This is a film that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time, but is Kong: Skull Island OK for children? It’s got that sweet PG-13 rating which can be a curse or a blessing, depending on source material. If it’s too gentle then nobody will want to see it and if it’s too graphic then middle school masses won’t be able to see it. Factor in that the monster genre has been criminally under-represented in movies and you’ve got a combination that could be a great thing for monster hungry movie fans.
Kong: Skull Island is a mild to strong PG-13 film. There is one f bomb, a couple S words and lots of monster fighting. The fight sequences range from the human to monster kind to the much more entertaining monster to monster fights. There’s no sex nudity or erstwhile mentions of love, everyone is too busy fighting monsters or getting through the jungle.
I saw Kong: Skull Island in IMAX 3D. As a technical film it is spectacular in that setting. Kong is massive and enters the story just after the film starts. The sound effects are fabulous and the speaker set up in these theaters is really something that has to be experienced with big, large popcorn movies. The is the same film that we saw Kubo in and the range of colors is deeper than any color wheel at the paint store.
Adults will enjoy Kong: Skull Island, but it won’t break any new ground or leave them thinking about greater world issues. This is a large, very well made monster film that is simply designed to entertain and it does that quite well. It also does a good job of setting up Tom Hiddleston as Tom Hiddleston: Action Star. He emerges from the shadow of Loki and really sells himself as an action star who could easily make a call from the Tardis, have a license to kill or whatever other fast moving vehicle he wants to drive.
Kong: Skull Island is a film that children in upper elementary and up will want to see. Part of that is the forbidden fruit aspect. This is a cool movie that they want to experience and tell their friends about. Our 7 year old did not want to see it which was not surprising. His 9 year old cousin wants to see it and for the most part he’d be OK with the film.
The human to monster action sequences are shot tighter and have a more manic fell about them. Because of that they would be more overall distressing to young audiences. They’re very well shot and staged, with tension and a sensation at times more akin to Apocalypse Now than a monster film. There is one monster fight scene where Kong rips the tongue out of another monster and attempts to split its face along the jaw bone. That will make 10 year old viewers look away, while at the same time making 14 year old viewers want more.
Kong: Skull Island is more palatable for younger viewers than the recent Jurassic Park. Mainly because that film had sustained scenes of humans in peril, but with Kong those sequences are shorter and has more monster combat.
12 year old movie goers should be fine with Kong: Skull Island. Viewers as young as 10 who are able to separate films from real life will enjoy Kong. The language is nothing that they haven’t heard and used in the appropriate context. Stay for the credits. Not because you want to acknowledge the talent that made the film. There is a post credit scene that ties Kong: Skull Island into the greater Monster Universe that Universal is building.