"Kong: Skull Island" premiered on February 28, 2017, in London and was released in the United States on March 10, 2017.
It took three attempts to finally get "King Kong" right. The 1976 remake sqaundered its potential by making Jessica Lange's character too stereotypically fickle to develop the meaningful relationship with Kong that the film was attempting. The best things in that version were Charles Grodin and the music by John Barry. Peter Jackson's 2005 remake recognizes Ann Darrow as the main protagonist of the story, and Naomi Watts' portrayal of her fixes everything that went wrong with both of her predecessors in the 1933 and 1976 versions. The most important differences for me are where Watts refuses to participate in the exploitive unveiling of Kong in New York and, at the climax of the film, where she climbs up the ladder and gets between Kong and the airplanes. Those were things I wanted Jessica Lange to do in 1976 and was disappointed that she didn't.
I also appreciate Jackson fixing something unrelated to the larger social issues that's been a pet peeve of mine. The 1933 film showed a brontosaurus eating a man, despite it being known even then that the brontosaurus was a vegetarian. Jackson knew this and introduced his brontosauruses eating vegetables. They become dangerous to humans only when Jackson adds raptors to the mix and they stampede.
Admittedly, one thing Jackson did not succeed in was the portrayal of the island natives. They were over the top.
When it comes to Kong, it is hard to beat Peter Jackson's remake. The original was justly praised for it innovations in stop-motion animation, but the characters had no real depth and Kong was unsympathetic. What also sours the original is its allegorical reflection of racist fears with Fay Wray as the helpless, virginal white woman menaced by Kong who was a symbol of the savage, untamed sexuality of black men reinforcing the stereotype that was an all too common excuse for lynching in the years between the abolition of slavery and the civil rights movement.
When Jackson remade Kong, we had seventy years of zoological research to come to terms with the idea that gorillas are not savage, bloodthirsty monsters to be feared, but fascinating, complex animals that deserve empathy. You're relieved that the monster is slain in 1933, but are crying in sympathy and angry at the injustice of Kong's fate in 2005.
Alas, based on Matt's review, it seems that film King Kong 3 sacrifices any type of emotional, storytelling complexity that could be found at the core of Jackson's film (which was combined with its share of wow factor sequences) to be substituted with video-game style mayhem. Sounds like a turn your brain off and go for the ride type of film and there is nothing wrong with that if you're in the right mindset.
What I find interesting about the idea of creating a "giant monster universe" of interconnected films is that Edward's "Godzilla" took place in the present (no?) and Kong, the last of the giant gorillas on Skull Island, is theoretically in prime fighting shape in 1973 when this current film takes place (which also means that neither of the previous Kong films are playing any part in this storyline). Assuming Kong will survive this movie and then will be brought to the present to fight Godzilla, won't he be ready to start collecting his giant gorilla social security checks? Or do we need to start figuring out a way to create a giant monster wormholes through the spacetime continuum? Ah, wormholes...is there any continuity problem you can't solve? Let them fight!