***Minor spoilers follow.***
King Kong has smashed his way into theaters with the release of Kong: Skull Island. The second film in this new monster universe, Kong: Skull Island brings a refreshing new look to this classic movie monster. This Kong is certainly the biggest we’ve ever seen on the big screen. After all, he will have to eventually clash with the King of the Monsters; Godzilla. That film is set to release sometime in 2020, but before then we have a Godzilla sequel to look forward to.
Jordan Vogt-Roberts may not have delivered a masterpiece, but Kong: Skull Island is chock full of fantastic giant monster battles. Unlike Gareth Edwards’s Godzilla, you actually see Kong throughout the majority of this film. The fight scenes are epic and Kong is MASSIVE. One thing that Edwards did well that Vogt-Roberts followed-suit was the sense of scale. You can definitely tell that these human articles are a mere spec to the much larger creatures that inhabit the island.
That all being said, director Jordan Vogt-Roberts took great care of giving the audience an entertaining monster flick while continuing to set up the monster universe that has been laid out for us. There are plenty of homages to the previous Kong films that should be mentioned and praised. Here are five of them…
1. The Natives
Let’s start with one that has been pretty common throughout every Kong film. The natives who worship Kong have been used consistently going all the way back to the 1933 original. Though most of the natives are usually pretty savage by offering up human sacrifices to their god, the one’s in Kong: Skull Island seem more friendly. They bring in John C. Reilly’s character and allow him to stay with them. None of those other natives from previous Kong films allowed such a thing. Their sole purpose was to survive and worship their god.
2. Kong vs A Giant Octopus
Also called the Mire Squid, this creature is a hybrid of both a giant squid as well as an octopus. This large tentacled creature attacks Kong when he’s least expecting it while tending to his wounds in a large lake. The creature lashes onto Kong while trying to strangle him. But the ape puts up a fight and comes out on top. Kong clearly had sushi in mind as he begins to devour the creatures tentacles right in front of our eyes.
Vogt-Roberts clearly had the Kong vs Octopus fight scene in mind from the original King Kong vs Godzilla. While the effects are clearly dated, the director decided to pay tribute to this fight scene with updated effects by including this brief fight in his film. Although the creature doesn’t put up much of a fight, it’s nice to see the director pay a small tribute to the original Toho classic.
3. A Young Soldier
A more subtle but honorary tribute is the inclusion of having a young soldier character. In Peter Jackson’s remake of the classic King Kong film, Jaime Bell played a young kid named Jimmy who was searching for an adventure of a lifetime. Longing for a spot on the expedition, Jimmy sneaks his way onto the ship and finds himself part of the crew. The film gave us some great character development between himself and Ben Hayes. Hayes played as a father-figure to Jimmy by informing him that he should become educated instead of spending his entire life as a ship mate.
Kong: Skull Island does something similar to this storyline. While there’s hardly any character development throughout the film, the movie makes it known that Slivko (Thomas Mann) and Cole (Shea Whigham) are good friends. Slivko who is the youngest soldier on the battalion, is learning under the tutelage of Cole and sticks with him all the way to the end. The two share a close friendship which makes it all the more heartbreaking when Cole finally meets his end, much like Hayes did in Jackson’s King Kong.
4. Kong Protects (And Saves) The Girl
What’s a Kong movie without having a popular female figure? While this Kong film doesn’t follow the “Beauty killed the Beast” formula like previous films, this movie does however pay tribute to one of the best scenes in Peter Jackson’s incredible remake; the T-Rex battle.
Though there are no dinosaur battles present in Kong: Skull Island, there’s plenty of other creatures willing to put up a fight! Instead of prehistoric dinosaurs we have large creatures called the Skullcrawlers. In one epic fight scene, Kong is forced to battling a much larger Skullcrawler while at the same time protecting the female who he recently “bonded” with. Kong keeps an unconscious Mason Weaver (Brie Larson) in the palm of his hand as he does battle with the humongous Skullcrawler. Kong is successful taking out the creature as well as protecting and saving Mason.
5. Military Aircraft Attacks Kong On His Home Turf
This is yet another Kong film that has a form of military attacking Kong with some sort of aircraft. In the original and the 2005 King Kong remake, it was Bi-Planes from the WWI era that attacked and killed Kong. However in the 1976 remake, Kong is attacked by three helicopters who eventually shoot him down while standing on top of one of the World Trade Center buildings.
In Kong: Skull Island he is once again ambushed by helicopters, only this time it’s on his home turf. Since Kong is much larger in size this time around, this makes it a little easier for him to take down the military. Kong takes out as many of the helicopters as possible, proving once again who’s king on the island.
What homages did you catch from the earlier Kong films? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!