Part of a long line of films revolving around the classic monster King Kong who first appeared in 1933, Kong: Skull Island is a fun and stylish action-adventure flick that is unlike any other King Kong movie by being heavily influenced by the 1979 Vietnam-set film Apocalypse Now. John Goodman plays the director of a secretive government
organization investigating the supernatural who leads a group of researchers and Army personnel in 1973 to an unexplored island called Skull Island that may reveal unusual creatures. After their first encounter with King Kong, the expeditionary group gets
split up and must cross the mysteriously dangerous island to reach their helicopter rendezvous pickup point. The soldiers led by a gung-ho lieutenant colonel, played by Samuel L. Jackson, lean on their militaristic instincts and feel that Kong is a threat and must be eliminated with military force. On the other hand, the other group comprising of a mercenary and former officer in the British Special Air Service, played by Tom Hiddleston, and a young female photographer and pacifist, played by Oscar-winner Brie Larson, sympathize with Kong after realizing that he is the protector of the island and the human inhabitants that they encounter. The latter group are amazed to discover an American soldier, played by John C. Reilly, who has been stranded on the island since 1944 after crash landing his airplane towards the end of World War II. Similar to Marlon Brando’s elusive character who lives deep in the jungles of Vietnam with natives in Apocalypse Now, John C. Reilly’s character named Marlow has become the de facto leader
of the indigenous people and warns the newcomers of the dangers of Skull Island, particularly the sinister creatures known as the Skullcrawlers. Eventually, the militaristic group pull out all the stops, including napalm and other explosives, to try and kill Kong while the group that met up with Marlow try all their best to save Kong knowing his role as the island’s godlike protector. Overall, I found it to be an enjoyable moviegoing experience that provided all the cheap thrills and excitement from a typical
action movie involving monsters but went one step further by capturing the mood of the 1970’s and the Vietnam War in its striking resemblance to the classic Apocalypse Now.