Kong: Skull Island director Jordan Vogt-Roberts has said that the new adventure epic "isn't just a popcorn movie" and explains why the story is so relevant to today.
The second-time director, known for his debut indie hit The Kings of Summer, has reimagined the Kong myth, transporting him back to his home of Skull Island - an unexplored domain where monsters lurk under the surface.
The action is wound back to the early '70s in the US, where the Vietnam war is winding down and Washington is in crisis.
Vogt-Roberts said that it's "always a good time for a good old fashioned monster movie" but that he was at pains to "make it relevant to today".
Speaking to RTÉ Entertainment in London, he said "I think all good horror, all good genre, reflects what's going on in the time."
The director explained that setting the film in the 1970s was a crucial way to frame the story. "We filmed this two and a half years ago, this is before things bubbled up to this point [in US politics], so I was looking at the 70s and was looking at what was happening in the United States and I felt like I was crazy because I was like 'guys this already happened!", he said.
"The political scandals, and the racial riots and the sexual revolutions and the distrust of the government and losing wars... But I could not have prepared myself for how increasingly relevant it would become."
The project was filmed in an action-packed shoot across three continents, in isolated locations in Australia, Hawaii and Vietnam. Was there any point he felt overwhelmed by the scope of what he was trying to achieve?
"Every day. You're playing with film history", he said. "King Kong's a cinematic icon, he's a piece of pop culture and I put an extraordinary amount of pressure among myself, saying if I'm going to make a big movie on this scale I want it to not just be 'fine'.
"Every single day you wake up and say 'is this good enough, is this unique enough'. I grew up on films where I would go to the theatre and feel like I was transported and shown new things and that's what made me fall in love with the cinema and want to be a filmmaker. Now I feel like people go to the cinema and they're like 'meh, should have stayed at home', it doesn't have that specialness. To me it was an enormous responsibility."
Filming in real locations and not in studios using green-screen was of the utmost importance to the director.
"It was a huge thing for me to shoot as much of this thing as practically as possible, because Kong and the creatures were always going to be computer generated and I completely agree with you that we have CGI fatigue, we have franchise fatigue and it's not real anymore", he explained.
"We live in an age of everyday magic, whereas before to bring a creature to life or to blow up a city was so much work, and it was the first time you had seen it. Now you can do everything, you can show them anything you want, so how do you make it special?"
With regards the A-list ensemble cast, which included Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson and John C. Reilly, Vogt-Roberts said: "it's an embarrassment of riches for me as a director, they're icons.
"There's new talent and old talent and everything in between. Part of that was to send a message to people that this isn't just a popcorn movie, yeah it's fun, but these people can do Shakespeare in the park."
Kong: Skull Island is out in cinemas now, read our review here.