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The World of Kong: A Natural History of Skull Island (King Kong) Hardcover – November 22, 2005

4.6 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Responsible for designing Skull Island and its fantastical inhabitants for Peter Jackson's epic King Kong, the artists at Weta Workshop have created a rich and diverse world of wonders and terrors to thrill audiences everywhere. Hundreds of drawings and sculptures were created to populate the mystery island, building a comprehensive menagerie with complex ecosystems and forbidding habitats. Though only a handful will appear on screen, presented within these pages is a vast collection of creatures and lore, each lovingly depicted with production art and new illustrations created especially for this book.
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Product Details

  • Series: King Kong
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket; First Edition edition (November 22, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416505199
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416505198
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.8 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,203 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
One problem with lost world stories is authors have always assumed that evolution would suddenly come to a grinding halt 65 million years ago. That's why you get prehistoric plateaus, mysterious islands and underground worlds filled with T. rexes and triceratops resembling their ancient counterparts. I believe it was Greg Bear who first broke this trend in this novel Dinosaur Summer. And I'm glad to see the filmmakers of King Kong have decided to break it as well.

Both science fiction fans and paleontology lovers will enjoy The World of Kong. It is a bestiary and field guide to the wildlife of Skull Island, at times amazing in its detail, documenting even the insects and fish that thrive in the imaginary ecosystem. The folks at the special effects Weta Workshop let their imaginations run wild in this collaborative effort, but kept their beasts mostly grounded in science. In these pages are the descendants of Permian mammal-like reptiles, dinosaurs and even prehistoric terror birds, along with a few new creatures like flying rats (but, alas, no pterosaurs other than one short mention). The book is full of gorgeous color illustrations accompanied by short, concise articles documenting the behavior and evolutionary history of the species described in it.

I would give this work 4 1/2 stars if that were possible because there are some minor problems. There is too much focus on predators, as if everyone at Weta was in a competition to dream up the scariest monster. The authors also play up the "lizardness" of their dinosaurs despite the evolutionary link to birds, giving their V. rex (an evolved T. rex) crocodile-like hide and their "raptors" a snake-like skin.
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Format: Hardcover
The World of Kong is a fantastic book that depicts the world beyond what you're going to see in the movie. All of the art is original designs of environments, creatures and their brief "archeological" explanations. They're seemingly a mixture of digital and traditional art. No still shots/photos from the movie or script included.

The "expedition journal" format breaks up the material very well and makes it a fun read. The book cover itself is jungle green with gold text and image of Kong. There is more in depth information of the various creatures that inhabit Skull island from dinosaurs, insects, and aquatic life. Great landscape artwork gives you a solid idea of what Skull Island is

The book may be short of images of Kong (actually, there are several) the people and everything you'll see in the movie, but... that's what the movie is for!
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Format: Hardcover
Finally someone did it right! And, no I'm not talking about a remake of King Kong. Rather, someone published a book of movie development art that actually reflects some of the fictional element of the film in a stylish way. Crammed full of gorgeous paintings, this book also features text that gives the reader the impression that he or she is studying the results of some paleo-expedition to Skull Island. Rather than repeat the same old "making-of" quality of other movie art books, this one serves as a nice compliment to the movie.

The only drawback is that most of the book deals with the numerous dinosaurs and giant bugs that inhabit the island and paintings of Kong (our hero, after all) are few and relegated to the last few pages. I personally would have also like to have seen more of the tribal village, but that's nitpicking.

That said, if you're a Kong fan, of all the merchandise that's bound to spew forth from Peter Jackson's remake, this book will by far be the most stylish.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book for any adventure fantasy lovers, the book is both an artwork and an expedition manual compiled after 3 years of surveying Skull Island, from the dinosaurs that evolved from ancient counterparts to other bizarre creatures. In fact this book is wonderful that you wouldn't even see any pictures from the movie, the three creatures that appeared on the extended cut of the movie are also featured here namely Ferructus, a frilled dinosaur that attacked the search team after they got out of the walls, Piranhadon, this giant fish which is like a nightmare that can swim attacked the search team as they stream through river of Skull Island and lastly, Brutornis, a terror bird that Lumpy accidentally shot and then killed in the jungle just before they fall in the chasm. You will only see like 9 pages dedicated to King Kong as this book's purpose is to primarily explore the island's bizarre list of creatures, the greatest being the Vastatosaurus Rex which supposedly is a T-Rex descendant save it for the crocodilian inspired skin and the Venatosaurus, another predator that attacks by packs.

This book is an amazing addition to any book collector's shelf.
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Format: Hardcover
The Book is a *wink wink* reissue of the scientific discoveries of several expeditions to Skull Island to study the Dinosaurs and other weird creatures that have developed apart from the rest of the world. An Australia from Hell.

Creatures from the Cretaceous somehow survived the Great Extinction Event and have evolved into forms similar to their ancestors. Since many of the creatures resemble those of the Montana Creataceous rather than those of the Gobi, perhaps skull Isle like India drifted with the continents and slow sank into the Indian Ocean rather than crashing into asia to form the Himilayas.

Here we find descendants of T. Rex, Apatosaurus(now renamed again Brontosaurus), Triceratops, and Velosiraptor. Unfortunately the Giant Apes went extinct when Kong died.

The Art in the book is great and reminds me of some of the Art Collections for the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. Much thought was given to how the dinosaurs may have evolved and adapted cut off from the rest of the world.

I especially liked the fish as you could envision many of the species existing in some forgotten tributary of the Congo, the Amazon, or the Mekong.

Overall a great companion to the Peter Jackson film. A better reimaging of the Classic than the late 70's movie which in my opinion was even worse than the King kong vs Godzilla films from Japan.
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