In 2014, director Gareth Edwards released his take on the Godzilla legend. His vision withheld the infamous giant lizard from the screen for long periods of time in exchange for suspense and letting us know some of the characters. Utilizing this strategy, the buildup for Godzilla was intense and I’ll never forget the audience cheering every time he did show up on screen and gave us a great roar and fight. It felt like a community experience with all the geeks wearing their favorite monster shirts and the excitement when Godzilla finally shoots his atomic breath really brought out the energy in the crowd. Sequels were greenlit within days of release and yet there was still that pretentious online group who felt days later “you know what? It wasn’t so great.” I don’t care what anyone says, I ended up buying the Blu-ray and still loved it at home. Now in 2017, we have the loosely connected KONG: SKULL ISLAND, where the opposite approach is taken and we are given two hours of non-stop monster fights. This might appeal to some viewers, but it became a bit of a blur for me after the first couple fights and began to felt repetitive.
It’s 1973 and a group of scientists are sent out to investigate a mysterious island known as Skull Island. While flying in, the crew gets attacked by the biggest Kong yet and the survivors are left to face several other monsters that live there in secret. During their stay, they also bump into a fighter pilot who crash landed in 1944 that eventually helps them adapt to their new environment and get along with the fellow natives. It’s questionable as to how much of a villain Kong really is as SKULL ISLAND plays most of its part on the actual island instead of taking it to the city like previous incarnations.
This version really loves its big budget and delivers on some of the best special effects to ever hit the screen. The initial action sequences are some real intense stuff as we get some POV shots from within crashing helicopters. Kong keeps his classic design, but we are gifted with what probably is the biggest version of him yet and he literally poses as the biggest threat. We get a handful of big names attached such as Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, and John Goodman. Everyone is having a good time living it up with the blockbuster budget, but it gets stale a bit too fast. I don’t particularly care for anyone even if they were nice to look at. The characters did their thing, but Hollywood really thrived on giving the Michael Bay version of a King Kong movie. I believe the effects of the Transformers movies are impressive, but after the first couple fights, my jaw stops dropping and I start looking at the time and this is how i felt with KONG.
The home video release is accompanied by commentary with director John Vogt-Roberts (King of Summer), some making-of featurettes and deleted scenes. There’s plenty of editions to choose from, as 4K and 3D versions are offered depending on preference, but this is for sure a great release to show off a sweet sound system. KONG is loud and utilizes background speakers to the fullest, creating an immersive environment.
While I may not be the movies’ biggest fan, KONG will be a great time for others and will help introduce a younger audience to the classic monster before he takes on Godzilla himself in a future installment.
Own KONG: SKULL ISLAND on Ultra HD Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD on July 18 or Own it Early on Digital on June 20