The multi-layered archetypal survival theme in Kong: Skull Island comes as no surprise. Throw in a entitlement motif, though, and the mayhem that occurs in 1973 on an uncharted island in the South Pacific packs on a lot more proverbial muscle.
Briskly directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts, the film quickly lays out the time line of the place, a piece of floating land mass informally known as Skull Island that’s conveniently hidden from the rest of the world by virtue of its view-obscuring storm system.
In 1944, we meet two young WWII soldiers, one of whom has parachuted onto the terrain. Flash forward to 1973, and government agency man Bill Randa (John Goodman), accompanied by a geologist (Corey Hawkins), gets the U.S. government’s green light to map out that very same island – “where myth and science meet,” he gushes – and explore its natural bounty.
With key people in tow – helicopter expert Colonel Packard (Samuel L. Jackson), shrewd military ops officer Captain Conrad (Tom Hiddleston), “anti-war” photographer Mason Weaver (Brie Larson), an administrator (John Ortiz), as well as a pack of experienced soldiers – the group heads to Skull Island, where initial detonations provoke its residing giant, Kong.
After the beast vividly decimates a huge chunk of the team’s human’s resources for intruding on its territory, certain survivors reveal their true motivations, with a resulting line drawn in the sand.
One faction favors leaving the existing eco-system intact and making their way to a destination where they’ll be rescued. The other wants to destroy the creature and its oversized brethren because, well, Humans Rule.
Turning up as the film’s conscience is Hank Marlow (John C. Reilly) – the now middle-aged man we glimpsed at the start of the film, and who’s been trapped on the island for about three decades – who understands the circle-of-life ethos better than his gun-slinging compatriots, with the exception of sanguine-potential-couple Conrad and Mason.
Uranian egalitarianism vies with Mars aggression, Saturnine survival – a goal of both the human invaders and Kong himself – and Plutonian dominance and vengeance. An end-of-credits teaser suggests a sequel can continue the heavy archetypal lifting.
Archetype: Survivor. Aggression. Egalitarianism. Dominance. Vengeance.
Astrology Archetype: ♂ ♄ ♅ ♇ (Mars, Saturn, Uranus, Pluto)