Kong: Skull Island - Blu-ray Review

Michael Scott

Moderator / Reviewer
Staff member
Thread Starter
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Messages
2,834
Location
Arizona
My AV System  
Preamp, Processor or Receiver
Yamaha TRS-5830 Atmos Receiver
Other Amp
Peavy IPR 3000 for subs
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Sony ubx800 4K UHD Player
Front Speakers
Cheap Thrills Mains
Center Channel Speaker
Cheap Thrills Center
Surround Speakers
Volt 10 Surrounds
Surround Back Speakers
Volt 10 Reach Surrounds
Rear Height Speakers
Volt 6 Overheads
Subwoofers
2x Marty subs (full size with SI 18's)
Video Display Device
JVC RS-46 Projector
Screen
Draper Cineperm M1300 119 inch Static Screen
Kong: Skull Island



full?lightbox=1&update=1495656953.jpg

Movie: :3.5stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :5stars:
Extras: :3stars:
Final Score: :4stars:



full?lightbox=1&last_edit_date=1500121350.jpg
Movie

It seems that comprehensive shared world building has been a common theme among franchises ever since Marvel made it popular. More and more films sharing the same world as other films, with nods and winks to previous films as well as crossovers. As I said, Marvel really kickstarted the fad back into existence (it has always existed, just not in as large quantities as today it seems) with the proliferation of the comic book resurgence, and more and more franchises are following that pattern. DC has their own extended universe, and now Warner Brothers is following suit with the Godzilla universe. A lot of people weren’t very pleased with Gareth Edwards’ 2013 reimaging of Godzilla, but I actually enjoyed the movie immensely. It was a flawed film for sure, but there was lot of explosions, gunfire and Godzilla himself pulling off some muto crunching in the epic last battle. Now when they showed the trailer for Kong: Skull Island and showed Kong as this massive, building sized, creature and hinted that they were in the shared universe, we KNEW what WB was going for. It screams Godzilla vs. King Kong, and I personally can’t wait. Kong: Skull Island happens to fix a few of the flaws that we experienced in Godzilla, but introduces several of its own, making it ever so slightly less enjoyable than the afore mentioned film.

Kong: Skull Island takes place quite a few years back before Godzilla, right as the Vietnam war is wrapping up (in fact, the war is announced over on the TV in the opening moments of the film). We’re privy Bill Randa (John Goodman) and Houston Brooks (Corey Hawkins) of Monarch industries (little wink and nod to our underwater monster friend) begging the U.S. government for funds to go out to an uncharted “Bermuda triangle” like island known as Skull Island. They phrase it as a survey mission, but Bill and Houston have an ulterior motive. Teaming up with a military escort led by Colonel Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson), a war photograph named Mason Weaver (Brie Larson) and ex SAS specialist James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston), the clandestine organization heads out for some innocent site seeing. Well, we obviously know that the trip isn’t so innocent, but it doesn’t take long for the rest of the escort to know it too. The minute the helicopters make it through the bad weather surrounding the island, they are attacked by an enraged King Kong. Furiously crushing the copters out of the sky, Kong slaughters half of the armed escort, and leaves the rest scattered around the island, trying desperately to make it to the rendezvous point in time.

As the groups are split up, we get fractured pieces of their understanding. Colonel Packard and his men are incensed at the attack by the giant gorilla, and are FULLY intending to go back to one of the downed birds and get some serious firepower together. Mason, James and a few others stumble into a tribe of indigenous people who have been living there for thousands of years, and in their midst, is a slightly crazed WWII pilot who was shot down over 30 years prior (played by John C. Reilly). It seems that Kong isn’t the monster they thought he was. Skull island is a home to countless monstrous beings that have been frozen in time for centuries while the world moved on and the rest of their species died out. Kong is the last of his overgrown gorilla kind, and he is actually the protector of this little world. Protector you say? Against WHAT? Well, there just so happens to be giant lizard creatures who live under ground, and while Kong patrols the region above the surface, they live underground, unable to harm the creatures and humans up top. The thing is, the arrival of the humans has upset the balance of nature and their seismic devices have awakened the mother of all beasts. The most powerful underground dwelling monster that has ever lived on the island, and Kong may not be able to stop it alone.
full?lightbox=1&update=1500121350.jpg
Kong: Skull Island deviates drastically from the classic lore (much like the 2013 Godzilla did), and instead mirrors itself after the 2013 monster flick. While the tone and 1970s feel of the movie is quite different, the plot unfolds at a similar pace and takes beats from Godzilla in large quantities. I kind of expected that considering Warner is gearing up for Godzilla vs. King Kong, but sometimes this can act as a detriment to the movie. Humans interfere with the natural habitat, monsters get unleased on the world, and Kong has to go out and smash some monster butt while the human military machine is worthless in taking down said beasties. In fact, replace the term “Godzilla” with “Kong” and you’d have virtually the same movie. Now, on the other hand, there are quite a few good things going for the flick. One of them being so similar to Godzilla. Godzilla was a blast to watch (for me personally, I know a lot of people hated it), and the similar beats made for a lot of fun as Kong ravages the muto like “skull crushers” we watch on as the military can’t do jack to save themselves. The locale change and the shift to the 1970s gives a tonally different feel to the movie that works well and makes it feel a little different than Godzilla at times.

Acting wise, this is a mixed bag. In a monster movie like Kong: Skull Island we’re not so worried about the humans. In fact, they tend to get in the way more often than not. Tom Hiddleston is there to make the girls titter with glee, and Brie Larson and the rest of the cast are pretty much expendable. The only ones who add any spark of life to the human interlopers is the inclusion of John C. Reilly as the slightly loopy WWII vet, and Samuel L. Jackson playing his normal over the top character. Beyond that, we just want to see Kong smash.




Rating:

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for brief strong language.




Video: :4.5stars:
full?lightbox=1&update=1500121350.jpg
Kong: Skull Island was shot using the Arri Alexa cameras at a 3.4K resolution and then mastered with a 2K digital intermediary for the final release on home video. Even though the stock used was digital, the film has been heavily graded and stylized to imitated the 1970s film stock as much as possible. There are actually several different gradings during the film, with the opening 30 minutes showing a heavy yellow and green filter, with slightly washed out blacks that are meant to simulate the worn look of the 1970s Vietnam War era. Once they get to Skull Island the film cleans up a bit, and gives us a more natural look. That’s not to say that the green and yellow tinge is completely gone, but it is certainly a bit more reined in for sure. Colors are vibrant, with the lush greens of the jungle looking impressive, and the deep blues of the waterfalls against the earthy browns of the jungle floor. Blacks are near impeccable, with only the first 20-30 minutes of the film showing any detriment, and the movie is near artifact free (there’s some small bouts of digital noise and when the Colonel lights his little fire you can see some brief instances of banding).




Audio: :5stars:
full?lightbox=1&update=1500121350.jpg
Warner has always been one of the good guys when it comes to putting the Atmos track on the Blu-ray as WELL as the 4K UHD, and
Kong is no different. If you’re reading the 4K UHD review, or this 2D Blu-ray review, the audio portion will remain exactly the same (the only change up is the 3D review, which only uses the 5.1 DTS-HD MA mix for some strange reason. A trend that has followed Warner over the last few 3D films they’ve released). As they have been doing recently, the disc comes with both an English Atmos track, as well as a 5.1 DTS-HD MA mix. The 5.1 mix is certainly a fine track, but the Atmos mix (or 7.1 TrueHD core for those without a capable receiver and setup) is distinctly superior. The dialog is well placed in the center channel, and the dynamic range is quite impressive. Surrounds and overheads are used with pinpoint precision, as you can hear individual bullets going over your shoulders, or the helicopter blades thumping right over the top of you with ease. Directional cues for the ambient jungle noises are eerily precise, and the LFE is nothing short of destructive. Now the first thing I will say about the LFE is that it is MUCH different than Godzilla or Pacific Rim. Those films used overcooked bass with built in clipping for a sheer loudness war. Not saying I didn’t love every second of that skull crushing bass, but Kong takes a more subdued approach, still giving us earth crushing bass, but not infusing it in EVERY…SINGLE…moment of the film. There is AMPLE room for earth crushing LFE, but it is used judiciously and doesn’t over power the rest of the speakers. Something which makes me actually really impressed with the sound design.

.






Extras: :3stars:
full?lightbox=1&update=1500121350.jpg
• Director's Commentary
• Creating a King: Realizing an Icon
• Creating a King: Summoning a God
• Monarch Files 2.0
• Tom Hiddleston: The Intrepid Traveler
• Through the Lens: Brie Larson's Photography
• On Location: Vietnam
• Deleted Scenes






Final Score: :4stars:


Kong: Skull Island isn’t AS good as the 2013 Godzilla, but I think it got far too much critical bad press than was necessary. Is it a great movie? Of course not. It’s a movie where King Kong runs around on an island and smashes thing while the human element watches on in terror. The downside is that, much like Godzilla, too much time is spent on the human conflict, and not enough time with Kong himself. The audio and video for the release are nothing short of jaw dropping, and the special feature are more than capable. Definitely worth it for a fun mindless romp. If you liked the 2013 Godzilla, I think you’ll get a kick out of Kong. If you hated the film, then Kong will probably not tickle your fancy as well. Fun Watch.




Technical Specifications:

Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, John C. Reilly, Samuel L. Jackson
Directed by: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Written by: Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), English DTS-HD MA 5.1, French (Canadian), Portuguese, Spanish, English DD 5.1 (English DD is DVS)
Studio: Warner Brothers
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 118 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: Own
Kong: Skull Island on Ultra HD Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD on July 18 or Own it Early on Digital on June 20!






Recommendation: Fun Watch

 

Sonnie

Senior Admin
Staff member
Joined
Apr 2, 2017
Messages
2,430
Location
Alabama
My AV System  
Preamp, Processor or Receiver
NAD M17 V2 Processor
Main Amp
Emotiva XPA-1 Gen 2 Monoblocks
Additional Amp
Emotiva XPA Seven
Other Amp
Emotiva A-150
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Panasonic UB9000 4K UHD Player
Front Speakers
MartinLogan Classic ESL 9
Center Channel Speaker
MartinLogan Focus C-18
Surround Speakers
MartinLogan ElectroMotion ESL
Surround Back Speakers
MartinLogan Motion 12
Front Height Speakers
MartinLogan EM-IC
Rear Height Speakers
MartinLogan EM-IC
Subwoofers
SVSound SB16-Ultra x 4
Video Display Device
Epson 6050
Screen
Elite Screen
Remote Control
Universal MX-890
Other Equipment
Dish Joey 4K
Oh yeah.... I am ready for it... bring it on!
 

Michael Scott

Moderator / Reviewer
Staff member
Thread Starter
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Messages
2,834
Location
Arizona
My AV System  
Preamp, Processor or Receiver
Yamaha TRS-5830 Atmos Receiver
Other Amp
Peavy IPR 3000 for subs
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Sony ubx800 4K UHD Player
Front Speakers
Cheap Thrills Mains
Center Channel Speaker
Cheap Thrills Center
Surround Speakers
Volt 10 Surrounds
Surround Back Speakers
Volt 10 Reach Surrounds
Rear Height Speakers
Volt 6 Overheads
Subwoofers
2x Marty subs (full size with SI 18's)
Video Display Device
JVC RS-46 Projector
Screen
Draper Cineperm M1300 119 inch Static Screen
3D and 4K UHD reviews coming by tuesday
 

JBrax

Senior AV Addict
VIP Supporter
Joined
Apr 18, 2017
Messages
1,452
My AV System  
Preamp, Processor or Receiver
Marantz sr7010
Main Amp
Emotiva XPA-3
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Samsung K8500
Front Speakers
Klipsch rf-7 II
Center Channel Speaker
Klipsch rc-64 II
Surround Speakers
Klipsch rs-42 II
Surround Back Speakers
Klipsch rb-51 II
Front Height Speakers
Klipsch rb-51 II
Rear Height Speakers
Klipsch rb-51 II
Subwoofers
SVS PB12-NSD (X2)
Other Speakers or Equipment
Panamax M5300
Video Display Device
Sony Bravia XBR65-930D
Remote Control
Logitech Harmony One
Other Equipment
PS4

Todd Anderson

Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
Staff member
Joined
Jan 20, 2017
Messages
5,502
Location
Balt/Wash Metro
My AV System  
Preamp, Processor or Receiver
Denon X8500H
Main Amp
Emotiva XPA-5
Additional Amp
Emotiva XPA Gen3 2.8 multichannel amp
Other Amp
VSX21-THX
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
OPPO UDP-205, UDP-203, Panasonic UB820
Front Speakers
SVS Ultra Towers
Center Channel Speaker
SVS Ultra Center
Surround Speakers
SVS Ultra Surround
Surround Back Speakers
SVS Ultra Bookshelf
Front Height Speakers
SVS Prime Elevation x4 (Top Front, Top Mid-Front)
Rear Height Speakers
SVS Prime Elevation x4 (Top Middle, Top Rear)
Subwoofers
dual SVS SB16s + dual PSA XS30s
Other Speakers or Equipment
Behringer 1124p; Aura Bass Shaker Pros; SuperSub X
Video Display Device
JVC RS520
Screen
Carada Cine-White 0 gain
Other Equipment
LG Electronics 65-inch B6 OLED, Sony 65-inch X900F
Nice.

Mike, I was really hoping to 5 solid stars for this one's audio. :paddle:
 

tripplej

AV Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 13, 2017
Messages
4,381
My AV System  
Preamp, Processor or Receiver
NAD T-777
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Oppo 103 Blu Ray Player
Front Speakers
7 Paradigm Reference series 8" in ceiling speakers
Subwoofers
2 Paradigm SE Subs
Other Speakers or Equipment
Nintendo Wii U Gaming Console
Video Display Device
Samsung UN75F8000 LED TV
Remote Control
Universal Remote MX-450
Other Equipment
Sony PS4 Gaming Console, Panamax MR-5100 Surge
I enjoyed the 2013 Godzilla so I will have to check this one out. Thanks for the review.
 

Michael Scott

Moderator / Reviewer
Staff member
Thread Starter
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Messages
2,834
Location
Arizona
My AV System  
Preamp, Processor or Receiver
Yamaha TRS-5830 Atmos Receiver
Other Amp
Peavy IPR 3000 for subs
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Sony ubx800 4K UHD Player
Front Speakers
Cheap Thrills Mains
Center Channel Speaker
Cheap Thrills Center
Surround Speakers
Volt 10 Surrounds
Surround Back Speakers
Volt 10 Reach Surrounds
Rear Height Speakers
Volt 6 Overheads
Subwoofers
2x Marty subs (full size with SI 18's)
Video Display Device
JVC RS-46 Projector
Screen
Draper Cineperm M1300 119 inch Static Screen
heyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy, Tripplej is back!
 

tripplej

AV Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 13, 2017
Messages
4,381
My AV System  
Preamp, Processor or Receiver
NAD T-777
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Oppo 103 Blu Ray Player
Front Speakers
7 Paradigm Reference series 8" in ceiling speakers
Subwoofers
2 Paradigm SE Subs
Other Speakers or Equipment
Nintendo Wii U Gaming Console
Video Display Device
Samsung UN75F8000 LED TV
Remote Control
Universal Remote MX-450
Other Equipment
Sony PS4 Gaming Console, Panamax MR-5100 Surge
Thanks Michael.

Just a side note for fans of Kong, recently we went to Universal Studio's in Orlando and they have a Kong exhibit with 3D/4D ride, etc. It was a lot of fun and I was very impressed with the Kong exhibit. Highly recommended.
 
Last edited:

Asere

Senior AV Addict
Joined
Apr 14, 2017
Messages
1,069
Location
Texas
My AV System  
Main Amp
Denon AVR X4200W
Additional Amp
Parasound HCA 1500A
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Oppo 103D
Front Speakers
SVS Prime Towers
Center Channel Speaker
SVS Prime
Surround Speakers
SVS Prime Satellites
Front Height Speakers
Proficient
Rear Height Speakers
Proficient
Subwoofers
Dual Kreisel DXD 12012, PSA S3000i
Video Display Device
Samsung PNF8500
Screen
60"
Remote Control
Harmony Ultra
Other Equipment
Panamax M5300 PM, Monster HTS 3600
I will be buying this one :)
 
Top Bottom