King Kong (2005) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Action / Drama
Universal || PG13 - 201 minutes - $29.98 || January 20, 2009
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2009-01-27


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Peter Jackson
Writer(s): Merian C. Cooper and Edgar Wallace (story), Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson (screenplay)
Cast: Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Colin Hanks, Andy Serkis


Theatrical Release Date: December 14, 2005


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • MyScenes
  • U-Control
  • BD-Live


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Peter Jackson’s King Kong swept into theaters last December and nobody, save for rabid fan-boys, cared. Despite tons of marketing from Universal, the big ape only managed a disappointed $218 million domestically (though worldwide it was a respectable $550 million). The problem might’ve been over saturation, but I think the reason why it wasn’t as huge as some expected was because this was one remake that really wasn’t needed. As much as I enjoyed King Kong in the theater — and that was the last time I saw it — I couldn’t say that this was really necessary, and at three plus hours no less.

After a two-disc release with the theatrical version, Peter Jackson is back with this “Deluxe Extended Edition” which adds 13-minutes back in, giving the runtime on this a whopping 3 hours and 20 minutes! Yowsas. As I said, though, it’s been a while since I last saw the theatrical cut, but from what I could tell, the footage added were more jungle chase sequences as our exploration team tumble with more dinos and other strange creatures. All of that would’ve been fine if, and only if, Jackson had cut down the voyage and the needless “subplot” (if you can call it that) involving Hayes (Evan Parke) and Jimmy (Jamie Bell), as Hayes acts as a father figure; yet this has zero to do with anything and adds nothing to the plot overall.

Unfortunately, Jackson doesn’t hit a homerun like he did with the extended versions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, all of which actually positively expand on the story and in some ways, make it better than the theatrical version (and those were already good). This extended cut is more along the lines of the vast number of unrated editions that every other movie receives where a few minutes added back in to call it “unrated” but adds little, if any, value. On the other hand, I will say that this set is still worth purchasing, more on that later...

As for my thoughts on what was my second viewing, I remember almost falling in love with this but within only a couple of days, I felt it was certainly over bloated and could’ve used some major editing. I’ve already suggested where these cuts could’ve taken place, so I’ll leave it at that. Peter Jackson has great vision and after filming three epics at the same time, it’s obvious he has the managerial skills to pull off anything, but I think his passion for this project got in the way of putting forth what could’ve been a true classic. It could’ve been a classic that surpassed the original.

You can check out the full review for the DVD “Deluxe Extended Edition”.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Commentary with Director Peter Jackson & Philippa Boyens (Extended Cut Only)

U-Control
- PiP Interviews
- Photo Gallery

Universal's signature feature is back from the previous HD DVD version and it includes snippets of interviews, production information etc.

BD-Live and My Scenes sharing are also included. Even with a 50GB Disc, Universal didn't include any of the features from the previous DVD Releases besides a Commentary Track. Sigh.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

King Kong arrives on Blu-ray in 2.35:1 (VC1) on a 50GB Disc. The title was considered demo material back when it arrived on HD DVD in 2006 and the same remains true now - this looks stunning. Colors are vibrant and blacks nice and inky. I couldn't see a single flaw in this transfer. Comparing it directly to the HD DVD I could not spot a difference.

Universal dropped the previous lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 Plus track in favor of a lossless DTS MA track. Once again, a direct comparison to the HD DVD to me only showed the DTS MA track sounded a bit louder (but this is the norm for DTS titles). I have a hard time recommending HD DVD owners to upgrade for the reason of the DTS MA track because I am firmly in the camp of DD+ and TrueHD/DTS MA/PCM sounding the same (unless it’s a new mix). Some may scoff at that idea, but that's how I feel. Regardless of that, the film still sounds incredible - and anyone with this title should watch the T-Rex/King Kong battle scene to prove it.



.::OVERALL::.

King Kong roars to Blu-ray boasting incredible picture and audio but severely lacking in the special features department. If you are a fan of the film, I'd recommend picking it up. If you own the previous HD DVD, there is very little reason to spend $20 on something Universal chose not to give the "Special Edition" treatment to.