No secret, I already answered that question last week. Yes, Kong: Skull Island is my favorite, though I absolutely love the classic 1933 version and Peter Jackson’s awesome 2005 remake. It just so happens that I grab Kong: Skull Island off my shelf (actually, shelves, containing over 1,100 DVDs and Blu Rays) more often than the others. It is one of the most entertaining, fast-paced films in my collection.


Legendary Productions introduced what it called the MonsterVerse in its 2014 version of Godzilla. (I’ll talk more about the MonsterVerse in next week’s post.) Kong: Skull Island followed in 2017, and it did Legendary proud. It performed well at the box office, and its reception from both film critics and general audiences was mostly positive. It even received an Academy Award nomination.

Conrad (Tom Hiddleston) and Weaver (Brie Larson) lead one of the groups across the deadly island.

In addition to the solid CGI special effects, and the awesome motion-capture work by Terry Notary as Kong, the film featured an impressive A-list cast. I’m talking Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, and John C. Reilly, as well as a strong supporting cast. You Longmire fans will even spot Robert Taylor as the captain of the ship that carries everyone to the island. He has two lines and about thirty seconds of screen time.


A government-funded organization called Monarch was first introduced in Godzilla. Though quite viable in 2014, it found itself endangered in 1973, which is when most of Kong: Skull Island takes place. The group has tasked itself with proving the existence of monsters—later known as Titans—that ruled the Earth long ago and might be re-emerging to resume their place at the top of the food chain. Its head, Bill Randa (Goodman), is convinced that the mysterious, barely accessible Skull Island holds the key. He gets his funding, with the caveat that this is Monarch’s last chance.

Kong battles a Skullcrawler.

Randa and his team head for the island, along with anti-war photographer Mason Weaver (Larson), former British officer James Conrad (Hiddleston), and a U.S. Army helicopter unit led by Lt. Col. Preston Packard (Jackson). The unit had been on the way home from Vietnam after the U.S. “abandoned” the war. Once there, they drop seismic explosives from the choppers, which Kong, the 104-foot (and still growing) gorilla, does not like. He brings down all of the helicopters, killing some of the men. The survivors wind up in a couple of groups some miles apart.


The brief opening scene of the film takes place in 1944. An American fighter pilot, Hank Marlow, and a Japanese pilot, Gunpei Ikari, parachute down to the island after their planes are destroyed in a dogfight. During hand-to-hand combat they are stunned to encounter Kong.

A dangerous passage through a monstrous graveyard.

Packard’s group, mostly his men, seek out the downed chopper carrying some heavy artillery, the goal to destroy Kong. For the remainder of the film Packard is obsessed about killing the ape. The other group, led by Conrad and Weaver, come across Hank Marlow (Reilly, a scene stealer), who has spent 29 years with a primitive tribe called the Iwi. One of the group refers to him as a time traveler. He confirms that Kong is the tribe’s protector, that he was only defending his turf when attacking the choppers. The island, he explains, holds lots of deadly predators, none more so than the reptilian Skullcrawlers, which dwell underground but are now coming to the surface because of the bombs that were dropped. Uh-oh…

Packard is obsessed with destroying Kong.

Lots to follow, with tons of action and some poignant moments between Weaver and Kong. Conrad and his group want to reach the north coast of the island for an expected extraction. Packard, as I said, has a one-track mind. He blames Kong for all of their misfortune.

With all of the above, along with excellent performances by Jackson and Reilly, Kong: Skull Island’s nearly two hours just fly by. It will keep coming off my shelf for many more years.

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