We're sure you know the story by know: Remake of the 1933 classic that sees movie producer Carl Denham (Jack Black) and his crew set off to an unmapped Sumatran island to film the backdrop for his latest romantic drama.
Along for the ride are screenwriter Jack Driscoll (Brody), leading lady Ann Darrow (Watts) and a ship full of disenchanted sailors, including renowned big game hunter Captain Englehorn (Kretschmann).
But as soon as the motley crew arrive at “Skull Island” (the clue’s in the name) things get nasty as they are set upon by a gruesome combination of man-eating worms, giant blood-sucking bats and gap-toothed natives. And that’s before they’ve even met Kong…
“Lord of the Rings” supremo Peter Jackson was paid $20 million to direct KK - the highest salary ever for a filmmaker - and we’re happy to report that it was worth every penny.
Andy Serkis gives a tender humanity to the giant gorilla - using the same computer trickery that turned him into Gollum in the LOTR adventures - and his doomed relationship with Ann (Naomi Watts) provides some truly heart-breaking moments.
Kong is at his best though when flexing his monstrous pecs and the four-way scrap with a gang of T-Rexes is possibly the greatest CGI action sequence ever committed to celluloid.
Not forgetting a jaw-dropping brontosaurus stampede, the spine-chilling spider pit attack and Jackson’s beautifully recreation of depression era New York, this is a giant feat of filmmaking that makes monkeys out of the year’s other so-called Blockbusters.
With three discs worth of special features - including an audio commentary from Peter Jackson, 6 hours of featurettes, and 13 minutes of brand spanking new action (taking the total to a truly epic 192 minutes) - this deluxe extended edition is surely the best value DVD release of the year.
Jackson’s talk-track (alongside wife and co-writer Philippa Boyens) articulates his excitement at finally being able to remake his favourite movie, and the new footage includes another thrilling action sequence involving a rather nasty swamp-dwelling beast known as the “Piranhadon”.
In truth, there is too much of interest to mention but highlights include 40 minutes of deleted scenes (with Jackson commentary), a stunningly detailed “Making Of” documentary entitled Recreating The Eighth Wonder, and plenty of technical mumbo-jumbo from the CGI boffins. For real movie geeks there is also a complete list of all the references made by Jackson to the 1933 original, and a nice blooper reel entitled “The Eighth Blunder Of The World”.
Some may argue that the opening hour drags like the eponymous star’s knuckles, but when Kong finally bounds onto the screen even the most cynical viewer will be stunned by Jackson’s creation.
Staring: Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Andy Serkis, Jamie Bell, Evan Parke, Thomas Kretschmann, Colin Hanks
Directed by: Peter Jackson
Extras: Disc 1: 'King Kong' extended feature film Part 1, Audio commentary from director/co-writer Peter Jackson and co-writer/producer Philippa Boyens, Deleted scenes, 'The Eighth Blunder Of The World' featurette, 'A Night In Vaudeville' featurette, King Kong homage, 'The Missing Production Diary' featurette Disc 2: 'King Kong' extended feature film Part 2, Audio commentary from director/co-writer Peter Jackson and co-writer/producer Philippa Boyens, 'The Present': an original short film made by the cast of the film, Arrival at Skull Island pre-viz animatic, T-Rex fight pre-viz animatic, Kong's capture pre-viz animatic, Empire State Building pre-viz animatic, WETA collectables, DVD-Rom features: 1996 script, Cinemedia trailer, Theatrical trailer, Teaser trailer Disc 3: Introduction to 'The King Kong Archives' by Peter Jackson, The origins of King Kong Pre-production Part 1: the return of Kong, Pre-production Part 2: countdown to filming, The venture journey, New York, New Zealand, Bringing Kong To Life Part 1: design and research, Bringing Kong To Life Part 2: performance and animation, 1996 King Kong conceptual design gallery, Venture design gallery, Skull Island conceptual design gallery, New York video, DVD credits