Monster movies don't come along very often, so when they do, they have to be the craziest, most bombastic movie of the year. Character development? Bitch, please! This genre is about pulpy action, demented fight scenes between man and monster, breathtaking special effects, military machismo and a killer soundtrack.
And Kong: Skull Island delivers, big time. It's an all-out attack on the senses. When Kong swings for the killer lizard that murdered his family, you feel like you're right there on Skull Island. But you're not, which is good, because you would be dead. Being both a monster movie and an action/war film of sorts, Kong is loaded to the brim with Easter Eggs, homages and references to classic movies which came before.
Check out eight of the very best Easter Eggs and visual nods hidden in the monster-laced shrubbery of #KongSkullIsland...
1. "Hold Onto Your Butts!"
Samuel L. Jackson gets the chance to yell "Hold onto your butts!" in this movie, which is, obviously, a brilliant throwback to Jurassic Park.
That Skull Island is infinitely better than Jurassic World is the cherry on the cake.
2. It's Always Sunny In Vietnam
Watching Skull Island, it quickly becomes obvious that Frances Ford Coppola's classic Vietnam War movie Apocalypse Now holds a huge place in the heart of director Jordan Vogt-Roberts.
Both Kong himself and the military helicopters are constantly framed in silhouette against a blood orange sunset throughout this movie, about as obvious a visual homage you will ever see. It's truly gorgeous.
If a few of the kids seeing this movie decide to check out Apocalypse Now, I reckon that's an homage well paid.
3. Kong Unchained
In the first King Kong movie, from way back in 1933, Kong is captured, chained, and paraded in front of an audience on Broadway as "the eighth wonder of the world!"
During the long fight scene between Kong and the Alpha Skullcrawler in Skull Island, the gorilla is temporarily shackled, until he escapes off his chains and throws down on the murderous mega-lizard. It's a brilliant nod to the original big-screen Kong.
4. Know Your Influences
John C. Reilly's scene-stealing WWII survivor is named Hank Marlow. In Heart of Darkness, the short story which Frances Ford Coppola adapted into Apocalypse Now, the narrator is an explorer named Marlow.
In another nice homage, Tom Hiddleston's former SAS man Captain James Conrad takes his name from Joseph Conrad, the author of Heart Of Darkness. Vogt-Roberts clearly knows his shit.
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5. Kaiju Kingdom
If you stuck around for the post-credits scene — you should know by now that no blockbuster is ever over until the sequel has been teased — you'll have seen Weaver and Conrad learning of the existence of other kaiju monsters in the interrogation room of Monarch HQ. (I'm not sure why Monarch has an interrogation room, or who has demanded that Weaver and Conrad be held, or why the other survivors weren't, but whatever. Minor details.)
Anyway, Brooks and Lin arrive to share proof that other kaijus exist in the form of ancient cave etchings depicting the beast Rodan, the enormous winged Mothra, and the three-headed dragon King Ghidorah.
In Ghidorah's etching, he's engaged in full-on war with Godzilla, which is pretty sick, and we hear Godzilla's roar as the scene smashes to black. It does exactly what a post-credits scene should — gets the audience wet for what's still to come in the kaiju-heavy MonsterVerse.
6. A Kiss To Kubrick
Skull Island is basically one big, bright love letter to (and satirical twist on) the war movies which got Hollywood all fired up and political during and after the Vietnam War, and Stanley Kubrick's classic Full Metal Jacket is not forgotten. Remember that movie's iconic poster art?
Chalked on the back of Mills's (Jason Mitchell) helmet in Skull Island is "born to breed." Same slogan, different weapon.
7. "For Your Health!"
Chances are only John C. Reilly's biggest fans would've caught this ridiculous and severely awesome nod to his niche Adult Swim sketch show Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! As Marlow, he wears a badge adorned with "Good for your health," and apparently somebody in costume department is a fan of Dr. Steve Brule...
8. Godzilla vs. Kong: Dawn Of Justice, Much?
In Kong's brilliant opening scene, we see a younger Marlow crash-landing on Skull Island in 1944, followed immediately by a Japanese soldier named Gunpei (played by legit Japanese rockstar MIYAVI). A chase from the beach to a high cliff ensues, and just as it looks like Marlow is done, King Kong pops up to scare the living crap out of both men.
More than just a cool twist, it's also a pretty major piece of foreshadowing toward Godzilla vs. Kong, with Gunpei representing the Japanese kaiju, Godzilla, and Marlow as the Kong stand-in — and, considering Marlow reveals later that he and Gunpei became the best of friends, you can bet your ass that Godzilla and Kong will ultimately team up to defeat a common enemy (spoilers — it's mankind!).
Did you uncover a Skull Island Easter Egg which I might have missed?