King Kong Skull Island Review

Samantha Morad

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Much like the Bermuda triangle, Skull island is a lost treasure, an unexplored piece of earth that Americans cannot wait to get their hands on- well at least one American.

Meet Bill Radna- a scientist, an adventurer, a man who seeks beasts in exotic places. Most believe him to be a nutcase, but what happens when he’s right?

Radna discovers Skull Island by accident and weasels his way into a favor that will get him to the island for a geological expedition. Who wouldn’t want to be the first to explore an unexplored and newly discovered island?

Set in 1974, America has just pulled the plug on the Vietnam War- our men were coming home. Well, at least 99% of them anyway. The other 1%, Colonel Packard and the Sky Devils, were recruited by Radna to escort him and his crew onto the island.

Those also brought on board to this project were tracker and former SAS (Special Air Service) Captain James Conrad and anti-war photographer Mason Weaver. Together these two try to protect who they can and survive through the dangers of the unknown.

As this jumbled up, uniformed group journeys to the island, they quickly become aware of the dangers that lurk beneath humanity’s nose.

Through giant apes, spiders, and some other strange creatures (known as Skull Crawlers) death greets the island’s visitors as best friends.

As a novel, I believed the book was amazing. It was very detailed, not too cliché or hooky as I thought it would be. This read shares similarities to Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park in the sense of dangerous animals on the loose with a handful of human lives on the line. Different dangers are met around every corner and the characters never know what to expect.

Also in connection to Jurassic Park is a line from Colonel Packard that I recognized while reading.

“Packard’s voice came over the radio. ‘Time to put on another show for the ants. Hold onto your butts, and follow my lead’.”

I had laughed when reading it because Samuel L. Jackson says the same line (the part not italicized) in JP. Upon further investigation (I watched the movie the day after finishing the book), I laughed harder to learn that Colonel Packard is also played by Samuel L. Jackson! Oh, the irony!

The movie itself is a whole other story. My excitement for the new Kong installment was originally due to my favorite actor, Thomas William Hiddleston, playing Captain James Conrad, but quickly grew after reading the book.

However, while the movie tries to be serious and engaging it doesn’t quite reach its goal. There is a lot of comic relief, but it seemed almost tacky off page. The book played it off better, while the movie made it awkward.

Then the casting agent threw in John C. Reily (who is fantastic by the way), and it threw off the seriousness. His character is a man who got stuck on the island during WWI and has learned to live with a Japanese enemy and a tribe of native who do not speak. His humor just seemed too light-hearted for this type of action-thriller.

Despite my bias towards the main character (James Conrad) who is played by my favorite actor, I still believed the book to be better than the movie. The CGI was more believable than most movies and the creatures were done well, especially Kong himself, but the movie was almost too tacky for it to be fantastic. My recommendation is to read the book instead.

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King Kong Skull Island Review