Kong: Skull Island - Review for blowUP media 17.03.2017

‘Is that a monkey?!’

Review by Kim-Alexis Georgiou

I have to come clean. The King Kong franchise is not a franchise I've followed closely over the years and would definitely not be my chosen subject if I were ever to appear on Mastermind (you know you've been living in the UK for a while when you're a South African who can confidently refer to English gameshows), but given my love for cinema, the notable cast and a rather eye-catching banner campaign, I was very willing to give it a try.

One of the smartest, and first, things I noticed about this film was how much it plays with perspective. I can only imagine that this is important when attempting to visually depict a gorilla who has eaten all of his Weetabix every day in living memory. Even right at the start, what looks like a normal-sized beach suddenly transforms into vast sand dunes when the ant-like soldiers start scuttling across it. A helicopter turns out to be a dragonfly and what looks like a normal sized hand on a rock turns out be Kong's gigantic hand on a rock face. For me, these were all nods to how things are not always as they seem and also; just because something is bigger doesn't mean it's automatically a terrifying threat (the massive stick insect was actually quite cute!).

There's an interesting, if slightly stretched, connection with the effects of war. The film itself is set practically minutes after the conclusion of the Vietnam War and Samuel L. Jackson's bullish psycho character is still searching for redemption. He signs up immediately for a mysterious mission to an 'undiscovered island surrounded by a perpetual storm in the South Pacific' ... not quite the post-war beach holiday I would have had in mind.

Tom Hiddleston plays a hunky Tracker who is specialised in finding lost men, not wearing his 'I heart TS' t-shirt thankfully, but sparks were definitely flying between him and co-star Brie Larson. John C. Reilly deserves a shout out as a slightly crazy WW2 soldier who has been shacked up with the island's indigenous community ever since becoming stranded there twenty-eight years previously. He provides moments of real humour and makes a stand for soldiers who know the difference between 'an enemy' and 'something they don't yet understand'. Of course, no monster film is complete without an epic monster battle! Kong absolutely owned the skullcrawlers and it took everything in me to not to cheer him on mid film!

At blowUP we always encourage our clients to go beyond just a poster and to really think about the space, the format and the context in order to make the campaign work even harder. I think it's safe to say that a close-to-life-size Kong head giving drivers in Birmingham the evil eye absolutely nailed it.

Overall I really enjoyed this film and Kong is a total boss - while I'm more than happy for him to stay on his island, I don't think this will be the last we see of this monster gorilla!