Let’s be real, when a new version of King Kong was announced, no one was exactly holding their breath in excitement. In fact, a mere ten years after the disappointing Peter Jackson version, a King Kong reboot didn’t seem like the greatest of ideas. Rather, it sounded like any old Hollywood rehash we keep being subjected to these days.
Then, the director’s name was revealed: Jordan-Vogt Roberts. It’s absolutely no surprise if you’ve never heard of him. He’s an indie director whose first film, The Kings of Summer, garnered some great reviews, so of course the next logical step was to hand him a $180 million blockbuster. That’s been a trend in Hollywood for the last few years. Studios have a tendency to hire indie directors who made quirky little comedies that made an impression on the festival circuit for mega budget pictures. Mind you, it has nothing to do with looking for an original voice, but because they’re looking for cheaper labor and directors that are to green not to follow the studios’ “rules.”
Just take a look at Colin Trevorrow who went from Safety Not Guaranteed to Jurassic World (no match for the original, but still a lot of fun) or Gareth Edwards being handed Godzilla right after directing his first feature film Monsters. Now, Trevorrow and Edwards are helming the new Star Wars films. Good for them, but where do they go from here? They went from 0 to 100 real quick.
Given all this, this latest King Kong remake might not be off to the best of starts right? That’s what we all thought, but then the trailer dropped, and what a trailer it is. Against all odds, it looks like Kong: Skull Island was injected with a (un)healthy dose of Apocalypse Now, a Vietnam movie vibe (and soundtrack!) permeates the atmosphere. Sure, the story doesn’t look like anything we haven’t seen before. Scientists and soldiers are sent to an island, they meet a giant ape, and then more monsters arrive. Even though this seems like a lazy plot, it’s the pure bravado oozing from the images that knocked us on our asses, making this look like a throwback to the best adventure films we saw as children.
Of course, this could be misleading (just like the beautiful first teaser released for Godzilla) but for once it seems like they may have gotten it right. The trailer gives a sense of adventure and danger and the action scenes look like they were shot by someone who doesn’t have the shakes.
Vogt Roberts got the best cast available for this film, surrounding himself with Brie Larson (who will make a perfect Captain Marvel), Tom Hiddleston (who has made great choices lately), the one and only Samuel Jackson, and John C. Reilly (a man who can do no wrong in our book).
All in all, looks like Kong: Skull Island could actually be one of the first surprises of 2017, and it has definitely made our most anticipated list for next year, which is something we didn’t think would happen a couple months ago. If you’re equally excited, you can watch the trailer over and over again, patiently waiting for March 10th when Kong will once again show us how he rules over his island.