11-14-2006 12:46 AM #1PeterB Guest
'King Kong' -- High-Def Digest review
Just got through with 'King Kong'
Unfortunately, while the video is fantastic and the soundtrack terrific too, there is no Dolby TrueHD option and the extras are quite lacking. I just expected more from this one. Certainly, 'Kong' delivers on the bottom line. But I was hoping for a real format-booster with this one, that really lays down the gauntlet in terms of the whole package...
Last edited by jed; 11-14-2006 at 01:35 AM.
11-14-2006 02:32 AM #2
I personally thought that this King Kong was a classic, one of the few movies in recent memory which I went to see a few times - and each time brought tears to my eyes during the closing scenes.
Though in my opinion it is a masterpiece, I do realize that many did not enjoy this movie as much as I, perhaps because of the extended duration. I am happy that it was as long as it was, but for many a somewhat cut down version would probably have carried almost as much story with even more impact.
11-14-2006 05:58 AM #3
I also was surprised at how much I enjoyed Kong as a movie. The HD-DVD is a realy winner in picture and audio if you ask me. I'm sure the lack of features is due to a bigger release coming in 2007 for the Extended Cut.
11-14-2006 06:30 AM #4
The end result is a film that should, if it is not already, be labeled a masterpiece. The film is surprisingly involving, and has enough to bring audiences in that would never think of ever seeing the film. The film had heart, comedy, suspense, action, an amazing score, good acting, and phenomenal directing. Upon seeing the very first teaser trailer for Peter Jacksonís remake of the 1933 classic King Kong, I knew I was in for an immediate treat come release time. Mr. Jackson didnít let me down one bit as, even though it didnít receive a Best Picture Oscar nomination (which in comparison to those nominated it didnít deserve it), King Kong is still one of the best filmís of 2005.
This aside, I do agree with Peter on his overall comment that Universal should have included a lot more though. Hell, I wouldn't mind paying a premium price of, I don't know, $59.99 if the Extended Edition DVD was transfered over to HD DVD. I don't feel many others would mind as well. This just personally SCREAMS double-dip. I'm sure the SAME exact thing will occur whenever Lucas releases SW on Blu-Ray.
Last edited by MrChaos; 11-14-2006 at 06:50 AM.
11-14-2006 07:16 AM #5
I, for one, really enjoyed the movie. I'm glad to see that it got a full rating for video as that was one of my main concerns. It is a shame regarding the TrueHD option, however if I was being cynical then I am sure they are saving that for a future release.
11-14-2006 07:28 AM #6
I've got to agree with the reviewer. King Kong is a marvelous story, but this is my least favorite telling of it. The story is just completely overwhelmed by one long drawn out action scene after another. The pacing is just completely miserable. With about a half hour of being chased by bad cgi dinosaurs and frolicking with crawlies edited out, this one might have been the equal of the seventies Guillermin/DeLaurentis flick. It can only equal the 1933 movie in technical merits....but they've had seventy years to figure out how to make a giant ape look like a giant ape!
11-14-2006 07:56 AM #7Founding Member
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Man, Universal dropped the ball on this release. I know, I know...a possible double-dip with the extended cut sometime in the future. But come on...they only had a year to put together something worthwhile and they couldn't even do that.
11-14-2006 10:13 AM #8
It was entertaining the first time I watched it. I hated that it took so long to get the plot going. The whole first hour could be compressed into 20 minutes.
11-14-2006 10:28 AM #9
11-14-2006 10:54 AM #10Sony BDP-S350, Toshiba HD-A1, Samsung 42" PN42A410 plasma, Panasonic PT-AE900U@120" screen, Denon AVR-2309,
Klipsch Reference Series RF-3 Speaker System
11-14-2006 10:56 AM #11
The first time I saw this movie I didn't have very high expectations for it but it was better than I thought.
I especially loved the part with the huge bugs eating the people alive although I havn't seen it in HD yet.
My Xbox HD-DVD drive will be here on thursday. Can't Wait!
11-14-2006 12:42 PM #12
I for one think that once they release the extended version on HD-DVD they will most likely have (or try to have ) the 45 gig discs done and then they can include TrueHD or DTS-HD along with High def features. And unlike a lot of people who say that king kong was long enough, I used to think LOTR was long enough, until I saw the extended versions, after that I couldnt get enough. Im looking forward to seeing the extended version, the stuff I have seen on tv (from its release today) looks really great.
11-14-2006 06:18 PM #13
Here's my take on King Kong:
Video - Presented in a 1080p, VC-1 Encoded, 2:35:1 Widescreen Aspect Ratio, King Kong has a lot of his shoulders. If this HD DVD doesnít look anything short of magnificent, HD DVD will take a huge blow. Luckily though, King Kong looks absolutely stunning in full 1080p glory.
Budgeted at $200 Million Dollars, the money spent truly shows in Kong as production design, locales, and CGI effects look stunning. Color usage is simply amazing as the jungles contain rich, lush blues, greens, and reds (mostly of the animals). Fleshtones as well are perfect. This gives the film an eye-popping 3-D realness. I could have sworn in some scenes, literally now, that the image quality was so perfect that it looked as if I was viewing the jungle directly in front of me, not on the TV, but almost in person.
The filmís locales, particularly the jungle setting, looked amazing. Andrew Lesnie, Director of Photography, brought these jungles to life creating numerous breathtaking moments as Kong fought for his life against the Rex protecting Ann. When heís captured and brought to New York, the ice rink scene (one of my favorite video and audio wise), boasted such amazing whites and clarity. A truly great job here Andrew.
A big negative for critics of the film has been the extensive CGI effects Jackson and his WETA team used. Critics complained that the effects were overly soft and fuzzy giving Kong a fakeness that could be easily seen through. Whether or not youíre for the effects, you canít really argue that the effects donít look immaculate here. Universal has delivered a true stunner. I canít imagine Kong looking much better than he does right now. Kong is certainly my new demo disc.
Audio - Universal provides Kong with the standard Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 Audio (encoded at 1.5mbps) available in either English, French or Spanish. While it was a disappointment to not find a Dolby TrueHD audio track here (it seems to me that only WB is including these anymore), the provided Plus 5.1 Track still sounds excellent. Honestly though, I donít think anyone could possible even think that Kong wouldnít sound anything close to excellent.
No matter what scene you decide to use to show this disc off (I can imagine though what many will pick), every scene screams to life with such rich, vibrant clarity. The filmís soundfield, surprise in the Kong vs. Rex fight, is immersive and surrounding as Kong punches, breaks and roars against these big beasts. Dynamic Range is also top notch creating such low, powerful bass that rumbles the room in a smooth, accompanying manner.
While many will instantly pick the Kong vs. Rex fight, I must inform you about the ending Empire State Building sequence. As the bi-planes whizzed by Kong, James Newton Howardís score (a true shame he didnít win an Oscar for this considering what he created in the short time he had after James Horner left) sounded perfect giving us the tense, seriousness of the moment. Shooting bullets at Kong, I found myself wanting to hear this sequence over and over again that it got to a point where my brothers were getting annoyed with the continuous rewinding. Truly a sequence that screams Ďdemo meí.
Attention to sound detail, as it was in the Lord of the Rings films, is perfect. Jackson and his massive Sound Department have created, arguably, the soundtrack to beat all soundtracks. As Carl and his team approach Skull Island interacting with the inhabitants of the island, sound attacked me from all sides never relenting. Amazing stuff here. Also, dialogue, despite all the aural delights occurring around you, never becomes muddled or hard to hear.
Universal needs to go down in the record books right now. King Kong sounds absolutely enthralling on HD DVD and can easily go along aside Batman Begins as a true example and definition of the word Ďdemoí. A top-notch, first rate effort.
Special Features - A complete disappointment on the feature front. This only makes me fear that Universal is planning an HD double-dip in the near future.
U-Control - The two included HD exclusive features are being dubbed as U-Control which is a feature that Universal has included on three previous releases in Tokyo Drift, The Break-Up, and todayís Accepted. I must admit this is the only real downer found on this HD disc. Both features contain various excerpts that any real fan will instantly recognize from the Production Diaries released earlier this year. Universal provides new, exclusive features for The Break-Up but not for Kong? Would it honestly have been hard for Universal to include a few more features?
Closing Thoughts - King Kong is being billed as one of the most anticipated HD DVD titles since the formatís inception nearly 7 months ago. Does the title deliver? Well, yes and no. Yes, the film is amazing, the video is breathtaking, and the audio is fabulous. What really hurts this package is the extreme lack of features on Universalís part. With an Extended Edition being released today on SD-DVD, why didnít Universal throw in another disc or two with all these features? Iím sure fans wouldnít have minded paying more to get more. Nonetheless, the film comes recommended for those looking for latest video/audio demo disc.
11-14-2006 09:15 PM #14Founding Member
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I agree with most of Peter's points about King Kong (except that I liked the CGI effects just fine), but I still love the movie. Yes, it's too long and miscast (Jack Black), but it's a thrill ride like nothing else I've seen.
Too bad about the lack of special features, but I'll be getting the Extended Cut on DVD for that. I never purchsed the film on DVD before, so I don't mind too much.
THIS is the HD DVD disc I'm most looking forward to playing when I pick up my player later this month.
11-14-2006 11:01 PM #15
I think the CGI effects that everybody is talking about is during the stambede of the large dinosaurs. Sure there were plenty of nice looking parts, but there were some shots that didnt look great. But you all have to admitt that the kong vs the t-rex, the bug scene, and kong on the empire state building were done very well. I dont think anybody should call kong as a bad movie just because there are a few shots that look fake (not that anybody here has made that claim). I for one cant wait until the extended version comes out on HD. I know then they will have special features and lossless audio.
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