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King Kong: The Extended Edition (2005)

Return to Skull Island

December 10th, 2008
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Among my very favorite DVD sets are Peter Jackson’s extended versions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Being a fanatical LOTR fan, it is a delight to have longer versions of the films that incorporate action, character moments, and lots of other fun details drawn from the books.  The LOTR extended DVDs also boast some of the most comprehensive and enjoyable extras I have ever seen – detailed, feature-length documentaries that cover every aspect of the making of the films, from the casting to the production to the music to the editing to the guys who made the chain mail for all the elvish armor.  Just fantastic stuff, and it gives us a wonderful peek into the experiences of all the talented craftsmen and women who toiled on the LOTR films for over half a decade.

Because of that, and because I enjoyed Peter Jackson’s King Kong more than most, when the extended DVD set of King Kong was released over two years ago (in November, 2006), I of course picked it up right away.  However, for some reason, it subsequently sat unopened on my DVD shelf.  I’m not sure why that is.  Maybe it’s because the thought that a longer version of Kong was rather daunting?  As I wrote above, I really loved Jackson’s remake of Kong, but even I must admit that the film (clocking in at 187 minutes) was longer than it needed to be.  Even from the comfort of my own couch, the idea of pressing play on the 201 minute version was, I suppose, not something I was in a terrible hurry to do.

But I did finally sit down to watch the extended version of King Kong this weekend, and let me say I was delighted.  Unlike the Lord of the Rings extended editions, this is not a complete re-working of the film.  The changes are actually rather minimal, mostly consisting of a couple of additional hideous encounters on Skull Island.  If you didn’t like King Kong in its theatrical form, this new version isn’t going to change your mind.  But for me, watching Kong I right away remembered every reason why I had enjoyed the film so much when I saw it in theatres.

Anyone who knows anything about this Kong remake knows that it was Peter Jackson’s dream since he was 9 years old, and that love pores off of every frame of this film.  The movie is a fantasy, a fairy-tale of the best kind, and the terrific score and the sumptuous visuals right away sucked me in to the world of 1933 New York and the story being told. 

There is no question that it is too long, and … [continued]