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Directed by Peter Jackson
USA 2005

As a reviewer who does not generally delve into this territory of film (the modern CGI-infused epic) I am still quite susceptible to the enormity of such a grand spectacle. After some of the more adventurous and aggressive scenes its hard not to whisper 'Wow' to yourself.

 

We all know the story - so it's just a matter of how it is pulled off and if anything exceptional is added (or deleted). For many reasons I love the original version of this film, but distinct marks of originality must be awarded to director Jackson (et all) for such a bombastic re-telling. There are some nice touches added. Perhaps the characterizations are a little ham-fisted at times but people are generally going to see this film to watch a very big ape - not how adept Jack Black is at playing a huckster. The special effects are as good as I could want (I'm quite sure I'll have nightmares). The tussle with the dinosaurs is probably the high point and the action is caked on in extensive layers. I'd have loved to brandish this film for its lack of originality but it extends far beyond simply adept - it's a roller coaster ride that quickly consumes the three hours in an ever building pace. Peter Jackson's 'King Kong' is no work of art and time will be its greatest judge but the film is an amazing experience nonetheless. I can't imagine anyone watching this to be expecting anything more than it offers. Yes, I recommend.   

Gary W. Tooze

Posters

Theatrical Release: December 5th, 2005

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Comparison:

Universal (2-disc Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray

DVD Box Cover

Distribution Universal Studios - Region 1 - NTSC Universal Studios - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Available on, Region FREE, Blu-ray in a Steelbook  in May 2014:

Runtime 3:07:06  Theatrical: 3:07:22 - Extended: 3:20:07
Video 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.57 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

Disc Size: 38,807,330,604 bytes

Feature Size: 37,050,138,624 bytes

Average Bitrate: 24.68 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray VC-1

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 DVD

Bitrate:

 Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1)  DTS-HD Master Audio English 4177 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4177 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS Audio French 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
DTS Audio Spanish 768 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround
Commentary: DTS Express English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / 24-bit
Subtitles English, Spanish, French, None English, Spanish, French, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Universal Studios

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• The Volkswagen Touareg & King Kong
• Wish You Were Here
Disc 2
• Special Introduction by Peter Jackson
• Post-Production Diaries: Director Peter Jackson takes you on an unforgettable journey revealing virtually every aspect of post-production with nearly three hours of exclusive behind the scenes footage.
• Kong's New York, 1933 - 1930s New York comes alive in this fascinating piece that explores vaudeville, the skyscraper boom, the construction of the Empire State building and more.
• Skull Island: A Natural History - Travel to treacherous Skull Island with Peter Jackson and his crew

DVD Release Date: March 28th, 2006

Double Slim Keep Case inside cardboard slipcover
Chapters: 50

Release Information:
Studio: Universal Studios

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Disc Size: 38,807,330,604 bytes

Feature Size: 37,050,138,624 bytes

Average Bitrate: 24.68 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray VC-1

Edition Details:

• Commentary with Peter Jackson and Phillippa Boyens on Extended version only
• U-Control (picture-in-picture, Art Galleries)
• BD-LIVE

• User Guide

Blu-ray  Release Date: January 20th, 2009
Standard
Blu-ray  Case
Chapters: 53

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Universal Blu-ray - January 08': With this Blu-ray we initially get the option for 'Theatrical' or 'Extended' versions of the film - differing by about 15 minutes in length. The package exceeds the capacity of HD-DVD - so we can assume it advances upon that edition.

The superiority of the high-definition Blu-ray release is easily discernable by the matched screen captures below. I believe I have the correct frame match on most - but may be off by a frame on a couple. Detail seems to be the most noticeable improvement, although colors and contrast move up a healthy notch as well. The extensive computer generated imagery lends itself to a certain degree of softness/haziness but the new King Kong on dual-layered Blu-ray still has some immensely impressive visuals - even outside the grandiose action. The 1080P helps lose some of the plastic feel of the DVD and everything is just tighter. Naomi Watt's baby-blues particularity seem come to to life. For some, depending on the crowd, this could certainly be considered 'demo' material.

Audio-wise we get a healthy DTS-HD Master. It's about the level of the image - strong and well -utilized by the mix. Your Surround speakers should get some exercise with gun shots and Kong's deep imposing growls/roars. This again could be used to impress the boys when they are over. It has some healthy range and depth. There are optional subtitles and a couple of foreign language DUBs.

Surprisingly, some of the featurettes of the SD-DVD are relegated to the picture-in-picture (on 'BonusView' enabled players - Profile 1.1 or better) U-CONTROL (Red button on remote turns on or off), but have a decent, if occasionally boring (it is a long film), commentary (Extended version only) from director Jackson and writer Boyens. 'Color grading' and the like can seem fairly inconsequential to the average fan - but other, more pertinent, details are welcome - both participants have an easy-to-understand accent. Some may consider this bare-bones and there was certainly room for some of the featurette supplements (perhaps not the 3-hour one though) on the disc but, for one reason or another, it is devoid of featurettes. I appreciated the lack of advertising though - good job on that front Universal!

I know I tend to say this a lot, but I liked this much better than I did initially on DVD. It is most likely the wow'ing visuals and audio depth. I think Watts helps 'make' the film worthwhile, where Jack Black one of the weaker links. The special effects do an unbelievably strong job of conveying action and 'humanizing' for the over-sized gorilla. I have some friends that would enjoy indulging in that extensive dinosaur battle next time they are over. It can be exhausting. This is quite a film experience - especially in the magic of Blu-ray.       

***

 

ON THE SD-DVD (March 2006): I watched this on a 42" plasma and it looked excellent - I really have nothing to add to the screen captures - colors are perhaps a shade pastel and slightly muted to bring up the 30's feel - contrast shows deep blacks and the overall clarity is state-of-the-art crisp. Subtitles are exceptionally done and the audio sounded quite good on my system although some Home Theater fanatics may gripe about a lack of DTS - they may have a point considering it is a 2005 blockbuster release, but it may be the compromise to get the entire 3 hour film on one side of a DVD.

 I like the DVD-authoring - the film started for me as I slid the disc in - no painful host of unrelated trailers but I do find it rather tasteless about the whole Volkswagen Touareg thing ('official vehicle of King Kong') - how blatant.

The extras on disc 2 are extensive - Jackson is very good onscreen and you can feel his enthusiasm for the project. Some directors are exceptionally good at these immense budget and films that require such extensive co-ordination. He certainly has all his 'ducks in line' as is revealed by the included 3 hour featurette. Even the Skull Island supplement was quite intriguing especially for those highly keen on the films history.

Gary W. Tooze

 



DVD Menus/ Extras


 

Disc 2


 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Sample (can't get sub sample for Blu-ray yet)

 

Universal (2-disc Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

Universal (2-disc Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

Universal (2-disc Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


 

Universal (2-disc Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


Universal (2-disc Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


Universal (2-disc Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

 


Universal (2-disc Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


Universal (2-disc Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


Universal (2-disc Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

 


Universal (2-disc Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

 


Universal (2-disc Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


Universal (2-disc Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


Universal (2-disc Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

 


Universal (2-disc Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


Universal (2-disc Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Universal - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

 


DVD Box Cover

Distribution Universal Studios - Region 1 - NTSC Universal Studios - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Available on, Region FREE, Blu-ray in a Steelbook  in May 2014:




 

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