Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

King Kong: Deluxe Extended Edition

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
9 out of 10
Extras Rating:
10 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

Buy this DVD at Amazon.com

Rating: Not Rated

Starring:
Naomi Watts as Ann Darrow
Jack Black as Carl Denham
Adrien Brody as Jack Driscoll
Andy Serkis as King Kong/Lumpy the Cook
Jamie Bell as Jimmy
Kyle Chandler as Bruce Baxter
Lobo Chan as Choy
Thomas Kretschmann as Captain Englehorn
Evan Parke as Hayes
Colin Hanks as Preston
John Sumner as Herb
David Dengelo as Venture Crew
Stephen Hall as Venture Crew
Richard Kavanagh as Venture Crew
Louis Sutherland as Venture Crew

Special Features:
Commentary by: director Peter Jackson and co-writer Philippa Boyens

New extended edition with 13 minutes of added footage

38 minutes of deleted scenes

"Re-Creating the Eighth Wonder: The Making of King Kong" - an eight-part documentary on the film

A Night in Vaudeville

King Kong Homage

Weta Collectibles

"The Present" featurette

Pre-Visualization Animatics

CD-ROM of the 1996 & 2005 versions of the script

Outtake and Gag Reel

Conceptual Design Video Galleries

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Spanish and French Subtitles
Running Time: 3 Hours 21 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the DVD cover:

"The King Kong Deluxe Extended Edition is an all-new, action-packed DVD experience! Director Peter Jackson has added more than 13 minutes of never-before-seen footage, including the heart-stopping excitement of a charging Ceratops, the adrenaline rush of a Skull Island underwater creature's attack and so much more. Plus, this Deluxe Extended Edition is loaded with hours of brand-new special features, including a riveting commentary, behind-the-scenes featurettes, an outtake and gag reel, along with over 38 minutes of thrilling deleted scenes!"

"King Kong: Deluxe Extended Edition" is not rated.

The Movie:
You can check out my full review of "King Kong" here. For this review I'll just stick to reviewing the new footage.

Kicking things off is an attack on the ship's crew by a "Ceratops". It flings people through the air and stomps all around Preston until they shoot it dead. It's a cool scene but kind of redundant as they encounter more dinosaurs a short time later. This kind of takes the place of the stegosaurus attack in the original "King Kong" film.

The main new scene is the swamp sequence where the crew of the Venture is attacked by a strange beast while floating on some makeshift rafts. It picks off a number of the crew and has a close underwater encounter with Jack. The scene also reinforces Carl's obsession with saving the camera and shooting the film. This scene alone makes the DVD worth checking out.

Another deleted scene has our heroes walking through the jungle at the same time as Ann. When Lumpy panics and shoots something in the jungle, everyone fears he may have shot Ann. Instead it turns out to be a strange dodo-like bird.

The new footage is quite cool and if the Skull Island sequences were your favorite part of the movie, you'll be well-pleased with this new footage.

The Extras:
Like with the special editions of the "Lord of the Rings" films, this extended edition of "King Kong "adds more footage to the movie along with new and exciting bonus features that supplement rather than replace earlier DVD releases. Here's what you'll find:

Commentary by director Peter Jackson and co-writer Philippa Boyens Your standard commentary offering is included here. Move on to the good stuff.

38 minutes of deleted scenes Many of the deleted scenes take place on the ship towards the beginning of the story. There are alternate versions of encounters between the crew members, extended scenes, and other minor moments. You see a full dance number with Ann and Jimmy. The sequence where Ann is kidnapped is extended a bit and features a brief subplot of Carl fighting to keep his camera from being thrown overboard. As for the Kong scenes, there's a little more in the chase with Jack and a significantly longer battle scene between Kong and the Army.

Easter egg The Missing Production Diary - In this deleted production diary, the cast jokes about their addiction to watching playbacks on the monitor after takes. It gets a little raunchy at one part, but it's fun to see the cast clowning around so much.

"Re-Creating the Eighth Wonder: The Making of King Kong" This is an eight-part, 3 hour documentary on the making of the film and it is easily the centerpiece of the DVD. Much like the "Lord of the Rings" special edition documentaries, this gets extremely in-depth into the making of the film. This section includes the following: The Origin of King Kong, Pre-Production Part 1: The Return of Kong, Pre-Production Part 2: Countdown to Filming, The Venture Journey, Return to Skull Isand, New York, New Zealand, Bringing Kong to Life Part 1: Design and Research, Bringing Kong to Life Part 2: Performance and Animation. You get your usual offering of behind the scenes footage, interviews with cast and crew, detailed special effects discussions, and more. This documentary contains almost everything you could ever want to know about the making of the movie.

A Night in Vaudeville This is a retrospective on Vaudeville featuring vintage footage as well as footage of modern performers shown in the movie. A number of full acts from the film are shown as well as interviews with the performers.

King Kong Homage This is a series of clips comparing the original film to the modern one, particularly the lines they copied word for word. They also highlight original "King Kong" props used in this new film. (Does that make them doubly collectible?) Peter Jackson discusses a number of the similarities.

Weta Collectibles Richard Taylor shows how some of the "King Kong" collectibles were made by Weta. If you're into toys or statues, you'll like this brief feature.

"The Present" featurette This short movie was shot by the cast of "King Kong" for Peter Jackson's birthday. It features a mystery present that each actor steals from another. It's pretty funny and it's obvious that the cast had a lot of fun shooting it. (You even gets to see Kyle Chandler shoot a Hellboy gun and Adrian Brody use nunchucks.) Peter Jackson introduces the video and explains what it was all about, but doesn't say what was in the present..

Pre-Visualization Animatics You can see several of the big action sequences in animatic form with this feature. They include the arrival on Skull Island, the T-Rex battle, the bronto stampede, and the Empire State Building Battle. Some have minor differences from the final versions, others have more substantial differences. It's kind of neat to see just how sophisticated animatic sequences have become.

"The Eighth Blunder of the World" This is an 18 minute blooper and gag reel. It features your usual selection of actors flubbing lines and blurting 'f**k'. They also do some gags with the Kong effects. One amusing sequence shows Jack Black clowning around as Gentle Giant Studios scan him.

Conceptual Design Video Galleries These videos show pre-production art from the movie. They cover The Venture, Skull Island, New York, Kong, and the aborted 1996 "King Kong." The '96 Kong has some interesting and quite different designs.

The Bottom Line:
Even if you own the earlier "King Kong" DVD's, this Extended Edition is a required addition to your collection, especially if you're a Peter Jackson fan. It expands on the film and bonus features to a degree well worth revisiting.

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