***Minor spoilers follow.***
King Kong has smashed his way into theaters with the release of #KongSkullIsland. The second film in this new monster universe, Skull Island brings a refreshing new look to this classic movie monster. This Kong is certainly the biggest we’ve ever seen on the big screen. After all, he will have to eventually clash with the King of the Monsters himself, #Godzilla.
Director #JordanVogtRoberts took great care to give the audience an entertaining monster flick while continuing to set up the monster universe that has been laid out for us. That he's a student of classic monster films was evident; there are plenty of nods to the previous Kong films that should be praised. Here are five of them.
1. The Natives
Let’s start with one that has been pretty common throughout every Kong film. The natives who worship Kong have been used consistently going all the way back to the 1933 original. Though most of the natives are usually pretty savage by offering up human sacrifices to their god, the one’s in Kong: Skull Island seem more benevolent. They accept #JohnCReilly’s character after his plane crashes and allow him to stay with them. None of those other natives from previous Kong films allowed such a practice. Their sole purpose was to survive and worship their god. This was certainly a unique take on the native tribe.
2. Kong Vs. A Giant Octopus
Also called the Mire Squid, this creature is a hybrid of a giant squid and an octopus. This gigantic tentacled creature attacks Kong when he’s least expecting it while tending to his wounds in a large lake. But the ape puts up a fight and comes out on top. Kong clearly had sushi in mind as he begins to devour the creatures tentacles right in front of our eyes.
Vogt-Roberts clearly had the Kong vs Octopus fight scene in mind from the original King Kong vs Godzilla. Although the creature doesn’t put up much of a fight in Skull Island, it’s nice to see the director pay a small tribute to the original Toho classic.
3. A Young Soldier Joins The Team
A more subtle nod is the inclusion of having a young soldier character. In #PeterJackson’s 2005 remake of the classic King Kong film, #JaimeBell played a young kid named Jimmy who was searching for an adventure of a lifetime. Longing for a spot on the expedition, Jimmy sneaks his way onto the ship and finds himself part of the crew. The film gave us some great character development between him and Hayes (Evan Parke).
Skull Island does something similar with its storyline. While there’s not as much character development throughout the film, the movie makes it known that Slivko (Thomas Mann) and Cole (Shea Whigham) are good friends. The young Slivko is learning under the tutelage of veteran Cole and sticks with him all the way to the end. The two share a close friendship which makes it all the more heartbreaking when Cole finally meets his end, much like Hayes did in Jackson’s remake.
4. Kong Protects (And Saves) The Girl
What’s a Kong movie without having a female figure with whom the great ape is besotted? While this Kong film doesn’t follow the “Beauty killed the Beast” formula like previous films, this movie does pay tribute to one of the best scenes in Jackson’s incredible remake: the T-Rex battle.
Though there are no dinosaur battles present in Kong: Skull Island, there are plenty of other creatures willing to put up a fight. In one epic fight scene, Kong is forced to battle a reptilian Skullcrawler.
During the fight, he also tries to protect the female with whom he has recently bonded. Kong keeps an unconscious Mason Weaver (Brie Larson) in the palm of his hand as he does battle with the humongous Skullcrawler.
5. Military Aircraft Attacks Kong On His Home Turf
Another classic scene in the Kong movie mythology: the military attacking Kong with some sort of aircraft. In the original and the 2005 remake, it was biplanes from the WWI era that attacked and killed Kong. In the 1976 remake, however, Kong is attacked by three helicopters who eventually shoot him down while standing on top of one of the World Trade Center buildings.
Kong: Skull Island once again finds him ambushed by helicopters, but this time it’s on his home turf. Since Kong is much larger in size this time around, this makes it a little easier for him to take down the military. Kong takes out every single one of the helicopters, proving once again who’s king on the island.
What homages did you catch from the earlier Kong films? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!