by Michael P Coleman

Back in the old days, you had to wait for summer for a cinematic summer blockbuster.  Sounds reasonable, right?  Well, thanks to Kong: Skull Island, summer has arrived — at the movies, at least — a few months early. 

It only took 84 years for Hollywood to make a worthy successor to the original King Kong. which terrified audiences when it debuted in 1933 as one of Tinsel Town’s first “talkies.”  No, I was NOT there…but I’m told theaters had to hire medical professionals to be on hand during screenings, as audiences members routinely fainted when Kong showed up on screen. 

Successors to the king’s throne have always fallen a little short.  1933’s Son Of Kong was cute but not thrilling, the 1976 version was downright cheesy (with a guy in an ape suit in the title role), and Peter Jackson’s 2005 version improved upon the special effects of the original but never found Kong’s heart.  And let’s not even mention 1963’s awful Godzilla v King Kong.

This time around, they finally got it right. Kong: Skull Island debuts just a week before Hollywood will trot out another “beauty and the beast” tale that’s as old as time, but THIS beast isn’t singing Alan Menken tunes. 

I loved all of the updates in this new movie.  Gone is the creepy simian / sexpot love story that pervades a few versions.  Brie Larson’s character is a photographer who is far from a damsel in distress.  John Goodman also stars, as does Samuel “get-the-snakes-off-the-plane” Jackson, who pretty much plays the same role here.  One look at the terrors on Skull Island and I’m sure anyone would prefer to be managing a few snakes on a plane. 

I could go on about other characters and plot, but I’ve always contended that when you go see a movie like Kong: Skull Island, to heck with all of that.  The star of the show is the special effects, and this one doesn’t disappoint.  Suffice it to say I’m writing this at 1:30am, as my heart is still racing after a 10pm show. 

Kong himself is must-see, an immense wonder of modern movie-making.  When he’s on screen, the movie soars.  Usually, the downside of this genre is the agonizing wait until the monster shows up, but this film does a good job of keeping you engaged until the big reveal.  This version of Skull Island is the home to CG thrills around every corner and more than a few creatures we’ve never seen before.  Keep your eyes peeled for flora AND fauna…and suffice it to say I may never, ever eat calamari again. 

I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you about two other wonders of Kong: Skull Island:  Brie Larson’s breasts.  There.  I said it.  I wish I’d seen the flick in 3D.

If you couldn’t tell, I had a ball watching this film.  Trust me: you’ve never seen a Kong like this one.  Things are set up well for the sequel, and stick around for an after credits scene. 

Kong: Skull Island is showing in theaters everywhere.  

Michael P Coleman

This review was written by Michael P Coleman, a Sacramento-based freelance writer.  Connect with him at or on Twitter: @ColemanMichaelP


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