- Adaptational Heroism: While the 1933 version was just a straight-up possessive, vicious monster; this Killer Gorilla is given a lot more emphasis on his emotional state, emphasizing his loneliness and how he comes to view Ann as a friend or even a surrogate family member. Even during his rampage in New York, whereas the original Kong threw the "fake Ann" to her death, this one is shown tossing the women he mistakes for Ann in the street aside fairly gently.
- Beast and Beauty: The Beast to Ann's Beauty.
- Easily Forgiven: One has to remember, although Kong ends up saving Ann from other horrors in the jungle, the fact of the matter is that he kidnapped her in the first place. Making things worse, as explicitly pointed out early into the jungle sequence, Kong was originally going to just kill Ann at the same point where he killed all of the other sacrifices; if it hadn't been for her quick thinking and the pursuit of the ship's crew, which eventually gave her an opening to "bond" with him, she'd have been dead in the jungle because of Kong, not despite him.
- Go Mad from the Isolation
- It's Personal: He certainly had it out for Jack Driscoll, as he was the one who was "stealing" Ann from him toward the end. He halted his rampage in the theater and in New York's city streets the second he saw Jack, who would have been a goner had Ann not appeared.
- Last of His Kind: It is implied that Kong is the last giant ape on Skull Island: the most telling evidence is a shot of him entering his cave and walking past multiple skeletons of giant gorillas. This loneliness, along with the hostility of Skull Island's environment, accounts for both his ferocity and his need for company, which Ann Darrow supplies. Furthermore, as stated in the background materials, Skull Island's entire ecosystem is dying because the island is submerging due to geological activity. Only a few years after the events of the movie, a final earthquake buries Skull Island under the sea.
- Made of Iron: His truly massive bones allow him to withstand bites from a V. rex without them snapping his bones more than once.
- Rasputinian Death: After being pock-marked by dozens upon dozens of machine gun rounds, Kong plummets to his death. It's possible that the bullets did him in before the fall.
- Spared by the Adaptation: It's possible for the player to do this in the alternate ending to the tie-in game, where Kong is saved by Jack and Englehorn and returned to Skull Island.
- Tragic Monster: More so than the original, there is much more evidence to suggest Kong is lonely from being the Last of His Kind.
- Unstoppable Rage: Don't piss Kong off. You'll instantly regret it.
Denham's Film Crew
A film director who obtained the map to Skull Island. Due to his debts, Carl starts to lose his moral compass and obsesses over his film to the point that he disregards safety.
- Berserk Button: Two. He loses his temper when asked if his films will include nudity, and snaps after his camera is destroyed.
- Despair Event Horizon: Has one when his camera is destroyed in the log scene.
- The Determinator: "Defeat is only momentary!", he says early in the film, and goes on to prove it by trying to finish a film that he stole from the studio he was fired from because he didn't liked Executive Meddling, dealing with all kinds of obstacles along the way. The plot shows that it is more of a Fatal Flaw, however, and for many other people it proves rather literal.Jack (talking to Preston): He destroys everything that he loves.
- Doing It for the Art: In-Universe, and it eventually becomes a rather dark example: He wastes a lot of studio money (in the middle of the Great Depression, mind) in stuff like location shooting (he even tries to convince the executives to help fund an expedition to Skull Island just because it's a location nobody's ever filmed on) because the movie must be "right", he gets so outrageously pissed that he gives an executive "The Reason You Suck" Speech (which gets him fired) because he will not accept even the suggestion to add nudity to his film (which obviously will make more men come see the film, but it will ruin it from an artistic point of view) and he steals the incomplete film to do it himself even if that means swindling everybody he meets (and risking their lives).
- Heroic BSoD: Falls into one over his destroyed camera, only to break out of it to destroy some bugs attacking the crew.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While he does lack in ethical morals, he is completely against the thought of having nudity shots of women in his film when a studio executive makes a request for them, showing he does have a few standards when it comes to filmmaking.
- One-Man Army: Boy howdy, a pack of Weta-rexes come close to overwhelming Jack. Carl turns his fight with them into a Curb-Stomp Battle, beating down a few Deinocrida (giant crickets larger than he is) for good measure.
- Pet the Dog: A deleted scene revealed that Carl took Preston in because the latter failed law school and Carl felt sorry for him. He's also genuinely disturbed by Herb's death and attempted to save him - his insistence on the tripod is because it's the best way to save Herb.
- Plucky Comic Relief: He is played by Jack Black.
A struggling vaudeville actress who is desperate for work. Carl first meets her when she tries to steal an apple from a fruit stand. Further into the voyage, she falls in love with Jack and forms a special relationship with Kong.
- Adaptational Badass: She is a vaudeville performer with strong personality when pushed. Entertaining Kong with some dancing and cartwheeling and putting her foot down when he literally pushes her around asking for more when she stops because she's tired is why he comes to like her so much.
- Adaptational Heroism: In subtle ways, is far more outgoing and direct than her more Neutral Female counterpart from the original 1933 movie.
- Beast and Beauty: The Beauty to Kong's Beast, which is a large theme that does not go unnoticed within the film.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Played with. Anne is extremely filthy, has torn clothes, and a scratch/scrape here and there, but considering the abuse she takes in the jungle, it's still pretty light.
- Clothing Damage: Downplayed compared to her 1933 version, as her slip only suffers few rips on the lower side.
- Fallen-on-Hard-Times Job: Early in the film, the show she works for is closed down, forcing her to accept Denham's offer.
- Fluffy Tamer:
- Giving Them the Strip: In a blink and miss moment, Ann gets her dressing gown torn off by a Terapusmordax when Kong gets attacked by the giant bats.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Ann is blonde-haired and is probably the kindest and most moral character in the 2005 movie.
- Losing a Shoe in the Struggle: Ann gets kidnapped as she was getting ready for bed. Consequently, her shoes get left behind, and she spends the entire time in the jungle barefoot. By all accounts, her feet should've been ripped to shreds by the rough terrain, especially in the jungle itself, long before Kong started carrying her from place to place, but she doesn't get so much as a thorn or a blister.
- Ms. Fanservice: By the end of her stay in Skull Island the only piece clothing she has left is a slip.
- Pajama-Clad Hero: As she was kidnapped as she prepared to sleep, she pretty much spends her time at the jungles of Skull Island in her nightgown.
- Playing Against Type: In-universe. Carl tells Ann "you're the saddest girl I've ever seen" and chooses her to be his lead because she evokes The Woobie so well. Ann responds to this by telling him that she's a comedian who makes people laugh for a living.
- Sweet Polly Oliver: When we first see Ann during the intro of the 2005 film, she's performing on stage in male drag.
- Tom Hanks Syndrome: Invoked in-universe. Ann is a vaudeville clown who gets cast as The Ingenue lead in Carl's adventure film.
A screenwriter (and part-time theatre actor) who falls in love with Ann. Coincidentally, she was an avid fan of his writing. He unwittingly becomes part of the voyage when, while delivering a script to Denham, he is delayed before he can get off of the Venture.
- Action Survivor: Jack probably directly survives the most dangerous events in the film outside of Ann; he's forced to run among the Venatosaurus, is directly targeted by the Piranhodon, survives being mobbed by Weta-Rexes, and has several close encounters with Kong.
- Badass Boast: Carl is dismayed by him only giving him the beginning of his script (due to the short notice). Jack points out that they're good.
- Determinator: Nothing will stop him from rescuing Ann. Not the savage natives, not the prehistoric beasts, not giant bugs, not even the great ape itself.
- Fat and Skinny: The skinny to Jack's fat.
- The Hero: In the tie-in game, where the player plays as him and Kong.
- Money, Dear Boy: Averted or played with. Even though Carl tells him that film is a more economically viable industry than theatre, Jack claims he's not in it for the money, he just enjoys theatre. Jack's already wealthy and he did not want to go on an excruciatingly long boat journey to some island.
- The Rival: He becomes this to Kong over Ann's affections. It's possible he and Ann became a couple after the U.S. Air Force shoot down Kong.
- Took a Level in Badass: Goes from being a playwright to managing to survive a trek across Skull Island...twice. A good part of it without any protection.
Denham's neurotic but honest personal assistant.
- Action Survivor: He's one of the only four survivors of the original rescue crew alongside Jack, Jimmy and Carl. When Kong flipped the log into the ravine, he grabbed a hold of a vine just in time, preventing him from falling into the pit and getting eaten by the bugs.
- Death by Adaptation: Sadly, in the video game adaptation, he was killed offscreen as mentioned by Jimmy.
- Non-Action Guy: While he does survive, he never dishes out any action of his own. As mentioned above, he grabbed on the vines when the log fell, meaning he didn't have to fight for his life in the infamous insect scene.
- Only Sane Man: Downplayed, since he helps Carl out with taking the camera gear along with little hesitation, but he's the most likely of the film crew to protest.
- Whatever Happened to the Mouse?: He disappears when Kong breaks free and rampages throughout New York and is not seen for the rest of the film.
An actor who specializes in adventure films.
- Big Damn Heroes: He saves Carl, Jack, and Jimmy when they are about to get eaten by the giant spiders by gunning down said spiders.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: The self-described "actor with a gun who's lost his motivation" turns out to be pretty handy with it and a rope.
- Death by Adaptation: In the game, his mauled corpse is found next to a sniper rifle with Terapusmordax nearby...
- Dirty Coward: Subverted. Jack calls him this, but he willingly returns to save Jack and the others, and he doesn't exactly take a backseat to do so either.
- I'll Take That as a Compliment: When he discovers Mustache Vandalism on one of his movie posters, he's offended for about two seconds, then starts to approve.
- Non-Action Guy: While he plays action characters, he himself just wants to get off the island...until his aforementioned Big Damn Heroes scene.
- Reality Ensues: He claims that real heroes don't look like him. Turns out to be Reality Is Unrealistic in his case.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After the dinosaur stampede, he gaps it for the Venture. Downplayed, since he returns in a Big Damn Heroes moment.
- Whatever Happened to the Mouse?: He disappears from the movie when Kong begins his rampage on New York, understandably gapping it as soon as he realizes Kong's getting pissed enough to break out.
Denham's loyal cameraman.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Dragged down to be savaged by the Venatosaurus pack.
- Nerves of Steel: Downplayed; but when assisting in filming oncoming Brontosaurs he reacts surprisingly calmly outside of some nervous looks. Though visibly more terrified when faced with the Venatosaurus pack that ultimately kill him, he still holds up quite well in comparison.
- Reality Ensues: A chubby fellow with a prosthetic leg was never going to last long on Skull Island.
- Undying Loyalty: To Denham. He agrees with Denham's vows regarding Mike, and bravely assists in filming the oncoming Brontosaurs, and his last act is to pass Carl his tripod and tell him to leave him.
- Even more doggedly applicable if you read the prequel tie-in novel, which reveals how Herb lost his leg: he was attacked by bull sea lions while trying to get a good shot for Carl's last disastrous attempt at an "exotic wild places" film.
Denham's soundman for the journey.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: His abrupt death.
- In the Back: The natives kill him from behind.
- Nerds Are Sexy: Ann doesn't seem to have any reservations when she mistakes him for Jack.
- Sacrificial Lamb: He is the first casualty, and his death is meant to show that the natives aren't exactly friendly.
The German captain (and evidently owner) of SS Venture. Englehorn shows a dislike for Denham, presumably because of his obsessive nature.
- Combat Pragmatist: Though it likely wouldn't have made much difference, he enters by shooting first and talking later.
- No-Nonsense Nemesis: No boastful entrance for him, just bullets, which works out well for him.
- Only in It for the Money: He wouldve thrown Denham overboard in New York if he had known Denhams check would bounce. The only reason he agrees to continue the search for the island at all is to have a chance of covering costs, and he only agrees to try to capture Kong to offset his crews losses.
First Mate Benjamin "Ben" Hayes
Englehorn's first mate and a mentor to Jimmy who leads Ann's rescue mission because of his army training and combat experience gained during World War I.
- Adaptation Expansion: He survives the log scene in the game and accompanies Jack through much of the game until he is trampled by a V. Rex and dies of his injuries.
- The Big Guy: In the game, where he gets to live longer to help Jack more and upgrades to The Lancer after Denham's Despair Event Horizon.
- Number Two: The first mate of the ship.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Zigzagged. Wile he still dies in the game, he survives the log scene and dies in pursuit of Kong by a stampeding V. Rex instead.
A boy who was found on the Venture, wild and abandoned. He is a kleptomaniac and views Hayes as a father figure.
- Tagalong Kid: He's the youngest character in the movie.
- Took a Level in Badass: In the bug pit, he grabbed a hold of a Thompson and opens fire on the giant bugs crawling all over Jack's body, managing to hit and kill all of them without harming Jack before he runs out of ammo.
- Tragic Keepsake: Hayes' hat, which he claims in the extended edition.
The ship's cook, barber, doctor and surgeon. He warns Denham about rumors he has heard about Skull Island and Kong.
- Cordon Bleugh Chef: He makes poorly conceived meals such as lamb's brains in walnut sauce either because of a lack of funding or bizarre taste in cooking.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: The worm creatures slowly devouring him limb by limb before swallowing his head is one of the better examples of this. To a much lesser extent, the game features a V. rex tearing him apart.
- Decomposite Character: Of the original Charlie the cook's occupation.
- Death by Adaptation: The tie-in game has him killed by a V. rex not long after Ann is captured, as opposed to getting knocked off the log and eaten by the Carnictis.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Choy.
- Mythology Gag: An early script for the original King Kong included a cook named Lumpy, not Charlie. This "Lumpy" made it into the 1932 novelization, which may be where Peter Jackson got the idea.
- Senseless Sacrifice: He largely fights off the Carnictis to prevent them from devouring Choy, but gets eaten himself.
- The Worf Effect: With his machete, Lumpy was easily the most well-equipped sailor in the pit. Once the Carnictis overwhelm him things start getting bad.
Lumpy's best friend and a janitor on the Venture.
Creatures of Skull Island
- All There in the Manual: Most of them are not named in the film, but instead in promotional material and the companion book. Additionally, the book reveals animals that never made it into the film.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: You'll see a lot of these on Skull Island.
- Bigger Is Better: Against all laws of nature, many of these monsters are huge.
- Kill All Humans: Most of them seem to have this attitude.
- Mythology Gag: several of the animals in the companion book are expys of ones from the original film, such as a stegosaur which was clearly inspired by the first dinosaur seen in the 1933 version.
- Shout-Out: And one of them is a giant, cannibalistic dimetrodon-like animal, a reference to the (in)famous slurpasaurs from the 1959 adaptation of Journey to the Center of the Earth.
- Speculative Biology: The World Of Kong: A Natural History Of Skull Island presents itself as a treatise on the island's ecosystems.
A descendant of the Tyrannosaurus rex, these huge carnivores are the apex predators of Skull Island.
- Always a Bigger Fish: The first one kills a Foetodon that had attacked Ann. Then it goes after her.
- Arch-Enemy: Of Kong and his entire species. The tie-in book The World of Kong: A Natural History of Skull Island reveals that the two species having been battling for dominance over the island since time immemorial.
- Boss in Mook's Clothing: In the video game, due to its lack of bosses, they are the closest thing. In the segments as Jack, they can't be killed, and the objective is just to survive against them long enough to escape. As Kong, they are still very dangerous and if the player simply button mashes against them, the V. rexes will kill him.
- Behemoth Battle: Three of them get into one with Kong, but the last of those three gets the most notable battle.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: The three V. rexes that attacked Kong all suffered gruesome deaths: two had their skulls bashed in, but the third takes the cake: its jaw was cracked and its head smashed in by the ape's mighty arms.
- Expy: Of the T. rex/Allosaurus from the original movie.
- Immune to Bullets: In the game, shooting them just makes them angry.
- Lightning Bruiser: For their massive size, these theropods are quite nimble when fighting Kong, and strong enough to present a threat.
- Made of Iron: They takes some truly massive hits when fighting against Kong, and it barely slows them down.
- Super-Persistent Predator: One chases Ann even when it has more substantial prey in its mouth.
- Tyrannosaurus rex: A descendant of it, with a shorter skull, overlapping teeth and an additional finger. They're also much larger, nearly twice the weight.
A giant plant-eating sauropod that lives in the lowlands of Skull Island. They're the most populous wildlife species on the island, at least on-screen.
- Animal Stampede: One caused by the Venatosauruses chasing them.
- Expy: Of the Brontosaurus from the original.
- Herbivores Are Friendly: Subverted—they're not gonna try to eat our heroes, but they're still dangerous when panicking, because they trampled several crewmen.
- Immune to Bullets: Averted, despite their size. They have no armor, so Reality Ensues when Bruce accidentally shoots one.
- Stock Dinosaurs: Their name is a lampshade hanging on it, and at the time technically not the name of a real species.
A giant, vicious genus of raptor. There are two species, but only the largest is seen in the film, though both are in the game.
- Informed Species: It looks more like a carnosaur than a raptor. The fact that it's hunting sauropods only cements this.
- It Can Think: Implied to have caused a stampede on purpose to pick off the Brontosauruses who leave the safety of their herd. Confirmed in the World of Kong companion book, which explains that this is typical hunting behavior of the venatosaurs and, seemingly, they're the only predators of the brontosaurs because of this and in spite of the sauropods' size.
- Fragile Speedster: Par for the course of fictional raptors. They can outrun the humans, but are easily cut down by a few bullets.
- Raptor Attack: A huge featherless raptor that apparently gives live birth.
- Super-Persistent Predator: Even with the tons of Brontosaur meat on the table, some of them go after the fleeing crew and kill Herb. Though one of them subverts this during the stampede—when Jack opts to run through the legs of a sauropod, the raptor promptly starts chasing Carl, who's closer.
A large, aggressive ceratopsian.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: It's rather easily provoked by the crew.
- Herbivores Are Friendly: Averted. If you provoke it, it'll ram you down.
- Horn Attack: It is a ceratopsian, after all.
- One-Scene Wonder: Only gets a few seconds going to a river to drink water in the theatrical version. Plays a larger role in the extended cut.
- Surprisingly Sudden Death: The specimen that attacked the crew was gunned down rather quickly by Hayes.
A huge, naked, batlike rodent.
- Bat Out of Hell: Though it's actually a giant flying rodent.
- Expy: Of the Pteranodon from the original film.
- Giant Flyer: The lord of the skies over Skull Island.
- Stealth Pun: They're literally rats with wings.
- You Dirty Rat!: A gigantic, winged rat.
- Zerg Rush: A swarm of them attacks Kong, Ann and Jack at one point. Though Kong proves that he can deal with them.
Centipedes that are giant. Skull Island has many, but the genus seen in the film and the game are specifically Megapede.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: They're hideous.
- Creepy Centipedes: In both the movie and the book, they pretty much only exist to freak the viewers out. In the video game, they're enemies that the player actually has to fight, putting them closer to Nightmare Fuel territory.
- Shout-Out: The video game versions, like the popular arcade game of the same name, will shed injured segments of their bodies and keep coming after you.
A large, primitive crocodilian, and primarily a scavenger.
- Always a Bigger Fish: It's yanked out of a log by a V. rex with ease.
- Never Smile at a Crocodile: A giant, killer crocodile that has taken to life on the land.
- Scavengers Are Scum: It's shown to be a scavenger and its establishing character moment one gorging itself on a carcass before joining another in attacking Ann and then being killed by a larger, more imposing predator.
- Who's Laughing Now?: According to the companion book, baby Foetodons are frequently eaten by herons, but the tables are turned when the little reptiles are grown.
A giant, serpentine fish that lives in the swamps of the island. Appears in a deleted scene.
- Composite Character: Of the Brontosaurus and the giant snake from the 1933 King Kong film.
- More Teeth than the Osmond Family: The name should be a tip off.
- Piranha Problem: It's basically an oversized piranha. And it causes quite the trouble to the crew when they have to cross the swamp it lives in.
- Sea Monster: It's more of a swamp monster but the principle is the same.
Giant, repulsive worms that live in the abyssal caverns of Skull Island.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: Gigantic, abominable worms.
- Eaten Alive: They bestow this fate upon Lumpy and anything else unfortunate enough to fall into their lair.
- Eldritch Abomination: Not quite, but they certainly look the part.
- Eyeless Face: Like most worms. They're basically undulating stomachs.
- Lamprey Mouth: Their faces are nothing more than this.
- Squick: Invoked all over the place. They're indisputably the most vile monstrosities Skull Island has to offer.
- Zerg Rush: Punches can drive them back, and they're easy enough to kill with a machete, but they slowly overwhelm Lumpy.
Huge insects that attack in swarms.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: Not only are wetas real, but they do actually grow to be quite large by insect standards, though nowhere near as big as the ones in the film, nor are they particularly aggressive.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: Cricket-like bugs the size of dogs. Real life wetas can get to be as big as mice.
- Mythology Gag: No surprises that they'd be included, as it's Weta Workshop that designed and animated the island's creatures.
- Zerg Rush: Their method of attack.