Continuing from where I left off in part one, I had just finished talking about the dull/lame island that acted as the setting in the 1976 'King Kong.' Now, it's time to move on to brighter shores. In part two, I'm going to break down the glorious Peter Jackson created island from 2005, and give some brief speculation on what we might see in the new film: 'Kong: Skull Island.' The Peter Jackson Skull Island is actually the reason for breaking this article into two parts, since there was a lot of thought put into it's design and ecosystem.
2005 - SKULL ISLAND
Say what you will about the actual 2005 'King Kong' film, but no one can deny the beauty and mystery that hides in every frame of this island. Peter Jackson and crew did an astounding job creating a literal lost world, one that had remained relatively untouched by human hands for sixty-five million years (minus the villagers, but I'll get to them in a second). This island is unlike any jungle seen in the real world, and it definitely brought back that sense of 'going into the unknown' that the 76' Kong was sorely lacking. The beautiful-but-hellish island is slowly slipping back into the sea (a plot point Jackson borrowed from 'Son of Kong') and is an extremely harsh environment for everyone and everything attempting to live on it. The island is still located somewhere off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia just like in the original 1933 film.
The creatures of the island aren't just dinosaurs that stuck around after the mass extinction, but actually feel like completely different animals from what they were before. These dinosaurs have been continuously evolving for millions of years, and have changed distinctly in order to live in Skull Islands' harsh environment. The Tyrannosaurs are now a new creature called Vastatosaurus Rex that have wider feet to climb rocky terrain and are covered from head to tail in hard scales to protect them from all of the other alpha predators on the island (the third finger is still there as a reference to the original Kong). The raptors have evolved to be thin and tall. They can now hunt down some of the larger prey on the island like Brontosaurus, and compete with much bulkier predators. Instead of trying to be completely accurate to science, Jackson decided to create an island that had changed with the times.
This time around dinosaurs aren't the only fauna that our adventurers had to overcome in order to save Ann, as the film is bursting with an ecosystem of diverse animals. We have giant leeches, humongous insects of all sorts, large hairless bats, and huge man eating eels that live in the swamp (the eel scene was cut from the theatrical release).
These other animals really flesh out the fact that this island is a massive threat to any and all fleshy little humans that dare come near it. And the humans that live here are just as harsh and cruel as the island on which they reside.
The natives are brutal and scary humans that make the other two film's villagers look like friendly next-door neighbors. The first thing they do is literally stab the audio guy through the chest and then attempt to crush Carl Denham's skull. These people are barley surviving on a tiny little strip of the island, and have seemingly cut into the rocks to create little dwellings. You really get the feeling that these people are not the rulers of this island, instead they feel like they are part of the unique food chain and are nowhere near the top.
I would highly suggest people check out the book The World of Kong: A Natural History of Skull Island if you are interested in the thought processes that went into imagining the island of Kong 2005. It reads like someone studying the animals on the island, as well as how the inhabitants of the island have survived.
2017 - VIETNAMESE SKULL ISLAND
So, we really don't have much information on this Island as of yet, (considering we have yet to receive an actual trailer) but I have some ideas based on the behind the scenes footage and the leaked set photos. Obviously, this island looks very Pacific-Asian. The mountains and the foliage look like documentary footage I could recall from that region. It is interesting that they are going the realistic jungle route with the film, but it makes sense that this Skull Island would have to share the tone of the Legendary Godzillaverse.
I think that we will be getting monsters instead of dinosaurs/giant animals in this film. Now that we know Kong will be at least 100 feet tall, I really doubt that the film will just use generic or evolved dinosaurs as the side antagonists to go along with Kong. Again, since this film is part of the Legendary Godzillaverse, it would be great if they could bring some lesser known Toho monsters into the movie, and have Skull Island essentially be Monster Island from Toho's Godzilla series.
From what we have seen of the village it looks like they are going to be Asian-inspired as well, which fits the time period and setting of the film. Using the Vietnam War as a back drop will really help this film get a style for the island that we have never seen before. I would like to see these villagers still be cruel and unfriendly, but with the more realistic setting (especially with the Vietnam war raging in the background of the film) I think it should be a little toned down though from what we saw in Peter Jackson's Kong.
I'm sure that I will probably do an additional article once we get more footage of this new movie, but for now there really isn't enough information about the film. Keep a look out for our continued coverage of this upcoming film and I hope you've enjoyed our little retrospective of the mysterious island Kong calls home.