Of all the amazing things I saw at this year’s awesome Butt-Numb-A-Thon (oh hello, I’ve been awake for almost 33 hours now), one of my most anticipated purely on an “of course this is going to happen” standpoint was seeing something from Kong: Skull Island. We didn’t know if we’d see the film or just clips, but it seemed assured that we were going to see something, especially when the fourth film on the lineup ended up being a documentary on how awesome Kong is in general.
Well, we got clips. And they were pretty badass. The first one also shed light on some tonal notes not apparent in any of the film’s marketing material thus far. It was a short clip, opening in WWII with both a Japanese and an American fighter pilot (clearly meant to be a young version of John C. Reilly’s character) crash landing in a desert. They shoot at each other unsuccessfully until they run out of bullets. Then they chase each other past the desert and into a forest, at which point they switch to melee combat.
This action is all very affected by things like Dutch angles and surprisingly spry humor beats, neither of which really show up in the trailers we’ve seen. The two fighters have a whole world war to worry about, but all that goes out the window when two giant ape hands grasp the ledge upon which they battle, followed by a very familiar face. That’s right! It’s Mighty Joe Young!
No, of course, it’s King Kong. I love how much Skull Island’s marketing efforts are willing to just let us see him already, rather than try to keep his look secret. To that end, the second clip we saw was basically a long-form version of the last trailer. Helicopters fly across Skull Island, dropping seismic bombs along the way. Until, naturally, Kong shows up and knocks the shit out of them. Very little of this was new. But on a big screen, holy shit it was exciting. Jordan Vogt-Roberts absolutely knows how to frame this giant beast to best convey his awesome (for once, I am using this word correctly) stature. King Kong is truly a monster in this and not one you want to mess with.
Look, there’s absolutely no reason yet to believe this isn’t going to be totally amazing. What we saw last night mostly proved that it would also be funny and inventive as well as just a giant monster riff on Apocalypse Now. I couldn’t be happier.