King Kong: Deluxe Extended Edition

DVD Reviews | Nov 23rd, 2006

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Starring Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Andy Serkis
Written By: Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh
Directed By: Peter Jackson
Studio: Universal
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King Kong is a fantastic movie…it’s a long-ass movie, but it’s certainly fantastic! It’s filled with actions, romance, beautiful mystical places, dinosaurs, creepy insects, and a giant bad-ass gorilla. What more can you ask for in a movie? PJ & Universal decided it was time to release a 3-disc DVD set filled with about 15 minutes of deleted scenes, loads of extras that are longer than the movie itself!

Well since I reviewed King Kong last year, I’ll just steal the synopsis of the story from my review last year since I’m a lazy sod. King Kong is set in the Great Depression era and the movie takes places in NYC and the mysterious Skull Island. The story is about struggling actress Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) who has just lost her job, and is trying to find work. She runs into Carl Denham (Jack Black), a filmmaker who is just a little over-ambitious and wants to use her for his movie. She eventually agrees to do the movie after debating whether or not to do it. Carl is doing the movie behind the studio’s back and takes off to the mysterious Skull Island, a place that no one has been to or has return from. Jack Driscoll (Adrien Bordy), a popular playwright and screenwriter is attached to the movie and gets stuck on the boat while it’s launching to the sea. So Jack is stuck on the boat and has to tag along and finish the screenplay. Ann Darrow knows all about his work and wanted to work with him so it’s a dream come true to be with him on this trip. As they are filming stuff on the boat, Captain Englehorn (Thomas Kretschmann) finds out there’s a warrant out for Carl’s arrest and starts to turn the boat around. But it’s too late since they start to notice fog and a giant wall. The boat crashes into the wall and they are stuck around all the rocks in the water. While the Captain is trying to prepare the boat, Denham made an ass out of himself by going onshore to film his precious movie only to be attacked by crazy natives. The Captain saves them and they are back on the boat again, but the natives of the island kidnapped Ann and put her in a ritual for Kong. Jack and the others decide to rescue her and end up getting caught up in all the jungles’ adventures and pretty much up end either dying or surviving the whole trip and go back to New York City. But leave it to Carl Denham to mess things up even more by capturing Kong to showcase in New York City. So you can imagine how things went from there.

After seeing the movie for a third time, I decided to watch the movie with the audio commentary. I never really do that but figured I know what happens, and Peter Jackson always has interesting commentaries. I flipped back and forth between audio tracks once there was something new or interesting was happening. The film still holds up after three viewings as a great film, but it’s definitely a long movie and there is a lot that could be cut out. But being an extended movie, I can’t really complain about length. There are 3 noticeable scenes added to the film, the rest of the stuff is just extended scenes and little tidbits. The first new scene I really noticed was when the crew was about to rescue Ann (for the first time). They start firing into the trees because they got scared, but then a Triceratops comes out of the bushes and attacks the crew. The second big scene added to the movie was the swamp sequence. I guess this part was in the original 1930s movie, and Peter Jackson was heartbroken that it was cut. After the dino chase part, they decide to make a raft and cross the swamp..which turns into a really really bad idea. There’s a sea creature/monster that lives in the swamp and picks people off left and right. The scene is really well done and shows Jack Driscoll underwater, surviving the monster attack. PJ uses his nice underwater technique that he used when Frodo got seduced by the marshes in The Two Towers in that scene as well. The last scene that was notable was when Kong goes apeshit in New York City and goes up against the army. All the army generals or leaders are prepping their soldiers, and pretty much all that prep talk was for nothing. You’ll see why. Do the scenes really make the movie a better one? Not necessarily but it’s still a joy to watch. I don’t think I could seat in the movie theater this long, and get scared this much. I’d end up having a heart attack with all these intense creature, insects, dino, monster attacks. But on DVD, it’s okay because you can stop the movie if your ass starts to hurt. But I still ended up watching this movie all the way straight through because it’s just a fantastic film.

When it comes to DVDs, no one holds a candle to Peter Jackson’s bonus materials. The Lord of the Rings DVDs are still one of the best DVDs out there, but King Kong has joined their ranks of great DVDs as well. Extras are spread out onto the 3 discs and I didn’t even know that until Peter Jackson told me. Well not directly, but in the introduction on the third disc. So I popped back in the first disc and checked out a BUNCH of deleted scenes. Peter Jackson has an introduction to all of them and tells you why they weren’t in the theatrical or extended cut. Some scenes were redundant, and some just didn’t make the story flow that well; so in the end they were cut. Many of the deleted scenes were used in pieces so you get to see how they were originally used. The Eighth Blunder of the World is probably the funniest batch of bloopers i’ve seen. You get to see funny CGI bloopers, see Jack Black wielding a light sabre, Colin Hanks goofing off in a bluescreen suit (He needs to do more comedies), Bryan Singer pays a visit to the set and lots of Jack Black improvising his lines, and also screwing up his lines as well. It’s definitely worth watching because the movie gets serious at time, but then you see all the fun these people had on the set.

The Making of King Kong is found on disc 3 and all the featurettes put together are longer than the actual movie! How friggin cool is that?! There’s so much stuff to watch that I couldn’t finish all of it. You get to see everything from trying to get the movie off the ground back in 1996 to pre-production to filming to post-production and so on. I loved watching this because it’s not your typical boring behind-the-scenes stuff. All of it is interesting, and in a lot of cases, quite funny too. You know you’re gonna laugh when Jack Black & Colin Hanks get together and act up. Before the movie got started, the crew and the two actors were practicing using the old camera that was used in that time period. They decided to make some funny short, silent movies and you can see them on the DVD. If you really want to see how a movie is made, then these featurettes are something you REALLY need to see. There are a lot more extras on this DVD set but I didn’t get a chance to view them all. Yes folks, there’s that much!

So is this King Kong Extended DVD edition worth getting? Short answer is yes. Long answer is yes, you should get this and sell your other DVDs on eBay. This is the definite version to get..unless Universal releases the Ultimate Mega-Super Fanastic Collector’s Edition DVD set next year. But there’s more scenes added back into the movie, there’s about 6 hours worth of extras to watch and it’s just a great overall DVD to own. I have no complaints at all. This would make a nice Xmas gift this year! So go out and buy this DVD (or buy it online), and enjoy one hell out of a movie!

– 38 Minutes of Deleted Scenes
– Feature Commentary with Peter Jackson
– The Eighth Blunder of the World: The Must-See Outtake and Gag Reel
– Re-Creating the Eighth Wonder: The Making of King Kong: Fascinating Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes
– Return to Skull Island: Creating the Mythical World of Skull Island
– The Present: An Original Short Film Made by the Cast of King Kong
– Original Computer-Animated Storyboards of Kong’s Exciting Action Sequences
– The Video Galleries: Hundreds of Works of Brilliant Conceptual King Kong Artwork
– ROM Scripts: Includes the 2005 and 1996 Scripts for King Kong

ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 CC
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital Stereo CC

Widescreen 2.35:1 Color (Anamorphic)
Widescreen 1.78:1 Color (Anamorphic)

English, Spanish, French

Favorite Scenes: The dino chase, Kong vs Dinosaurs fight scene, Kong in NYC, Kong on the ice with Ann
Rating: NR
Running Time: 201 minutes
Extras Rating:
Overall Rating: