Kong: Skull Island looks like the perfect anti-monster movie.
Monster movies, typically, are pretty dark. That’s what you get when you center your story around a literal monster. From the grim metaphor that was The Babadook to the depressive, overly-restrained Godzilla, modern films about giant lizards and shadowy creepers have gotten overly serious. Stale, even.
Well, there’s hope: the new Kong: Skull Island trailer just dropped, and it’s the most fun three minutes you’ll have all day:
I mean, hell, where to even start here? First off, this film looks GORGEOUS. Cinematographer Larry Fong knows his way around a beautifully saturated war movie aesthetic—he worked as Zack Snyder’s cameraman on Watchmen, 300, and Batman v. Superman, which, for all their flaws, never stopped looking great. Then there’s the cast: Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson, two of the best actors on the scene right now, as hopeful explorers in a strange land; Samuel L. Jackson and John Goodman as sinister operatives who totallyknow more than they’re letting on; John C. Reilly as a marooned soldier, cracking jokes and telling everyone they’re going to die while he laughs.
Then there's that shot of Kong roaring, pounding his chest to the beat of the score. I mean, Jesus Christ.
THEN there are the monsters themselves. Skull Island looks to be taking almost the direct opposite approach to the 2014 Gareth Edwards Godzillajoint, which shrouded its titular beast in secrecy until an hour into the movie itself. Instead, Kong is revealed in all his glory thirty seconds into the trailer, along with some giant, cool-looking yak, spider, and weird log-bug monsters. Then there are the “Skullcrawlers”, but you can call them whatever you want.
If the continued comparisons to the very different, good-in-its-own-way Godzilla seem pointed and harsh, that’s only because these movies are set in the same universe. Legendary Pictures plans for the two to have a showdown in a movie in 2020, after Skull Island and Godzilla 2, which is on its way in 2019 courtesy of the guys behind Krampus. Hopefully, the sequel can take some cues from this movie, or at least its trailer: Godzilla was stunning, scary, and displayed realistic scale and terror unlike any movie I’ve ever seen. On the other hand, it was slow, humorless, and devoid of any sense of adventure. Already, Kong is dunking on his big green rival.
Speaking of: What are they even going to fight about? Godzilla neatly cast aside expectations—and memories of the 1998 Roland Emmerich attempt by casting the mutant kaiju as a hero rather than a villain, an ancient being hellbent on protecting the “balance of nature” at all costs. It seems Kong’s plight is similar, though once he’s off Skull Island, he may be less inclined to be so benevolent.
Kong: Skull Island comes out on March 10, 2017. It will be better and shorter than that Peter Jackson one.