The biggest blockbuster of the year so far was released on the 28th of February, and although it's got mixed reviews, everyone is talking about it. The film currently has a rating of 7.2 out of 10 on IMDB, and it has been trending on social media.
Plus, it's absolutely smashed the box office, taking $61 million and beating rival movie "Logan". If you've seen the movie, you will have been able to appreciate the epic scenery that's beautifully displayed on the big screen. You wouldn't think anything in this film could outshine the main character, the might King Kong, but the scenery in the film comes very close.
To be honest, although it will send tourists towards some off the beaten path spots in Vietnam, I'm so happy that this sometimes-underrated country has had its moment in the spotlight. I've not yet been there myself, but my best friend has, and thanks to her stories and enthusiasm for the country, it's made its way onto my bucket list. I interviewed her a while back on her thoughts about Vietnam.
Hollywood has decided to make Vietnam a bit of a rising star this year. Even the film's star, Tom Hiddleston was dying to visit this magical country. During filming he said he has planned to go there as a 19-year old, but the trip never materialised. And his co-star Brie Larson obviously became very fond of the country. She explained saying:
"I cannot say enough nice things about Vietnam. Hanoi was absolutely incredible... and Ninh Binh was also beautiful. I tell everyone who wants to go there that (Hanoi) is such a great place to start because there's so much to do and so much to see."
Vietnam's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has high hopes for the country following the film. They want Vietnam to establish itself as an ideal destination for Hollywood filmmakers.
The director, Jordan Vogt-Roberts, said he wanted to show audiences something different, and that's why he chose Vietnam as the location for Kong: Skull Island. Mr Vogt-Roberts commented:
"I went all over the world to try and find places that you hadn't seen on screen before. I landed in Vietnam, looked at these landscapes and just fell in love. "
So how exactly is Vietnam different?
Personally I think it's the enticing mix of an enthralling history, the contrast in scenery throughout the country and the sheer beauty of the country that sets it apart. And there's also the little things that make it stand out, like the floating villages along the Mekong Delta and the chilling Cu Chi Tunnels where the soldiers sought refuge.
"The look of Vietnam is gorgeous and otherworldly at the same time. There's such a raw, powerful and unspoilt beauty that general audiences hadn't experienced on screen before. There's a ruggedness and a beauty to a place like Vietnam."
Key filming sites for Kong: Skull Island in Vietnam
Filming took place in the northern portion of Vietnam. Three of the main filming spots are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This certainly says something about the calibre of locations that are showcased in the film. Ha Long Bay, one of the country's major tourist spots has its moment in the spotlight, with sweeping aerial shots showing off the stunning scenery.
The striking limestone mountains emerging from the sea really set the scene and give Kong: Skull Island a unique feel to it. Ha Long Bay can be spotted in the movie when the military choppers are fleeing the electrical storm. The film's director describes Ha Long Bay as an endless ocean of these incredible vertical shapes jutting out of the water. Scenes were also filmed at the entrance of the Tu Làn Caves System, Tràng An, Vân Long and Tam Coc (Ninh Bình Province).
In the words of Vogt-Roberts:
"I truly fell in love with the people, the culture, the food, and the landscapes. It became my mission to put this country on screen and to let the world know how spectacular it is. I really can't stress enough how much pride the Vietnamese people had for us being there and what that meant to us."
Although a large part of the film was shot in Vietnam, scenes were also filmed in Hawaii and Australia. The director was keen to stay away from making the scenery too similar to that of films like Jurassic World, which was also filmed in Hawaii. It seems Vietnam was the perfect choice to create an air of authenticity and showcase scenery that audiences may not have seen before.
If you haven't yet seen the film, head to your nearest showing and feast your eyes upon some of Vietnam's best bits on the big screen. You will no doubt leave the film wanting to book a trip to Vietnam immediately, as it seems Vietnam's enchanting scenery is proving a huge hit with audiences around the world.