Kong: Skull Island (2017)
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Kong: Skull Island is a 2017 American giant monster film produced by Legendary Pictures that serves as an origin story for King Kong, and is the second entry in the MonsterVerse. The film was released to American theaters on March 10, 2017.
"The year is 1973. Somewhere in our world, it is said that there exists a wondrous island unspoiled by man – a land shrouded in mystery, where myth runs wild. Uncharted and undiscovered.
When the secretive organization known as Monarch identify this destination as the origin point for mysterious new superspecies, they mount an expedition to discover its secrets.
What they find on Skull Island is an adventure beyond any human experience. An exotic paradise of wonders and terrors, where flora and fauna have fused together into an Eden of otherworldly jungle creatures.
As one group fights to escape and the other declares war on Kong, we discover that the mighty primate is at the center of a battle for dominion over the island, locked into a ‘survival of the fittest’ face-off with the terrifying apex predators responsible for wiping out his kin.
Driven by vengeance, Kong will become nature’s fury, and fight to take his rightful place upon the throne of most powerful beast on the island, revealing the story of how Kong became King."
After crash-landing on Skull Island in 1944, American fighter pilot Hank Marlow and Japanese pilot Gunpei Ikari engage in a fight to the death. After Ikari gains the upper hand and prepares to fatally stab Marlow with a dagger, a colossal ape appears over a cliff, leading the two shocked men to end their struggle.
In 1973, the scientific organization Monarch organizes an expedition to Skull Island, escorted by the Sky Devils helicopter squadron led by Lt. Colonel Preston Packard. Once the helicopters carrying the expedition members clear the storm cell surrounding the island and begin flying over land, they immediately begin dropping seismic charges onto the ground below, allegedly to map the island. The explosions draw out Kong, the giant ape who Marlow and Ikari had seen years earlier, who responds by throwing a tree through one of the choppers. The remaining choppers form a perimeter around Kong and open fire on him. The bullets do little more than irritate Kong, who proceeds to rip the helicopters out of the sky and smash them. After downing all of the choppers, Kong wanders back off into the jungle. Kong eventually reaches a river, where he notices the wounds he had sustained from the choppers' rotor blades. Kong winces in pain briefly before beginning to drink from the lake. Suddenly, Kong realizes that a Mire Squid is in the water and grabs one of the creature's tentacles. The Mire Squid then attacks Kong with all of its tentacles, trying to strangle him to death. Kong is able to crush the creature's head under his foot and kill it, then proceeds to eat several of its tentacles. Kong then grabs the squid's carcass and drags it away, presumably back to his lair.
After meeting Marlow, some of the surviving expedition members are brought back to the village of the island's indigenous tribe, the Iwis. There, Marlow explains that Kong was perceived as a god by the islanders, and generally acted as a guardian on the island that kept the most dangerous creatures there under control. He states that the reason Kong attacked the helicopters was because the seismic charges they dropped had drawn creatures he called Skullcrawlers to the surface. According to Marlow, Skullcrawlers are the most vicious and dangerous animals on the island, and are responsible for killing Kong's family. At this time, Kong is being attacked by two Skullcrawlers, but is able to easily dispatch the two smaller creatures. One of the expedition members, Mason Weaver, finds a Sker Buffalo pinned underneath a downed helicopter and tries to free it, only for Kong to arrive and free the buffalo himself. Kong gives Weaver an indifferent glance and simply wanders off.
After surviving an encounter with a Skullcrawler and several Leafwings, Weaver and James Conrad stand atop a cliff and look out over the island, only to witness Kong approach them. To their surprise, Kong does not seem violent or aggressive at all, and even allows Weaver to place her hand on his face. Suddenly, explosions appear over the distance, and Kong immediately races toward them. Weaver and Conrad know that Packard and his men are setting a trap for Kong, intending to kill him. The two of them, joined by Marlow, rush to the scene to try and save Kong. When Kong arrives at the scene of the explosions, he sees Packard and his men in the distance. As Kong crosses a lake to reach them, Packard ignites the napalm he had dumped into the water, causing the entire lake to erupt into flames. Kong swings his arm angrily at the water, causing the flaming napalm to hit some of the soldiers, before collapsing onto the ground. Packard places leftover seismic charges around Kong, preparing to finish him, but Weaver, Conrad and Marlow arrive and aim their guns at him, demanding for him to stop. Packard refuses, and is prepared to detonate the charges and blow them all sky high, when suddenly a gigantic Skullcrawler erupts from the lake. Everyone except Packard flees, while Kong regains consciousness and promptly smashes Packard under his fist. The Skullcrawler attacks Kong, and the humans are forced to leave the giant ape to his fate.
The following morning, as the surviving expedition members near the extraction point on the north side of the island, they are confronted by the giant Skullcrawler. Fortunately, Kong arrives and smashes the monster in the face with a boulder. Kong engages in battle with the Skullcrawler, buying time for the humans to get to safety. The weakened Kong simply is not a match for the Skullcrawler, and is knocked into an old shipwreck and entangled in its anchor chain. Weaver manages to reach a vantage point and fires a flare into the Skullcrawler's eye, enraging it and drawing it away from Kong. Kong finally breaks free of the chain, and manages to create a makeshift flail when it becomes entangled with the ship's propeller. Kong swings the flail at the Skullcrawler, embedding the propeller into its back. Kong pulls the propeller out and slices the creature across its throat, seemingly killing it. During the struggle, the cliff where Weaver is standing is destroyed, and she falls into the water below. Kong pulls Weaver out of the water and takes a second to stare at her in his hand, only for the Skullcrawler to get back up and clamp its jaws onto his arm. Kong battles the Skullcrawler again, trying to keep Weaver away from its mouth, but the beast uses its prehensile tongue to pull Kong's hand, with Weaver held in it, down its throat. Mustering all his strength, Kong pulls his hand free of the Skullcrawler's gullet, ripping out the beast's innards and killing it instantly. Kong gently sets Weaver down on the ground, while Conrad immediately runs to her to ensure she is okay. As Weaver regains consciousness and embraces Conrad, Kong looks back at the two of them before walking away. Once the survivors are finally rescued from the island, Kong stands triumphantly in his domain, beating his chest and letting out a mighty roar.
Marlow is reunited with his family in Chicago, where he finally meets his son. But before Conrad and Weaver can go home, they are interrogated in a Monarch facility where fellow expedition members Houston Brooks and Lin San show them photographs of old cave paintings depicting Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah as proof that Kong is not the only ancient monster who still walks the Earth.
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts
- Writers Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein, Derek Connolly
- Story John Gatins
- Producers Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni, Mary Parent, Alex Garia
- Executive Producers Edward Cheng, Eric McLeod
- Music Henry Jackman
- Cinematography Larry Fong
- Edited by Bob Murawski, Richard Pearson, Christian Wagner
- Production Design by Stefan Dechant
- Special Effects by Tosin Akinwoye
- Director of Photography Larry Fong
- Animation Supervisor Scott Benza
- Visual Effects Supervisor Jeff White
- Costume Designer Mary E. Vogt
- Sound Designer Al Nelson, Pete Horner
Actor's name on the left, character played on the right.
- Tom Hiddleston as Captain James Conrad
- Samuel L. Jackson as Lt. Col. Preston Packard
- Brie Larson as Mason Weaver
- John C. Reilly as Lt. Hank Marlow
- John Goodman as Bill Randa
- Corey Hawkins as Houston Brooks
- John Ortiz as Victor Nieves
- Jing Tian as Lin San
- Toby Kebbell as Maj. Jack Chapman / Kong (facial references)
- Jason Mitchell as Warrant Officer Glen Mills
- Shea Whigham as Capt. Earl Cole
- Thomas Mann as Warrant Officer Reg Slivko
- Eugene Cordero as Reles
- Marc Evan Jackson as Landsat Steve
- Will Brittain as Young Marlow/Marlow's Son
- MIYAVI as Gunpei Ikari
- Terry Notary as Kong (motion capture)
|SPOILER WARNING: This section may contain major plot and/or ending details. Proceed at your own discretion.|
Weapons, Vehicles and Races
- Main article: Kong: Skull Island/Development.
- Main article: Kong: Skull Island/Gallery.
- Main article: Kong: Skull Island - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.
- King Kong: Giant God of Skull Island (キングコング：髑髏島の巨神?, Japan) Kingu Kongu: Dokurotou-no-Kyoshin
- Kong: Skeleton Island (金剛：骷髏島 Jīngāng: Kūlóu dǎo, China)
View all posters for the film here.
- United States - March 10, 2017 [view poster]
- Belgium - March 8, 2017
- Egypt - March 8, 2017
- France - March 8, 2017
- Argentina - March 9, 2017
- Austria - March 9, 2017
- Brazil - March 9, 2017
- Chile - March 9, 2017
- Czech Republic - March 9, 2017
- Serbia - March 9, 2017
- Germany - March 9, 2017
- Denmark - March 9, 2017
- Georgia - March 9, 2017
- Greece - March 9, 2017
- Croatia - March 9, 2017
- Hungary - March 9, 2017
- Israel - March 9, 2017
- Italy - March 9, 2017
- South Korea - March 9, 2017
- Kazakhstan - March 9, 2017
- Netherlands - March 9, 2017
- Philippines - March 9, 2017
- Portugal - March 9, 2017
- Russia - March 9, 2017
- Singapore - March 9, 2017
- Slovakia - March 9, 2017
- Australia - March 10, 2017
- Bulgaria - March 10, 2017
- Canada - March 10, 2017
- Estonia - March 10, 2017
- Spain - March 10, 2017
- Finland - March 10, 2017
- United Kingdom - March 10, 2017
- Hong Kong - March 10, 2017
- Ireland - March 10, 2017
- Lithuania - March 10, 2017
- Norway - March 10, 2017
- New Zealand - March 10, 2017
- Poland - March 10, 2017
- Romania - March 10, 2017
- Sweden - March 10, 2017
- Turkey - March 10, 2017
- Taiwan - March 10, 2017 [view poster]
- Vietnam - March 10, 2017
- South Africa - March 10, 2017
- China - March 24, 2017 [view poster]
- Japan - March 25, 2017 [view poster]
Kong: Skull Island was released in IMAX on March 10, 2017, in addition to 2D and 3D releases.
Kong: Skull Island currently has a 77% Certified Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 277 reviews. The site's Critical Consensus reads, "Offering exhilarating eye candy, solid acting, and a fast-paced story, Kong: Skull Island earns its spot in the movie monster's mythos without ever matching up to the classic original." On Metacritic, it has a score of 62, indicating "generally favorable reviews."
- Main article: Kong: Skull Island/Videos.
- According to director Jordan Vogt-Roberts, the first script of the film that he read took place in 1917. Vogt-Roberts later conceived the idea of setting the film during the Vietnam War after talking with Legendary Pictures. When he pitched the idea, Vogt-Roberts told Empire that he thought Legendary would "laugh [him] out of the room," but to his surprise Legendary liked the idea and the setting was changed.
- Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts did not want there to be any living dinosaurs in the film because, in his words, "Jurassic World owns that as far as I'm concerned, and Peter Jackson's version did such a great job with that V-Rex fight. So I don't want to retread on that at all."
- Kong: Skull Island is the first King Kong film released in 3D, although like Godzilla it was not filmed in 3D, but post-converted.
- One IMAX poster for this film is patterned after the poster for the film Apocalypse Now. In addition, the character James Conrad is most likely named after Joseph Conrad, author of Heart of Darkness, the novella upon which Apocalypse Now is based, while the character Hank Marlow is most likely named after Marlow, the book's protagonist.
- Kong: Skull Island was the first major motion picture to film a significant number of scenes in Vietnam.
- The beached ship repurposed as an Iwi shrine to Kong, the SS Wanderer, is named after the boat that travels to Skull Island in the novelization of the original 1933 film. Hank Marlow states that the Wanderer came to the island about a decade before his own arrival in 1944.
- The names of the U.S. Senator and his secretary that Randa and Houston Brooks meet with at the beginning of the film are Willis and O'Brien, respectively, a reference to Willis O'Brien, who created the stop-motion effects that brought Kong and the other creatures to life in the original 1933 film.
- One of the documents that Randa presents to Senator Willis mentions "Cooper Schoedsack," named after the original King Kong's co-directors, Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack.
- Kong: Skull Island marks the first official appearance of Godzilla in a non-Godzilla kaiju film. However, it is not Godzilla's first ever appearance in any non-Godzilla film, as Godzilla made a cameo in Toho's Always: Sunset on Third Street 2 in 2007.
- One version of the film's post-credit sequence involved the characters watching Godzilla surface in the Arctic Ocean. It was rejected because Godzilla stated that he had not been sighted since 1954.
- Kong: Skull Island is the first American-made live-action King Kong film where Kong is not killed or seemingly killed at the film's end.
- This is also the only live-action King Kong film where Kong never leaves his island and is brought to human civilization.
- The version of Kong in this film is the largest incarnation of Kong featured in an American film, standing 104 feet tall, while past incarnations have either been around 50 or 25 feet tall. The only incarnation of Kong that is taller is the Kong from King Kong vs. Godzilla, which stood approximately 147 feet tall.
- The attire worn by Randa in this film is reminiscent of that worn by Carl Denham in the original 1933 film.
- The patch and slogan on the back of Hank Marlow's jacket in this film are a reference to the character Dr. Steve Brule, who is portrayed by John C. Reilly in Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! and Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule, as well as the jacket worn by Kaneda in Katsuhiro Otomo's manga AKIRA and its 1988 anime film adaptation.
- The design of the Skullcrawlers in this film was inspired by the Two-Legged Lizard from the original King Kong. Other influences included Sachiel from Neon Genesis Evangelion, No Face from Spirited Away, and Cubone from Pokemon.
- The Mother Longlegs creature in this film may be inspired by the crab-spiders from the infamous lost spider pit sequence from the original King Kong.
- The Mire Squid that Kong briefly battles in this film is a reference to the Giant Octopus he fought in King Kong vs. Godzilla. Kong's use of a tree as a weapon in the final battle with the giant Skullcrawler may also be a nod to his famous use of a tree against Godzilla in the film.
- During the film's final battle, Kong appears to attempt to pry open and break the giant Skullcrawler's jaws. This is a reference to Kong's preferred tactic of breaking an opponent's jaws, which he demonstrates in the original film, King Kong Escapes, and the 1976 and 2005 remakes.
- Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts has said that the filmmakers intentionally tried to differentiate the Kong design in this film from the design featured in the 2005 film directed by Peter Jackson. Rather than making the design resemble a gigantic silverback gorilla that walks on all four limbs like in Jackson's film, the designers chose to have Kong stand upright like a human. A major reason for this was to show that Kong is his own species that has its "own set of rules, so [the filmmakers] can do what we want and [they] really wanted to pay homage to what came before...and yet do something completely different."
- The helicopters that Kong destroys early in the film are UH-1 Iroquois, the same type of choppers that seemingly killed Kong in the climax of the 1976 remake.
- The Japanese fighter pilot who befriended Hank Marlow, Gunpei Ikari, is named after the late Japanese game designer Gunpei Yokoi and the character Shinji Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion.
- Official site
- Official Twitter page
- Official Facebook page
- discoverskullisland.com - Viral marketing campaign site
- Official site (Japan)
- Complete credits (contain spoilers)
- Production notes
- List of firearms used in the film
- Official character bios
- Tie-in products which will be sold in theaters
- Entertainment Tonight set report
- Moviefone set visit
- Nerdist set visit
- Google Maps listing for Skull Island
This is a list of references for Kong: Skull Island. These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: 
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