What’s up with this new trailer for Kong: Skull Island? It starts off looking promising, laying down a fresh take on familiar mythology. Then, just when you’re about to be sold on a tense adventure story, it makes a radical shift in tone. John C. Reilly shows up with his one-note comedy shtick.
From the beginning of its development, Kong has been plagued by shifting goals. Originally, it was intended as a stand-alone film centered on Kong’s homeland, a sort of prequel to the story we know. With the emergence of interconnected cinematic universes like those of Marvel, DC Comics, and Star Wars, Warner Bros. decided to tie the new Kong film in with the recent Godzilla reboot and build toward a monster mash-up.
Regardless of that idea’s merit, the attached talent was promising. Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, and Samuel L. Jackson all add gravity to the project.
But this trailer … my god, this trailer. If it proves at all indicative of the final film, we may have a gigantic dud on our hands. The presence of Reilly obliterates any sense of immersion, especially in his apparent role as narrator of exposition. It doesn’t bode well for the film’s character development that he shows up to explain everything rather than the protagonists figuring things out on their own.