on November 14, 2006
The biggest problem most people had with King Kong was its length, so there's no surprise that reaction by the general public to the release of an extended edition of another 3 hour-plus Peter Jackson film was almost the equivalent of a collective groan.
The surprise is that everything added to the Extended Edition of King Kong should have never been cut. More dinosaurs and more creatures and more action on Skull Island only improves the film, and one wonders if these scenes were cut mostly for time and pacing, why wasn't a little bit of the 51 minutes of pre-Skull Island snipped or perhaps a few overly drawn scenes of Kong and Anna gazing into each other's eyes?
The more noticable scenes are that of a rampaging Ceratops and a fun scene of an underwater monster attacking Adrien Brody and Co. while they are rafting down a river. A bit more character development with some seedy behavior by Carl Denham (Jack Black) and heroic deeds by Jack Driscoll and the shipmates add a bit of flavor to the male characters literally overshadowed by Kong in the film. The spider pit sequence is also a bit lengthened with some more lines by Jack Black. Overall, a worthy 13 minutes of added material, but the film still feels too long in the last act.
The special features to this extended edition are the special features that were missing from the first release of the Kong movie, including a commentary from Peter Jackson and extensive behind the scenes features, describing the making of Kong from concept artwork to the screen a la the performance of Andy Serkis.
I enjoyed the extended cut, but I don't know that this lengthy movie is better served with added material. It's not like the LOTR films where the additions enhance your viewing and understanding of Tolkien's world. But hey, I am not going to complain about more dinosaurs and the raft sequence I was disappointed was missing from the original cut.
on August 3, 2006
well Peter Jackson's Opus, King Kong now comes in it's extended version only on DVD... This review basically gives you a guide as to what you might expect from the DVD release.. I have no breakdown of what scenes are make up the extra minutes, but from Perter Jackson's comments and Comic Con presentation, there have been indications of what might be make up the running time...
The dVd details -
Firstly this dvd presentation is brought to you in 3 discs. An additon of thirteen(13) minutes of footage has been added to the extended version of the film.
Extra scenes include :
* King Kong's capture at Skull Island and journey to New York.
* A river scene; where our heros are stuck on a log/raft, and
them being attacked by a large aligator. (Comic Con info)
More to be added soon...
King Kong Extended Edition: Disc 1
2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen Presentation
English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Track
Commentary with Director Peter Jackson & Producer Phillipa Boyens Part 1
Sixteen Deleted Scenes (Totalling around 40 Minutes)
English SDH, Spanish, French Subtitles
King Kong Extended Edition: Disc 2
Commentary with Director Peter Jackson & Producer Phillipa Boyens Part 2
The Eighth Blunder of the World Featurette
The Present Featurette
A Night in Vaudeville Featurette
King Kong Homage
Selection of Trailers
King Kong Extended Edition: Disc 3
The King Kong Archives
Introduction by director Peter Jackson
The Origins of King Kong Documentary
Pre-Production Part 1: The Return of Kong
Pre-Production Part 2: Countdown to Filming
The Venture Journey Featurette
Return to Skull Island Featurette
New York, New Zealand Featurette
Bringing Kong to Life Part 1: Design and Research
Bringing Kong to Life Part 2: Performance and Animation
The 1996 King Kong Video Gallery
The Venture Video Gallery
Skull Island Video Gallery
New York Video Gallery
Kong Video Gallery
Arrival at Skull Island Pre-Viz Animatic
Bronto Stampede Pre-Viz Animatic
T-Rex Fight Pre-Viz Animatic
Kong's Capture Pre-Viz Animatic
Empire State Building Battle Pre-Viz Animatic
Ann Disarms Kong Motion-Capture/Animation Comparison
Kong's Capture Motion-Capture/Animation Comparison
Kong in New York Motion-Capture/Animation Comparison
DVD Credits and 1996 and 2005 Scripts (DVD-ROM)
One thing to note from this release - there is no DTS soundtrack on this release, which has disappointed and even angered a lot of fans.... Benchmarking from the Lord of the Rings extented dvd releases, this is an ommission that trully expected... Be mindful.... Never the less, this is a strong release, from a director who understands what a dvd presentation should be. Place this 1 on your christmas wishlist!
** Also available in a limited edition giftset, complete with a beautifully crafted WETA King Kong figurine, which is released on the same day.
on January 16, 2006
I was one of those people who thought King Kong was a mistake for director Peter Jackson. Fresh from his monumental success and Academy Awards with his work on The Lord of the Rings, I wasn't confident that he would make an equally, much less surpassively, good film. I was proven wrong.
Running at a horrendously intimidating 187 minutes, I had my fears that there would be parts where cinematographic drags would consume my interest in the film, especially since there were several such moments in Fellowship of the Ring which Jackson also directed. However, I was pleased to find that dragging moments were limited and the whopping runtime was put to good use... so take care of your bladders prior to watching.
I have heard many complaints regarding the first third of the film which takes place in depression-era New York city. It is in this third where the titular beast is nowhere to be seen, but we are introduced to all the other main characters. I have argued many times that a film is not without it's characters and so far in his blockbuster career, Peter Jackson has not disappointed in characterization. It keeps the audience in the hearts and minds of everything that happens onscreen and therefore maintains an engaging atmosphere. All in all, you care about all the fuss and you watch and wait, with interest, for the next scene to unfold. Therefore, in spite of the gargantuan runtime, I was riveted to the screen.
Carl Denham (Jack Black... yes, Jack Black) is a struggling filmmaker whose career has been so far almost successful. When he learns his latest film is about to be scrapped, he escapes with his film and crew to continue production. He then learns his lead actress has quit and runs into an out-of-luck vaudeville entertainer, Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts), who he manages to recruit. He convinces his cast and ship crew that they will be heading for Singapore to film. In reality, he is heading for the mysterious Skull Island whose location he had acquired just as mysteriously. However, his production woes continue as his script is unfinished. He then takes popular theater writer Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody) to continue the script while the ship sails for Skull Island. Upon reaching the island, they encounter murderous natives who wish to offer Ann to the gigantic beast they worship, Kong.
George Lucas once said that special effects are there to aid the telling of a story and should not be the emphasis of a film. Whether or not Lucas himself adheres to this philosophy is debatable, but it is clear that Jackson does. There is not one scene, real or digitally created, in this movie that does not have meaning. There is the scene of a shared sunset between Ann and Kong with volumes of depth. It is this scene, to this reviewer, that escalated the film from ordinary blockbuster to movie greatness.
Yes, there have been previous King Kong films. But where they fail is where Peter Jackson's take shines. There is an actual relationship between Kong and Ann, we actually understand why Ann cares so much for him. While Kong would try to impress her with roars and beating his chest, Ann would perform her vaudeville antics (to Kong's.. and ultimately the audience's delight). It is their shared moments of joy that solidify an unusual bond of friendship between Ann and Kong. Ann perhaps realizes that she is Kong's only friend, and hence his entire world.
It is the relationship between Ann and Kong that Jackson decided to concentrate his full filmmaking abilities and rightfully so. Yes, there is another sort-of love story between Ann and Jack Driscoll but not one that would outshine the focus of the film.
As for the other actors, they were top-notch. I have heard others say Jack Black was frightfully miscast but I think otherwise. His over-the-top acting fits perfectly for Carl, a filmmaker with so much passion for his film that he continually tries to sell it to everyone just so they "get it".
King Kong, I would have to say, is one of the best films of the year. Entirely engaging and a delightful and sometimes frightening adventure, it is one with definite heart. From vaudeville opening to heart-wrenching denoument, Jackson has made a film that beats on it's chest and roars.
on April 4, 2006
Peter Jackson does a lot right with King Kong and I really wanted to love this movie as much as his Lord of the Rings (LOTR)films but there is something lacking here.
First off, the right. The Kong and Ann relationship at the core of the movie is handled excellently. We see why Kong may become protective of his diminutive charge and not eat her as she uses Vaudville slapstick comedy to entertain him. The joy on his face is evident. And then when this tiny person actually stands up to the giant we can see why he might even respect her more. As he protects her from the dangers of Skull Island we see why Ann would come to feel fondness for the giant simian. Never is there a creepy vibe from their mutual fondness. Every scene involving Kong made me believe he was there and his abilty to emote sold the character. Also, even though on the long side, the introductory hour of characterization was nice to get to know our characters.
The not so good... As soon as our heros reach the island the action begins and never stops. Not so bad, but some of it is very hard to swallow. In the LOTR trilogy we see CG creatures we believe in and even more important the actors seem to as well. In Kong we see our characters running with a stampede of Brontosaurs and it seems like they are just jogging down the road by my house. I've seen more fear in my own eyes having to look at said joggers in their tight jogging pants than I saw in the faces of our characters. Never once could I suspend my disbelief and believe they were really in any danger or even inhabiting the same space.
The same thing happens again and again, the bug scene, the crocodile like lizard scene, the T-rex chasing Ann scene, the bats. Oh,my. And our characters are superhumanly able to go on and on with nary a scratch, other than the dead ones. Only Kong was able to pull the movie out for me. Kudos to Andy Serkis (of Gollum fame)and the animators for making me love the ape and thank goodness the last third of the film is his alone.
Watch it, at least once, if only for the Ape. You may want to drink a little to help with the rest.
on November 27, 2006
This movie was the main reason I bought into the whole HD DVD thing. As one of my favorites of 2005, I highly anticipated its release to HD, especially since I figured it would get one heck of a treatment. I was right about part of it; the A/V quality is among the best I've seen, despite the lack of a Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. It's definitely the title I'd use to show off what HD DVD can do; however, the lack of extras is a little disappointing, mainly because Amazon has it priced so darn high. 27 bucks is way too much for the title, when other new releases have sub-$20 price tags.
Bottom line: the HD DVD comes highly recommended, but only if you can get it for a more reasonable price.
on February 14, 2006
I am a HUGE LOTR fan (they're my all-time favorite films) so when I heard that Academy Award winning director Peter Jackson was remaking the classic King Kong I was unsurprisingly ecstatic (how could this film go wrong?) The 3 hour length didn't bother me at all and the film was simply, well, amazing! The special effects were great (especially the CGI look of Kong), the acting was superb (props go to Watts and Black for convincingly pulling off their performances, especially the latter who I had doubts about.) I highly recommend this film to anyone who enjoys a classic adventure story set admist a creepy island infested with bizarre prehistoric inhabitants. FIVE STARS!!
on January 4, 2009
As another individual correctly noted this Blue Ray version does in fact contain both the theatrical and extended version of the film. The NBC Universal Store web site verifies it. Amazon simply failed to clarify this and they should do so because several others are disappointed that it doesn't appear to be here. Peter Jackson's version of this classic film is simply visually stunning and it should be a reference quality Blue Ray film to show off a good video setup. This is so much better than the cheap 1976 remake with Jeff Bridges.
Mr. Jackson took the time to actually develop the characters and the story which indeed adds to the film just as he did in Lord of the Rings which depended on character development. Far too many films today fail to deliver a full story and rely only on cheap special effects. This is a rich and full story. Some were critical of this fact and they apparently merely wanted to see a large ape captured, climb a large building and then fall off and die with little more than special effects to wow them for an hour. This is not a film for those with such a short attention span or those interested only in computer graphic magic. This is the full story of Kong and those who encountered him . . . and it's an incredibly good one and superbly stunning in cinematography.
on December 14, 2005
I'll make this review quick, because this epic masterpiece is just...well, an epic masterpiece.
When Merian C. Cooper first made _King Kong_ in 1933 (1933!!), it was something truly one-of-a-kind that had come out of nowhere. To this day it is considered a masterpiece of filmmaking, largely (of course) due to the mighty title character and the incredible animation which really made the picture so convincingly powerful. There have been countless imitations (namely the entire Godzilla franchise), as well as several remakes (the forgettable Jeff Bridges flick of the `70's) and rehashes (_Mighty Joe Young_, both version of which are actually decent and original). However, why would Peter Jackson, with all the money in the world still flooding in to him on the tails of the _Lord of the Rings_ trilogy, want to re-make this film? Because, quite simply, he loved the original, and felt that it deserved to be everything that it was and more, for audiences young and old, then and forever.
I spent at least a third of the movie crying (yes, I'm serious), another third (almost) screaming and/or laughing in fairly even doses, and the other third just sitting there, absolutely amazed.
First off, Kong is truly the main star, of course. So much is told from him and his...well, his acting really, he truly is the best silent actor in decades.
I've been a Naomi Watts fan for a rather brief time now, but after seeing her here, I hold her in high regards as one of my new favorite actresses. As talented as she is downright gorgeous, she really packs a wallop, and her chemistry with Kong is heartwarming and tragic.
Jack Black. Oh my god. I've always found him to be hilarious - the only image really associated with him until now - and so when I found out that he was going to be playing Carl Denham, I didn't know quite what to think. Was he going to be serious? Was he going to be funny? Well, he was both - and now I can tell that this rendition of the character wasn't based on the actor; no, Peter Jackson chose Jack Black to be Carl Denham because *this* Carl Denham needed someone like Jack Black. Funny, obsessive, eccentric...this was a perfect casting.
Adrian Brody. I'd only previously seen him act in _The Village_, which is not to say he left much of an impression on me (aside from loads of mentally handicapped laughter). However, I've had respect for this young actor ever since seeing his reaction to his winning the Academy Award for Best Actor (in _The Pianist_). And now, seeing him play as the screenwriter-turned-hero in _King Kong_, I must say I hold him in high regards as a very talented actor, and I'm eagerly looking forward to seeing him in more roles.
The scenery (especially the incredible recreation of 1930's New York) was gorgeous, thick on atmosphere as well as culturally precise.
The special effects were downright spectacular; I have an all-too-unfortunate ability to tell what's a special effect and what's not, and while I could easily have picked out what was real and wasn't in this movie, so convincing was the directing and editing that I simply was awed and wowed by the motions, the sounds, the monsters and backgrounds (and the actors' places therein).
The score and soundtrack were excellent...from '30's songs that had both lyrical and cultural significance to the film and the setting, respectively, to James Newton Howard's effective compositions, the music was excellently involved. Not to mention it was simply a brilliant moment when the very, very subtle score slithers into your ears during the Spider Pit sequence...and speaking of which...
My father owns a book about early Hollywood films and filmmaking, and there are several great sections (including a whole chapter) dedicated to the original _King Kong_. On one page, there is a conceptual art sketch and a film still of "the famed Spider Pit sequence," which Cooper deleted from the film due to pacing constraints. In this scene, various members of the U.S.S. Venture who fell into the ravine (after Kong shakes them off the giant fallen tree) are picked off by various slimy creatures...and judging from the sketch and the still, this would have been a rather gruesome moment in the film had it been left in. Well, Peter Jackson included this whole scene in his movie, and it could not have been creepier and more disgusting (but effectively showing just how strange Skull Island really is).
This movie is the result of a fan's dedication to a favored piece of art. Mr. Jackson knew just how to re-create this movie without making it just another remake. He took something already great and made it even better. _King Kong_ is definitely the best movie I've seen all year...and may it be the same for you too.
Watched the original on blu ray last week so, naturally, tho I had the 2 disc Standard Def version, I wanted to buy the extended version on Blu Ray. And glad I did tho I received just the single disc and I see that the Blu Ray and Digital version are offered at the same price.
I watched the extended version which has many excellent scenes that were deleted. Most of them were great and shouldn't have been removed from the theatrical version whose beginning 45 minutes just dragged on and on. This extended version really improves things for me. The extra scenes of prehistoric encounters really were wonderful and the styragosaurs scene was actually an homage to the 33 original who also had a similar scene that was cut out and lost. There was only one scene towards the end, which contained an army officer in a truck of solders( don't want to spoil it so I am not saying what happens in this scene) that I thought could have been left out; seemed really cheesy to me.
I'm not into book reports so here's my take on the transfer quality only. Get it. The video is quite outstanding...beautiful color saturation and shading, wonderful depth throughout. No grain, no artifacts, nothing to take away from the demo transfer quality that this is.
The audio is DTSHD 5.1 and, in many parts, is also demo worthy. There really is an expansive sound stage and perfect directionality from the discreet speakers when appropriate.
Unless you don't like the movie itself, there is no reason not to have this King Kong on blu ray.
All my movie reviews are of this nature and focus only on the quality of the transfer to BluRay so check them and see if they are of help as well.
Hopefully, this review has been of some help to you in determining your purchase, hope I am on the correct path with a review of the transfer quality as opposed to providing plot summaries.
I don't use that word in normal discourse, but this movie is certainly deserving of it.
The effects are simply masterful. Kong is a REAL character, created and brought to life with the magic of CGI. The movements are thoroughly ape-like and Kong is given a unique personality. The imagination that went into this is unreal. The other inhabitants of Skull Island are also extremely impressive. Jackson and crew have created a surreal prehistoric land of mystery and wonder. Truly amazing.
The drama is touching, as experienced in the relationship shared by Kong and Ann. There are a few scenes in this movie that are immensely moving, such as when Kong is captured on Skull Island, when Kong discovers ice amidst his chase through the city and, of course, Kong's final stand atop the Empire State Building. You will truly feel for this beast who has been horribly exploited by man. All he wants is to care for and protect Ann and yet because of the greed of man, he now faces impossible odds for his own survival. The final scene is done wonderfully. I mean, you really feel a sense of impending dread as you watch Kong corner himself to be alone with and care for Ann. It's quite tragic.
This is a staggering movie achievement.
The bonus disc includes hours of material. There is a featurette concerning the history of Skull Island, a featurette about 1933 New York City and the Post-Production Diaries, covering all areas of post-production of this film. The making of this epic tale was an amazing undertaking - and it has all been well-documented. The bonus disc provides great supplemental material that is worth seeing.