Kong

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Overall rating
 
8.0
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6.0
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9.0
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9.0
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8.0
Enjoyment
 
9.0
So, in short, this is the only version of King Kong I'll ever be watching again. It may sound vitriolic, but I found the theatrical version of King Kong bloated and boring, and while I would never call it bad, it was simply far too long for me to ever really want to watch again - let alone repeatedly. The story of King Kong is just simply not worth 3 hours of exploration. It's meant to be a quick little fantasy jaunt. That's part of it's charm.

This version of the film does a tremendous job of recapturing that sense of speed, excitement, and classic adventure. As others have noted, there are some plot holes, there are some underdeveloped character motivations, but unlike some other reviewers, I would not say you particularly have to have seen the theatrical version of King Kong to understand this version. Sure, the love story lacks some exposition, but the edit still delivers on its point and purpose and realigns the focus of the movie to what it always should be; monsters, mysticism, and morality.

The only particular flaw that I would say exists with this edit, is that its resolution is now unfortunately outdated. Maybe I'm more of a stickler than most, but 480p is brutal for me to watch. IMO, it would be well served for TMBTM or another editor to upgrade this version of the film to full 1080p.

User Review

Do you recommend this edit?
Yes
Format Watched
DVD
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Overall rating
 
7.9
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.0
Audio Editing
 
10.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
3.0
Enjoyment
 
5.0
There are a number of things I liked about this edit but ultimately I think the narrative is ruined by overzealous cutting of too much backstory. Motivations for most of the characters are gone, and it's almost impossible to appreciate the story without keeping in the back of your mind the full version as released theatrically.

I re-watched Jackson's extended version of the film the other night, and although I still enjoy it very much the length does start to wear on you. Hoping to get an idea of how the movie might play out in the hands of a fan editor, I checked the data base and found that this cut was available. The reported length sounded promising, as did many of the positive reviews, so I took a look at it last night.

Some of the editing choices here are simply brilliant. The shortening of the T-Rex fight is masterful. Most of the stuff from Jackson's version that struck me as being self-indulgent has been cut and the technical aspects of the editing are fantastic. But--

Why is Jack Driscoll on this voyage? It's mentioned that he's the scriptwriter, but we never see him write. The fact that the picture starts without a finished script isn't adequately explained, so there doesn't appear to be any reason for Jack to have tagged along.

Why do Jack and Ann fall in love? We get a couple of scenes of their apparent annoyance and awkwardness around each other, then suddenly they're making goo-goo eyes at each other and holding hands. We need something to show why Ann would suddenly turn to Jack in a crisis after the cool reception they've been giving each other previously.

Why is Jimmy so distraught over Hayes' death? The edit gives us no clue as to the relationship between the two characters, so he seems pretty overwrought compared to his reactions to the deaths of others in the party. Cutting the whole Heart of Darkness stuff was a good idea, but we really need to see something of the relationship between the two to understand the impact that Hayes' death has on Jimmy.

How did the crew learn that Denham had no intention of going to Singapore? There's nothing left in the narrative to explain how they knew when confronting Denham about his real plans.

Why are Jack and Ann estranged after their return to New York? We see that she's a bit miffed when Jack holds her back from Kong during the capture scene, but without knowing that he wrote a play for her and she is missing from its cast when it appears on Broadway it comes as a surprise to learn that Jack doesn't know that Denham was forced to replace her in his show.

How did Ann know that Kong meant "beautiful" as he watched the sun rise over New York and patted his heart? The bit where Ann taught him the gesture while watching the sunset on Skull Island has been cut.

A couple of other editing choices also strike me as odd. I like the cutting of the Brontosaurs falling over the cliff edge, but I think it was a mistake to cut Denham discovering the Brontos and forcing Baxter into a scene with them. The later joke where Baxter forces his way out of the Alhambra Theater suffers by cutting the similar way he forces his way off camera when the Brontos start to get restless.

I do like the cutting of the underwater scenes from the encounter with the giant catfish (or whatever), but I probably would have omitted the entire sequence. It wasn't missed in the theatrical version, so cutting it here might have left some more time for adding back some narrative backstory and character motivation.

The DVD file I downloaded had some strobing-type effect in the early scenes on board the Venture so I'm knocking off a star for the video quality. However, I haven't seen anyone else comment on it so perhaps this is an artifact from my own computer.

Although I'm extremely impressed with the technical quality of the editing here, the cuts to the narrative unfortunately strike me as much too extreme, so I cannot really recommend this edit for others. I seem to be in a minority among the reviewers on this, however, so your mileage may vary.

User Review

Do you recommend this edit?
No
Format Watched
DVD
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(Updated: September 13, 2012)
Overall rating
 
8.9
Audio/Video Quality
 
9.0
Audio Editing
 
9.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
8.0
Enjoyment
 
6.0
October 11, 2010

(NOTE: Forgive me, I’m blatantly copying boom23′s review style. ^_^() )

Prologue:

I’m a giant monster fan. I adore King Kong, Godzilla, and all the rest – to me, they’re awesome fun! While I loved Peter Jackson’s take on King Kong, I’ve always felt he let himself indulge too much. I mean, seriously, there’s no reason he had to take three hours to tell a story that originally took only 100 minutes! When I discovered Fanedit.org, King Kong ’05 was one of the first films I thought of taking a crack at. So, as you’d imagine, finding The Man Behind the Mask’s attempt at reigning this bad boy in caught my eye: Kong ’05, in the same runtime as the original? His intentions were great, so I decided to take a look.

The Edit:

The first problem we ran into was the beginning.

While everyone agrees that Mr. Jackson took WAY too long getting to Skull Island, I feel this edit goes in the opposite direction: we get there WAY TOO FAST. The whole first act feels rushed now: we meet Carl, we meet Ann, and they leave New York in what felt like the blink of an eye. While I had no issue with the early Jack Black scenes that were cut (and removing the lame pretext for Adrien Brody joining the expedition was a great decision), at least part of Naomi Watt’s original introduction should have been retained – as it stands, I’m left wondering why I should care at all about her when Jack Black is obviously the main character now. This problem continues onto the ship portion. Again, while many of the cuts were good (removing the slo-mo “S-K-U-L-L…” nonsense was great and totally unmissed), I felt as if some important character development was missing. I still wasn’t sure why I should care about Ann Darrow, and the romantic subplot was so subdued/subtle it was easy to miss if you weren’t looking for at. I don’t recall Jack and Ann ever actually speaking to each other on the ship at all…it makes their interest in each other seem rather forced, when the original didn’t seem nearly as awkward.

Where this edit really picks up is on the island: almost all of the changes were for the better, although considering how much of a rush we were to get to Skull Island there is a substantial lack of either Kong or the dinosaurs once we get there. While I understand wanting to remove the Vaudeville scene (great job with that, by the way), the result ended up being Kong literally sitting around doing nothing for what felt like an eternity. Also, and this probably only for me ’cause I LOVED the original version, the T-Rex fight felt a bit too short (although, you did a good job cutting it up – I didn’t notice anything missing, I just felt it). On the other hand, I LOVE what you did with the Spider Pit scene: now it’s perfect!

The best overall was probably the final New York sequence. Nothing cut was missed, the new inclusions were great, and the shorter final battle didn’t feel any different – hell, I almost forgot that it was originally much longer!

Editing: 8 out of 10 (overall good choices, but the first act feels rushed and main characters aren’t developed enough.)
Entertainment: 6 out of 10 (As bloated as PJ’s cut is, I overall enjoyed the original more – the theatrical cut is 9 out of 10 for me.)

Video:

Excellent. I didn’t notice any pixelation or artifacts.

10 out of 10

Audio:

Overall, the quality is great. A few times I noticed the score change suddenly, though it was lessen by good use of audio transitions. Not really a fault of yours, there’s only so much that can be done, right?

9 out of 10

DVD:

Nice new menu and good bonus features! ^_^

10 out of 10

FINAL RESULT: 7 out of 10

I’m sorry, but rushing the first act so much just hurt the whole film for me and seriously lessened the entertainment value. A good try and worth watching, though it’s not replacing Peter Jackson’s cut just yet.
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(Updated: September 13, 2012)
Overall rating
 
7.0
Audio/Video Quality
 
N/A
Audio Editing
 
N/A
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N/A
Narrative
 
N/A
Enjoyment
 
7.0
April 12, 2010

*This rating was given before reviews were required*
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(Updated: September 13, 2012)
Overall rating
 
7.0
Audio/Video Quality
 
N/A
Audio Editing
 
N/A
Visual Editing
 
N/A
Narrative
 
N/A
Enjoyment
 
7.0
April 12, 2010

*This rating was given before reviews were required*
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