★★★★★ - A Review by Cameron Kanachki
"Who's winning the war?" "Which one?" "That makes sense, I guess." That's a hilarious excerpt of a conversation between John C. Reilly & Tom Hiddleston in Kong: Skull Island, an absolutely crazy film. Set in 1973, Hiddleston plays Capt. James Conrad, a former British Special Air Service tracker. He has been hired by U.S. government agent Bill Randa (played by John Goodman) to map out an uncharted territory in the Pacific Ocean known as Skull Island. They are escorted by a Vietnam War helicopter squad led by Lt. Col. Preston Packard (played by Samuel L. Jackson) & his subordinates, Major Jack Chapman (played by Toby Kebbell), Capt. Earl Cole (played by Shea Whigham), Gunner Reles (played by Eugene Cordero), & Warrant Officers Glenn Mills (played by Jason Mitchell) & Reg Slivko (played by Thomas Mann). Also joining them are: anti-war photojournalist Mason Weaver (played by Brie Larson); Harvard seismologist Houston Brooks (played by Corey Hawkins); biologist San Lin (played by Jing Tian); & Landsat employees Victor Nieves (played by John Ortiz) & Steve Woodward (played by Marc Evan Jackson). Upon arriving, bombs are dropped to map out the island, but the helicopters are attacked by Kong (motion-capture played by Terry Notary), a huge gorilla.
After crashing, Randa's plan for coming to the island is discovered: he wanted to prove creatures like Kong exist. Conrad, Weaver, Brooks, Lin, Slivko & Nieves try to get to the north end of the island, while the others try to find Kong & kill him. Conrad's group meets with Hank Marlow (played by John C. Reilly), an American soldier who has been stranded on the island for 30 years. Marlow tells them that Kong is God to the natives on the island, & that Kong is not the evil one on the island; those are the Skullcrawlers, who killed Kong's ancestors. Now, Conrad's group must find Packard's group & stop them from going after Kong.
The cast is amazing. Jordan Vogt-Roberts's direction is excellent. The screenplay by John Gatins, Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein & Derek Connelly is brilliant. The cinematography by Larry Fong is amazing. The editing by Richard Pearson is excellent. The production design by Stefan Dechant is amazing. The film score by Henry Jackman is excellent. And the visual effects are astounding. This is an insanely amazing film.