King Kong is set to return in Kong: Skull Island
Swinging into cinemas in March, Kong: Skull Island is set to be a huge $200 million extravaganza, setting the stage for an eventual onscreen match-up with fellow giant Godzilla in 2020. Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts (The Kings of Summer) and starring Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson and Brie Larson, there have been conflicting reports as to whether the XXL ape will be battling the usual dinosaurs or something rather different. Speaking to SFX earlier this year, Vogt-Roberts confirmed that he will in fact be ditching the dinos in favor of entirely new creatures with some unlikely inspirations.
“The first mandate for me was ‘No dinosaurs.’” Vogt-Roberts told SFX. “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.”
Supposedly, Hayao Miyazaki‘s Princess Mononoke was a touchstone for the production, along with Pokémon, which isn’t the weirdest combination I’ve ever heard of but it’s close. So far, the imagery in the TV spots and trailers straddles a very fine line between gorgeous and terrifying. If nothing else, Kong: Skull Island is going to look very, very good. Hopefully the plot will stand up to scrutiny a little better than, say, the most recent Avengers movie, which was so full of plot holes that it was beginning to look like piece of Swiss cheese after the critics got their hands on it.
According to Vogt-Roberts, the goal was a set of totally original creatures that weren’t quite as big and bad as Kong himself but still powerful and epic enough that they’d be believable as lords of their own individual lands. It almost sounds like the feudal system writ large on a mysterious, ancient island, which is kind of a cool idea.
The beauty of a Miyazaki-inspired landscape is that while it will be gorgeous, like Miyazaki himself it will acknowledge that nature is harsh, unforgiving and indifferent to your puny human feelings. For every adorable Totoro, there’s an equally hideous and significantly less fluffy creature waiting to eat you. Princess Mononoke was released in 1997 and is an absolute masterpiece, a fantasy adventure that is conscious of the glorious beauty and equally glorious ugliness of nature.
The Wrap has confirmed that both King Kong and Godzilla now share the same universe under Warner Bros. The connection between the two is apparently the shadowy government organisation known as Monarch, which will be explored further in Skull Island. In the movie, Tom Hiddleston’s character is a former British Special Air Service soldier who joins the Skull Island expedition crew at the end of the Vietnam War in the 1970s. The guy from Monarch’s pulling the strings in the background is played by the excellent and appropriately spooky John Goodman. Godzilla has, apparently, not emerged into the timeline yet, so Skull Island is still very much King Kong’s story.
What are your impressions so far on Kong: Skull Island? Let us know in the comments!