Kong: Skull Island is a monster movie spectacle. If you like the likes of King Kong, Godzilla, and Jurassic Park, with a bit of Apocalypse Now thrown into the mix, then you’ll surely be satisfied with Kong: Skull Island. If the aforementioned titles don’t get your cinematic juices flowing, then you can skip this latest spin on a really, really big ape and the island he reigns over. I didn’t not like it, but I wasn’t blown away either, because I’m simply not a monster movie maven. It took me decades to get around to seeing the original Jurassic Park. This film has a similar vibe. Humans invade the turf of giant creatures and pay a hefty price.

Here’s the gist: The Vietnam War is drawing to a close and a government researcher (John Goodman) convinces the DOD to provide a military escort to explore an uncharted island in the Pacific. He assembles a team of explorers and soldiers who chopper onto the beautiful island, where they are greeted by a giant beast (Kong) who tosses the helicopters and their occupants around like matchbox toys. The mission turns from one of exploration, to one of survival. The cast includes Tom Hiddleston (Thor, The Night Manager) as a former black ops vet with good tracking skills and Brie Larson (Room) as an “anti-war photographer” who tags along to take pictures. They provide the romantic spark and eye candy. Then, there’s Samuel L. Jackson doing his best Samuel L. Jackson impersonation as an Army Colonel with a thirst for battle who is out to “show Kong that man is king!”. And John C. Reilly provides the comic relief as a kooky soldier who’s been stuck on the island since World War II.

The visuals are impressive and the IMAX is immersive. So all in all, Kong certainly qualifies as a decent epic monster mash experience. I dare say it’s even fun – when people aren’t being tossed around, crushed, or eaten. If you decide to check it out, be sure and stick around through the end credits. There is a compilation of home-video style footage that provides a bit of an epilogue to the story and then SEVERAL minutes later, as the final credits roll, a tease. For a sequel. A little something extra for diehard fans to go ape*?!# over. I won’t be waiting with bated breath for more Kong, but I’ll probably check it out — mainly to see what became of the Hiddleston and Larson characters. And John C. Reilly too. I definitely vote for more John C. Reilly.

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