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King Kong - Peter Jackson's Production Diaries

4.4 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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(Dec 13, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Go behind-the-scenes, from first day to last shot, and experience a firsthand account of the intense 8 month production of King Kong.

The King Kong - Peter Jackson's Production Diaries is an impressive set geared directly toward fans, collectors, and those interested in the film-making process. In all likelihood Peter Jackson and co. are going to release a King Kong set bulging with extras, so why buy the "extras" now? Fair question. However, if you're aching with anticipation for a major glimpse into the 6-month production process of this modern day extravaganza, the King Kong - Peter Jackson's Production Diaries is an absolute "must have." Housed in a sturdy, faux clip board complete with a 52-page production memoir and art prints, this two DVD set opens up a three and a half hour window into what goes on in the making of a major blockbuster film. The bulk of the footage consists of the 54 "production diaries" (which can be sorted and viewed by production date or production location) culled from the "Kong is King" website. These hand held video diaries are candid peeks into the complex, humorous, detailed and involved world of the movie making process. There are a lot of Peter Jackson interviews, but over the six month time frame you eventually hear from every single person involved in the film--actors, the WETA team, animal trainers, assistant camera people, lighting technician, set crews, miniatures, make-up, etc. It is safe to say that not a stone is left unturned in revealing what goes on behind the scenes on a major motion picture set. Extremely careful not to give anything away, the King Kong - Peter Jackson's Production Diaries, though heavy in the production process, is very light on showing the final product. Nothing is revealed to ruin the movie experience. Well, almost nothing. One bonus video diary is "The Making of a Shot - The T-Rex Fight." In this 16 minutes diary you get to witness what goes on in creating the chilling "T-Rex Fight" from conception to special effects construction to the final jaw-dropping product. It is amazing to see two years of work unfold before your very eyes in two and a half minutes. --Rob Bracco

Special Features

Disc 1:
  • Introduction by Peter Jackson

  • Disc 2:
  • The Making of a Shot: The T-Rex Fight

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Jack Black, Andy Serkis, Adrien Brody, Naomi Watts, Jeff Atmajian
    • Directors: Michael Pellerin
    • Writers: Michael Pellerin
    • Producers: Michael Pellerin, David X. Rodriguez, Jeffrey White, Katherine Geer, Kevin M. Shukur
    • Format: Color, Dolby, Limited Edition, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
    • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
    • Number of discs: 2
    • Rated:
      Not Rated
    • Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
    • DVD Release Date: December 13, 2005
    • Run Time: 216 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B000BMSUJK
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #131,379 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "King Kong - Peter Jackson's Production Diaries" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    By Dorrie Wheeler on December 7, 2005
    Format: DVD
    Yes, I do have the set in my possession. If you are looking for a last minute gift for the movie buff in your life you may want to consider picking up King Kong Peter Jackson's Production Diaries. The limited edition set is due to be released on December 13th. More than anything, even if you or the person you buy this for isn't a huge Peter Jackson fan, this is a great collectible for the person who loves movie collectibles or is interested in the art of filmmaking.

    First things first, Peter Jackson (director of Lord of the Rings trilogy) and the cast and crew of King Kong appeared in a number of video production diary entries which were streamed on the King Kong website KongisKing. So when you pop one of the two DVD's into your DVD player don't expect to see a long form documentary. What you will be watching are short little pieces related to the making of the film. They seem to average 3-7 minutes, I could be off a little bit on the time but they are short little pieces related to the production. Some are very technical about setting up scenes while others are light hearted and include Jack Black or other cast members goofing off. In one piece you see the cast getting ready for and participating in a press conference with journalist, in another short piece Jack Black and Naomi Watts are seen in full costume. Just trying to make it clear that you aren't going to pop this baby in and see King Kong the big ape himself everywhere.

    The 25,000 question is where is the big monkey? Perhaps he is here on one of the discs in one of these little pieces but after watching this set for a great deal I didn't get to see the big monkey.
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    Format: DVD
    In order to capitalize on the release of Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong, Universal has released a collection of production diaries on a 2-DVD set. These brief segments originally aired on Kong is King, a fan website dedicated to the movie. It was Jackson's attempt to show that despite the ambitious scale of the production, he was still accessible to his loyal fanbase. These segments, averaging two to three minutes in length, document the 131 day shoot that lasted from September 6, 2004 to April 8, 2005. Their purpose was two-fold: to build anticipation by providing glimpses of Jackson's take on Kong and insight into the filmmaking process (much as he did on The Lord of the Rings special edition DVDs). He even took questions from fans on what they wanted to see on these diaries.

    Their relatively short duration makes them easily digestible and on the DVD you can either view them in chronological order or by shooting location. Some of the cast join in on the fun, joking around on the set and getting into the spirit of it all. More importantly, these diaries shed light on the unsung aspects of the production that aren't usually documented in making of featurettes.

    One of the most fascinating aspects is how Jackson created 1930s New York City in New Zealand. He studied period photographs and even took a tour of the Empire State Building (with actress Naomi Watts in tow). He didn't want to create a stylized New York but depict it as realistically as possible. Ultimately, they create it through a mix of actual sets, miniatures and CGI. The second disc of the production diaries focuses on the shooting that took place on the New York City sets, providing snap shots of various aspects, like extras, dressing up the sets, the vehicles and so on.
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    Format: DVD
    When Merian C. Cooper unleashed his "King Kong" in 1933, he went to great lengths to safeguard the secrets behind its mind-bending special effects. Peter Jackson, ringmaster of the new century's "Kong," had other ideas. "Why don't we invite people in" as the movie is being made, the director mused back in 2004. And so an ambitious series of behind-the-scenes shorts went up on the movie's Web site, more or less in real time. "It was an experiment," Jackson says. "It's not a calculated piece of publicity. It's actually just the filmmakers connecting with the fans."

    The 54 shorts no longer exist on -- they've been replaced by a similar post-production series. The original series migrated to DVD the day before the new "Kong" opened, giving viewers the unusual option of watching a hit film's DVD extras just as it premieres. Jackson plays host throughout, taking time to explain what's happening on the "Kong" set in New Zealand even when he's so tired he's stumbling. "We didn't try to hide anything," a seriously slimmed-down Jackson says in the intro. "We didn't censor ourselves."

    Some of the actors love hamming it up for the fans, such as Jack Black and "King Kong" Andy Serkis. "I can't believe they get to see me in costume and makeup," Black says early on. "Isn't that verboten?" Leading lady Naomi Watts seems dubious, but comes around in the series' second half.

    The shorts aren't all that different from most well-made production featurettes, but few projects have looked into this many corners of the filmmaking process or spent 3 1/2 hours doing it. Everyone from Jackson to the woman who brews coffee takes a turn explaining what they do and how they feel about it. Some of the segments are full of detail -- say, the piece on how movie cameras work.
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