Our first look at Kong: Skull Island brings us another look at the King himself. King Kong has been shown in multiple films, each telling roughly the same story about a beast falling in love with a woman. Kong has also been about the same height in every iteration on film. This time however, the studio plans on telling a much LARGER story (pardon the pun) because this Kong will be at least 100 ft. tall. He will be the biggest Kong yet, and will have to be ready to face Godzilla himself in King Kong vs Godzilla.
Though that film isn’t due out until 2020, the stakes remain high especially due to the massive scope director Gareth Edwards’s portrayed in a remake of Godzilla. The film was a success (the film grossed around $529 million on a $160 million budget) though it didn’t come without its criticisms. While every film is certainly flawed, Edwards’s Godzilla left a lot on the table. I didn’t hate the movie, but it was a disappointment for me. How can Kong: Skull Island improve upon Edwards’s Godzilla remake? Before I get to my points, how about we watch that ominous trailer one last time!
1. A Quick Start- Get right to the Island!
If the opening of the trailer is any indication, it looks like the film will mostly begin with our lead characters headed straight for Skull Island. The faster we get to the island, the better because this is what the audience wants to see. In comparison, the Peter Jackson King Kong remake took a long while to get to the island. The character development was great, but most of the opening could have been cut out which would have had our characters reach Skull Island much faster.
With Gareth Edwards’s Godzilla, the opening act was extremely slow. We learned about Brian Cranston’s past with his wife and the nuclear power plant incident, but we didn’t get a proper set up to the titled monster. Sure the opening credits lent itself to the original 1950 Godzilla film, but the film took way to long to get going as a whole. The characters were set up properly, but Godzilla himself wasn’t. Kong: Skull Island will hopefully look to correct this flaw getting to the island fast and showing us our first look at the King.
2. Kong’s Family History
“This planet doesn’t belong to us. Ancient species owned this earth long before mankind. I’ve spent thirty years trying to prove the truth. Monsters exist.” -Randa
According John Goodman’s character, Kong has been around for many years. We see the characters in the trailer find older gorilla remains that have since deteriorated into nothing but bones. We also see the cast find the native tribe protecting themselves from any invaders.
We should expect to learn more about the history of the title character in this movie. Whether it’s finding the remains of his ancestors or coming across ancient text, either way we should learn why Kong is as big as he is and how he’s been in hiding away from the public for this amount of time.
3. More Creatures
Though the MUTO’s in Godzilla put up a good fight, unfortunately that’s all we saw Godzilla fight. For Kong, he will fighting many different kinds of creatures such as giant insects and most importantly, dinosaurs. With the film taking place on an island full of other monsters, Kong: Skull Island should have the upper hand.
Peter Jackson’s remake did a phenomenal job of this giving us a variety of monsters including many different types of dinosaurs, giant insects, and even a giant fish-like creature that was unfortunately cut out of the theatrical cut. We should expect to see more of a variety in Kong: Skull Island.
4. The Lighting
This may not sound like a big deal, but lighting in film is VERY important. Gareth Edwards’s Godzilla was rather dark in tone but the movie was also literally too dark. It was very hard to see the creatures sometimes including Godzilla himself. Mostly every action scene that took place happened at night.
I understand that there’s a technique in filmmaking where a heavily CGI’d creation usually looks better on the big screen if the lighting is dark. It makes the monster more realistic and allows the viewers to not be as picky on the computerization if the action happened in the daytime. But seriously folks this is 2016. Say what you want about Michael Bay’s Transformers franchise, but those robots looks really good on the screen. In fact, most of the action in the movies seems to take place during the day so there’s no excuse why Godzilla couldn’t.
I know the tone of Godzilla was dreary so it only made sense to have majority of the film take place at night, but when the viewers can barely see the battles that are going on, there’s a slight problem. The trailer for Kong: Skull Island shows the team traversing the island during the day. Hell even the scenes that tease Kong also take place during the day. I’m sure there will be scenes at night, but we need to be able to see Kong in action more clearly. If Peter Jackson’s team could do it, so can this director.
5. Show Us The King!
Perhaps the biggest criticism I have with the 2014 remake of Godzilla, it was that we barely even saw him. I mentioned the lighting being a problem earlier, but we literally barely saw him. Godzilla was teased throughout the entire film. When we finally get to see him show up at the airport, the movie immediately cuts to the action on a small TV screen. I as an audience member felt cheated that I kept getting teased that I was going to see an epic battle unfold, only to cut to other characters I didn’t really care about. However when we finally did see Godzilla in his final battle, the camera mostly stayed on the fight between him and the MUTO’s.
Not only did the camera keep cutting away, but Godzilla was only in the film for roughly 8 minutes! Yes you read that right, 8 minutes. Don’t believe me? Then check out the video below to see for yourself:
For the title of the movie being Godzilla, you hope that you would see him quite often. The film clocks in around 2 hrs and 10 minutes. In a over 2 hour movie you must see the monster more than we received. Hell even the MUTO had more screen time at about 13 minutes! That also includes scenes with Godzilla fighting them. For a film that has the enemies have more screen time than the title monster is a problem and will hopefully be fixed in the Godzilla sequel.
Kong: Skull Island MUST show Kong. It’s ok to tease him at the beginning, but once he’s fully shown we need to see him fight like the king he is. The director shouldn’t cut away either. Let him fight like we know he can. Besides, this is a brand new Kong and since that’s the case we need to see what he’s got. He’s going to be Godzilla’s opponent soon enough, so we want to see if Kong can hold his own.
Those are my thoughts regarding what I expect to see in Kong: Skull Island. What would you like to see? Is there anything in particular that you feel could make this film an improvement over the recent Godzilla remake? Let me know what you think in the comment section below!