The idea of kaiju, literally 'strange beast,' has long permeated Japanese cinema. The most prominent example is the long-running Godzilla franchise, which not only features the main lizard but has been comprised of a number of other gigantic monsters. The idea has never really held as much weight in the US, mostly being reserved for various versions of Godzilla itself. Recent years have seen that idea change, however, as first Cloverfield and then Pacific Rim brought the idea of kaiju to American audiences outside of a Godzilla-focused film. Meanwhile, perhaps the original kaiju, is finally joining the world of mega monsters.
Though King Kong is rarely considered a kaiju, he certainly fits the bill. And with the original film version of the character debuting in 1933, he may just be the first. Next month, the king will be returning as Kong: Skull Island will offer us a new look at the giant ape and the other strange beasts that inhabit his native land. Though not strictly an origin story, the movie still focuses on a group of explorers and scientists in the 1970s discovering the ape and continuing the burgeoning MonsterVerse that Legendary Pictures began with director Gareth Edwards' Godzilla in 2014.
The world of Godzilla (2014) world will continue directly with Godzilla: King of the Monsters in 2019 and a 2020 film, in which King Kong and Godzilla will "battle" one another. In the meantime, we'll be focusing on Kong and his monstrous neighbors on Skull Island. Thanks to the following Japanese poster tweeted out by Skull Island director Jordan Vogt-Roberts, we've finally got a look at a kaiju-inspired version of the great ape too:
The poster is for the Japanese release of Kong: Skull Island, which we've already seen a trailer for too. It also follows the Apocalypse Now-inspired poster for Skull Island that arrived last week, further illustrating the influence that seminal film had on Skull Island. Mixing it up with all of the monsters will be plenty of humans, with both camps recently highlighted in a series of character descriptions. We've also seen more specific looks at particualr characters, like John C. Reilly's eccentric Lt. Marlow. Despite all the grim action, Reilly will help keep the film light and humorous.
That last part is good to hear as a film like this could run the danger of taking a giant ape and an island full of monsters too seriously. While plenty of other films have done that effectively, it's always best to provide some diversity as you attempt to set up your shared film universe. We're just a month away from the movie's release, so we should know plenty more about this approach and how well it works soon.
We'll bring you all the Kong: Skull Island news as it emerges.
Source: Jordan Vogt-Roberts
- Kong: Skull Island (2017) release date: Mar 10, 2017
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) release date: May 31, 2019