I don't often recommend spending the extra to see a film in 3D or on a massive screen. But sitting back and center at an IMAX cinema watching the biggest Kong I've ever seen rampage around there's no doubt the extra bucks did contribute to a rollicking good time.

Kong: Skull Island can be considered the second instalment in Legendary Entertainment's 'MonsterVerse' franchise, which previously brought us 2014's Godzilla.

It's not really a remake of the original 1933 film as Kong never leaves Skull Island, so let's call it a reimaging of the King Kong story.

Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts captures the awe and amazement of the original, but has made enough changes to stand out from previous efforts, such as John Guillermin's average 1976 remake, and Peter Jackson's handsome King Kong in 2005.

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Vogt-Roberts also presents a film that's pacy, full of action and fun; even if it's highly implausible. Imagine the Jurassic Park films on steroids.

Tom Hiddleston stars in Kong: Skull Island. Supplied to Timeout
Tom Hiddleston stars in Kong: Skull Island. Supplied to Timeout

Set in 1973 as the Vietnam War is ending and Nixon is staring down the barrel of Watergate, the first line comes from conspiracy theorist Bill Randa (John Goodman) who steps out of a taxi in Washington and declares, "Mark my words, there'll never be a more screwed-up time in Washington!".

It's the screenwriter's nod to this being a period piece with some awesome 70's music, yet still being relevant today.

Randa is in Washington to convince a Senator to fund an expedition to a remote South Pacific island where he believes an eco-system exists which supports ancient species. In other words, monsters who kill in many gruesome ways.

Randa gets his funding, and leads an eclectic team to Skull Island, made up of 'shoot-now; questions-later' US Military commander Preston Packard (Samuel L. Jackson), British mercenary and tracker James Conrad (Hiddleston), and anti-war photographer Mason Weaver (Larson), where they soon have some "unconventional encounters."

Tom Hiddleston stars in Kong: Skull Island. Supplied by Warner Brothers.
Tom Hiddleston stars in Kong: Skull Island. Supplied by Warner Brothers.

It's a good cast, and with little character development it needed to be. It's their job to pull us into this fantasy adventure and make us feel the same terror and hope they feel as they battle giant spiders and evil lizards called Skull Crawlers - and they do.

This would have been a duller affair without the inclusion of John C. Reilly's dry and witty character Hank Marlow, a WWII pilot marooned on the island for almost 29 years.

The other characters happily share the limelight, especially Hiddleston, who's slowly rebuilding his reputation after wearing an 'I Heart T.S' t-shirt, and Oscar award winning Larson, who knows it only takes a moment of tenderness and gritty heroinism to make a lasting impact.

But really, it's the motion captured, fierce and well-articulated Kong who has the most impact in this big, B-grade scripted jungle monster movie.

It's not a film to read a lot into; more an opportunity to sit back, eat popcorn and just gasp at the spectacle of it all.


Cast: Brie Larson, Tom Hiddleston
Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
Running Time: 118 mins
Rating: M (Violence and offensive language)
Verdict: Jurassic World on steroids.