Monday, November 4, 2013

King Kong (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy) (2005)

King KongThe 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.

Hello People,

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

Weta Collectables

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.

Buy King Kong (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy) (2005) Now

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.

Read Best Reviews of King Kong (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy) (2005) Here

This "action" picture has something different about it, it has a heart; and Naomi Watts.

As far as the length goes (3 hrs. 8 min.), it's pretty darn perfect. Sure, there could have been a few minutes edited out, but maybe those few minutes I want out, someone else just loves. So what do you do? Anyway, part of the strength is the length, giving time for character development. Woooooow! What a awe-inspiring idea. Alright, maybe they could have cut out the "Jimmy" guy, but who's to say for sure. There are simply too many wannabe critics out there with short attention spans, just because there's no "action" right away, they feel the movie drags on, or is way too long.

Now, on to more important things, Naomi Watts, she should have been given an Oscar nomination for her role as Ann Darrow. Doing so much with so little dialogue and she lit up the screen like no one I'd ever seen.

Finally, with this DVD you can stop the movie anytime, use the restroom, go to the kitchen, blow your nose or just take some deep breathes outside, or maybe do all four. Hey, the bonus features are wonderful too. I loved the Skull Island documentary.

This is a 21st century classic, no doubt about it.

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Jack Black delivers almost all of his lines wrong. Adrien Brody obviously is in love with himself. The Heart of Darkness references were ridiculous. I think they actually missed out on the darker, pitch-black undertones to the original. A lot of things are wrong with this film.

But Kong looks amazing. Seeing it in the theater was a thrill. And it was genuinely moving to an old movie fan. I don't know if we'll ever see anything quite like it again.

Having just watched nearly all of the 3-disc materials, I think I can safely say that the film has shown a lot of its strengths and weaknesses on DVD. The strengths are astounding: Weta has crafted the most impressive Special FX film to date, brought to life with an incredible amount of sincerity, and Peter Jackson his proven himself to be one of the great directors of all time. The weaknesses are also glaring: the boat ride to the island now seems amateurish and dull, deleted scenes reveal the at times godawful script, and despite being the greatest celebration of boyhood ever put to film -the film takes the "adult" undertones in all the wrong directions. Amazing enough, this is one part of the '76 Kong that is somewhat interesting.

Another telling aspect of the 3 DVD set is that very little attention is really paid to the actual story. You would think that after all of the FX featurettes that Jackson would really take the time on the audio commentary to talk about this material and what they were trying to say with it. No such luck. As soon as it starts, the writers seem to be grabbing at straws for things to say beyond the purely superficial. There is no argument that King Kong is a film with MAJOR cultural history. So, all this serves to reinforce the grating aspects of the script such as Jack Driscoll's literary "brilliance"... which makes little sense as they purposefully use his character as a pawn to wedge in cheesy dialogue from the old film (the boat ride scene), and then as a 1930s "rebel" writing screwball tripe. It seemed clever the first time around...

The deleted scenes are also very revealing. Most are lousy or superfluous, but two really caught my attention: one that is in the "director's cut" and one that is only a supplement. The former comes near the very end, where one of the army sargeants yells at his men "this is a city made for people! You want some dumb monkey running around?!!" blah blah blah... It completely detracts from the majesty and emotion of the scene and is a shameless villainization. I believe it shows the influence of the cloying Frank Darabont. Another scene, not in the film, is where Preston (the assistant) confronts Denham about taking the voyage to Skull Island upon finding the map. It makes Preston's character seem whiney and too earnest, whereas in the theatrical release he comes across as the quiet, understated conscience of the film. Unfortunately, once you have witnessed scenes like this it's harder to swallow some of the more egregious emotionalism of the original release.

Still, I remember seeing this in the theater and being swept off my feet. Maybe it's a great thing that people still make films that really have to be experienced rather than dissected.

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