ALL HAIL THE KING.
In 1973, a military expedition takes a group of scientists and representatives of a mysterious organization called Monarch to an island in the Pacific that harbors many secrets. The giant ape is brought back to the screen as part of a cinematic monster universe, following Godzilla (2014). This 3D adventure keeps its tongue firmly in cheek while delivering its monstrous thrills, which are considerable. Huge, terrifying beasts, well-staged action sequences and a sense of humor that fits hand in glove with its retro approach and Vietnam War symbolism. A terrific cast, with John C. Reilly a stand-out as a pilot who’s been stranded since WWII.
2017-U.S. 118 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Alex Garcia, Jon Jashni, Mary Parent, Thomas Tull. Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts. Screenplay: Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein, Derek Connolly. Music: Henry Jackman. Cast: Tom Hiddleston (James Conrad), Brie Larson (Mason Weaver), Samuel L. Jackson (Preston Packard), John Goodman, Jing Tian, Toby Kebbell… John C. Reilly, Richard Jenkins.
Trivia: Together with Terry Notary, Kebbell also provided Kong’s motion-capture performance. Michael Keaton and J.K. Simmons were considered for roles. Kong made another appearance in Godzilla vs. Kong (2021), part of the same cinematic universe.
Last word: “I honestly went away [from a meeting with Legendary] and I was, like, not thinking about it. There is no version of this movie that I can make. And then somehow, this idea popped into my head of choppers and napalm, and searing sunsets, and ‘Apocalypse Now’ and ‘King Kong’. Like, a Vietnam movie mixed with a Ray Harryhausen film. There are so many interesting thematics associated with that, beyond the genre mash-up of Kong punching helicopters out of the sky. [In 1973] we were putting satellites into space for the first time, and looking down on the world and mapping the world, and it felt credible that we could discover something like [Skull Island]. I loved the idea that the 70s was a split between science and myth in my mind.” (Vogt-Roberts, Den of Geek)