not. Here’s my advice to future Kong film makers, just skip the idea of setting this story in a time period just because you want to limit technology or have cool wardrobe or you are too lazy to make an interesting story that holds up without the tricks of taking us through time.

Overall KONG saved this movie for me. I was entranced by every scene, well, except the nose touching one with the only female character..blah blah blah. Kong fights, Kong thinks, Kong hurts, Kong protects, Kong kills. He IS the movie. I would like a version where someone cuts out all the people and just gives me my big gorilla enigma. Or better yet, bring Kurt Russell and Jessica back to the island. Now THAT’s a movie I’d love to see!!!

Features: 8/10

  • Commentary With Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts
  • Creating A King (25 Minutes) – Split into two segments which deal with the origins or Kong and the VFX work it took to bring him to life.
  • On Location: Vietnam (6 Minutes) – This is the first Hollywood production that has filmed in Vietnam since the war. Here Cast & Crew talk about the challenges faced.
  • Tom Hiddleston The Intrepid Traveler (7 Minutes) – Similar to the promotional shorts where Peter Jackson tries to sell you New Zealand, this one tries to sell you Vietnam.
  • Through The Lens Brie Larson’s Photography (3 Minutes) – A look at the photos taken by Brie Larson’s character in the film.
  • Monarch Files 2.0 (8 Minutes) – Following on from the Monarch files on the Godzilla Blu-ray here we take a look inside the shady organisation.
  • Deleted Scenes (3 Minutes) – Three very brief scenes that were trimmed for time.
  • 4KUHD, Blu-ray &UV Digital Copy

Cover Art and Menus: /10
Take the human out of this image and I’d have it as a poster. I don’t like the people in this movie. You have a GIANT gorilla to make your cover image with and you want a person to be stuck on there for what, scale? Be more creative, it’s a GIANT GORILLA!! Aside from all that, any poster of Kong as the star without piddly humans is fine with me:) We have ships, helicopters, even crashed airplanes that could be used as the thing we look at and say, “WOW he’s BIG!”.

Audio & Video: 9/10
Kong roars its way onto 4KUHD and Blu-ray with sensational results. Photographed digitally on the Alexa XT Plus, the film has a very cool look that really brings the film to life. The CG work in this movie will probably come up at the Oscars next year it really is that good. Blacks and shadow detail are up to par and skin tones are very accurate.

You get a choice between Dolby Atmos or DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 in the main menu and both are spectacular. The Atmos track is superb, witness the first scenes of Kong and the helicopters and you will be engulfed in surround sound as ape growls and helicopter blades whir around your room. Dialog is clear and always central and special note should be made of the score by Henry Jackman which makes the film much more epic.

Overall Score 6/10