Everyone’s favorite giant ape is back and sporting quite the makeover. Following in the footsteps of Gareth Edwards and Colin Trevorrow before him, director Jordan Vogt-Roberts follows up his 2013 indie darling The Kings of Summer with the massive blockbuster hopeful, Kong: Skull Island.
This trend of hiring fresh directors for massive studio franchise films has been hit or miss (hit: Trevorrow, miss: Josh Trank), but it does provide the opportunity for stylistic filmmaking to hit the big screen in a big budget way every now and then. The newest trailer for Vogt-Roberts’ version of the Kong story doesn’t tell whether the movie will hold together or not, but does provide some uncommonly sumptuous imagery.
The footage looks absurdly fun and over the top, which is a welcome change after the laughably grim-dark tone of many blockbusters of late. John C. Reilly looks delightful here as a stranded explorer familiar with the islands monstrous inhabitants. Speaking of inhabitants, the human cast of this movie is tremendous. Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, John Goodman, Samuel L. Jackson, Toby Kebbell, Shea Wigham, Corey Hawkins and Jason Mitchell round out the cast. That’s 3 Marvel Characters, two beloved character actors and two members of N.W.A.
Something else about this footage that catches the eye is the sheer amount of creatures featured in just two and a half minutes. The “skullcrushers” feature some unique, skeletal design that should provide Kong with plenty of foes to crush. Bone-lizards, mutant water buffalo and obligatory giant spiders, oh my.
Seeing as this is the first post-Peter Jackson Kong movie in several years, it’ll be interesting to see if this completely new approach is accepted by the moviegoing public. The traditional “beauty killed the beast” story is well beloved by cinephiles (I count myself a fan of Jackson version, although I much prefer the original), but this looks to be something much more boisterous and rambunctious. Naturally, this will tie in to the universe started by Legendary’s recent Godzilla film, leading up to the beasties’ epic battle in Godzilla vs. Kong (2020).
Kong: Skull Island roars into theaters in March, 2017.