DVD Review: KING KONG Special Edition

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KING KONG (two disc special edition)

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 188 minutes (feature film), Post Production Diaries, special intro by Peter Jackson, Skull Island: A Natural History featurette, Kong's New York 1933 featurette

STUDIO: Universal

RELEASE DATE: 3-28-2006

By no means, I'm no big King Kong fan. Director Peter Jackson always wanted to remake King Kong. He would have done the job before he made THE LORD OF THE RINGS films, but Universal axed the project. After LOTR's success, they decided to let Peter make his King Kong film. For the first 135 to 140 minutes, KING KONG is a great film as you follow our characters to Skull Island and get into trouble on that infamous island of giant creatures, dinosaurs, giant insects, and giant ape known as Kong. However, the film sputters out for me when they take King Kong back to New York. Except for a few moments, the last 50 minutes are a disappointment. Maybe Peter Jackson should have split KING KONG into two films: Skull Island and New York. I love Skull Island and it lives up to the LOTR films. I just wish New York had me excited when they returned with Kong. The actor I liked the best out of the whole film is the guy who played the Captain Englehorn (Thomas Kretschmann). He reminds me of a young Jurgen Prochnow. Jack Black is perfect as the movie director who is also a con man. Adrien Brody does another serviceable job and so does Naomi Watts. I just hope the rights over THE HOBBIT is settled soon so Peter Jackson can make that film. KING KONG shows he can still make great cinema, but the LOTR films are the high point so far.

VIDEO: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)- feature film

1.78:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)- disc 2 extras

The transfer and image detail look good, but aliasing rears it's ugly head in the last 20 minutes. Except the more deluxe edition of the film to have a better transfer (the current one still isn't half bad).

AUDIO: English 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

Dialogue is clear and the 5.1 DD track rocks.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Universal let it be known that a deluxe four disc edition is in the works that will include an audio commentary with Peter Jackson and deleted scenes. The second disc of this special edition is packed with 3 hours of extras including over 2 1/2 hours of Post Production Diaries that Peter Jackson originally posted on the internet. SKULL ISLAND: A NATURAL HISTORY provides some details not shown in the film and serves as a promo for a book on Skull Island. KONG'S NEW YORK, 1933 takes a look at how they created New York circa 1933 for KING KONG being based in new Zealand. The extras are great, but knowing the bang-up jobs PJ did for the four disc extended editions for each LORD OF THE RINGS film, expect the deluxe edition of KING KONG to be just as great.

FINAL ANALYSIS: KING KONG is a masterpiece for the first 140 minutes before being a disappointment. If you loved the film, buy the two disc special edition. However if you're waiting for the deluxe edition coming out later this year, you can always buy the DVD used or just rent it.

this review is (c)4-26-2006 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except for excerpts and a link to the review). Look for additional content at http://enterlinemedia.livejournal.com and send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com