Kong: Skull Island is a reboot that promises to find the iconic movie monster King Kong as dominant as ever in his titular homeland. Every trailer and TV spot released thus far – and there have been many – depict an ape as gigantic and formidable as any version of King Kong seen in its history. Like practically every other entry in the Kong franchise, the monster faces an epic battle against humans invading Skull Island.
Kong: Skull Island does, however, appear to have a different feel from many other King Kong movies, which have primarily fallen under the popular monster movie horror sub-genre. The newest Kong reboot, which stars Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, and Brie Larson, looks and feels more like a war movie. A new feature story on Skull Island continues to promote that image.
GamesRadar+ revealed the cover of the newest SFX magazine, available now, which features King Kong front-and-center. The cover is a tease for the magazine’s story on the making of the movie by Joseph McCabe, including an exclusive interview with director Jordan Vogt-Roberts. Another screenshot from inside the magazine depicts the first pages of the story, with the title “Beast War” and the caption: “Kong: Skull Island is about to unleash Ape-ocalypse Now. Joseph McCabe loves the smell of simian in the morning.”
The introduction to the story is, of course, a not-so-subtle reference to the 1979’s Apocalypse Now. The Francis Ford Coppola-directed classic follows a young captain’s mission into the jungles of Cambodia during the Vietnam War to find a mysterious colonel who was believed to have gone insane. It is the source of Robert Duvall’s famous, oft-imitated line, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.” A description for the new SFX issue also says that Vogt-Roberts is preparing to “unleash gorilla warfare in multiplexes.”
These references could not have possibly been made for the sake of making them. The multiple comparisons of Kong: Skull Island to Apocalypse Now signal that the reboot will be a dark, visceral movie that takes place in an unforgiving world devoid of humanity. If King Kong is Skull Island’s version of Marlon Brando’s Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now, the iconic monster will be as violent and unpredictable as ever. Based on the heavy war references, Kong: Skull Island is set to be one of 2017’s biggest, deadliest cinematic battles.
Ultimately, comparing Kong: Skull Island to Apocalypse Now could also be a fruitless endeavor. It’s virtually impossible for a PG-13 rated reboot of a monster movie franchise released in March to come close to matching the quality of Coppola’s classic. Even if it turns out to be one of the best Kong movies, Skull Island could still not be as enduring and memorable as Apocalypse Now is, nearly 40 years later. But if Kong: Skull Island truly does veer toward war movie territory, it at least promises to be a fresh take on a familiar story.