First Hit: Although a couple of characters were OK and the CGI was strong, the film’s story lacked in generating any interest.
Really? The reason our government paid for this team of people to explore Skull Island was to beat the Russians to it. That this island had never been seen before, was clouded in its own weather system, and Bill Randa (John Goodman) believed it held secrets to ships sinking was neither believable nor explained.
What we got were strongly divided characters, a pacifist photographer named Mason Weaver (Brie Larson), mercenary James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston), angry Army helicopter platoon leader Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson) and an oddly lost WWII pilot Hank Marlow (John C. Reilly). All of these, except Marlow, make it through the island’s protective weather in helicopters and as they begin dropping sonic bombs to develop an understanding what is underneath the island’s surface, the disruption wakes up King Kong who knocks helicopters out of the sky.
Now they all think that Kong is the enemy. Because he hurt his team, Packard is hell-bent on killing Kong. The audience knows this is a stupid idea. While the remaining exploratory team members try to find each other, they run into very tall spiders and some mean flying reptiles.
During all the commotion, one group finds themselves surrounded by a silent tribe of painted and scarred men and women. Just as this tribe is about to hurt them, Marlow appears in a jokingly funny sort of way. He has influence with the silent tribe because they let these new island invaders go.
We are given the story that Kong protects the tribe and humans from the skull eaters which are lizard like animals that live below the surface. This storyline can get worse and it does, however the CGI of Kong fighting the skull eaters was effective and interesting.
The storyline is weak and made up to only have these great fights between these large creatures. The filmmakers have some of the landing team be kind and helpful towards Kong which makes Kong become a positive sympathetic character as he helps them survive the attack of the skull eaters.
Goodman is mediocre as someone who lost his son and wants to uncover the mystery of this island. Hiddleston is OK and is above the fray of this film's poor story and poor script. He’s believable in an unbelievable story. Larson is good as the photographer who is looking for shots that make her known. Jackson is fine but it is his character that I didn’t like. He was way too hawkish and illogical to make me care or want him to succeed. Reilly was the most interesting and amusing character in the film. He brought levity and fun to the overall experience. Jing Tian had a minor part and seemed out of place. Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein, and Derek Connolly wrote a very mediocre screenplay that had little depth. There were moments that they tried to create back stories for the characters, but there was little effort in this and therefore it failed. Jordan Vogt-Roberts did what he could with the story. Many of the shots were well crafted, but it is hard to make a good film with a mediocre story and script.
Overall: This film fails to entertain and is lost because of the story and script.