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King Kong on DVD

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Wil Alambre
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After the success of the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, director Peter Jackson could pretty much write his own ticket. Any movie studio in Hollywood would let him make any movie he wanted. They were willing to throw money at him. So what did he want to do?

He wanted to remake King Kong!

I can almost imagine the conversation...

Movie Bigwig: So, Petey baby! That fantasy flick did good. Did really good. You did real good.
Jackson: Thanks.
Movie Bigwig: But that’s the past. We need to think of the future. That’s where money is, Petey baby, the future!
Jackson: Of course, sir.
Movie Bigwig: So, what’s next? What do you want to do next? Anything you want, Petey-baby, anything you want! You did good!
Jackson: Well, I want to remake...
Movie Bigwig: Remake? Good thinking, Petey baby! Remakes make money. The suckers are eating up this nostaglic fad. Good thinking!
Jackson: ...remake King Kong.
Movie Bigwig: ...
Jackson: See, it’s a classic story, full of adventure, romance...
Movie Bigwig: Uh, Petey baby, are you sure? I mean, King Kong?
Jackson: Yeah! I’ll get Weta working on it again, it’ll look fantastic. We’ll have a sweeping story, great views of 1933 New York...
Movie Bigwig: Maybe you want to do a sequel instead? A Lord Of The Rings 4 - The Return Of Sauron? Or that Habit...
Jackson: Hobbit, sir
Movie Bigwig: Yeah, that Hobbit story.
Jackson: No, I’d like to do King Kong.
Movie Bigwig: ...errm...hruph...well... okay, but only cause you did good. You best know what you’re doing, Jackson!

So, about the DVD: one thing people should be aware of is that the film is over three hours long. Three hours, which is about one hour longer than your pals are willing to stick around watching a movie at your place, cause they have to work the next day. I’ve seen the first two-thirds of this movie more often than the rest of the DVD. Also, there’s a big buildup, setting the time period and locale, setting up New York, taking time to introduce characters and love interests... for those of us who want to see giant monkeys fight T-Rexs, we have to wait over an hour before Kong is revealed.

Is this bad? No, the movie is beautifully shot. The casting is great. I even like Jack Black in this flick, and I’ve always detested Jack Black’s low brow comedy movies. All I’m saying is that you need to schedule a significant portion of your free time to watch this flick in one sitting.

If, like myself, you got the two disc DVD set, you’ve probably gone through the special features, and don’t need me to go over them. :) But for those of you who haven’t, the second disc has three bits. One is a long series of production documentary sorts, many of which appeared on the promo website. These things are great, as you get the behind the scenes look and see how much work goes into these films.

The other two are so-so at best. A bit on New York in the early 1930s is educational, but short, and is only about the history and research. The bit on Skull island is better, but again, rather short. It’s set up as a history film reel, the kind you see in elementary school. It talks about some of the thinking and back history in setting up Skull island, stuff that justifies dinosaurs and savages and crumbling ruins. All cool stuff. Unfortunately, it ends way too early, and, annoyingly enough, plugs an art book at the end.

If I had to choose again, I wouldn’t have bothered with the two disc version, I’d have gotten the cheaper, one disc, widescreen version (does anyone still buy fullscreen?).