King Kong Production Diaries (2005)
By: J.R. McNamara on December 24, 2005  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Universal (Australia). Region 4, PAL. 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 2.0. English Subtitles. 214 minutes
The Movie
Starring: Peter Jackson, Jack Black, Naom Watts, Adrien Brody
Country: USA
One of the unusual things about the enigma known as DVD is the fact that it has a created a new market for movie fans and tragics to pursue. The best discs are the ones that don't just have the movie on them, but a making of, 2 commentaries, stunt and special effects vignettes, music clips, trailers and radio advertisements. The extension of this is when a movie has so much hype, due to the popularity of either the subject of the film, or the director, that a making of DVD can be released independently of the release of the film on DVD. When Peter Jackson's King Kong hit the cinema in December 2005, Universal Studios decided that the internet based vignette Production Diaries of the film could be released under such circumstances. Basically a set of extras with no accompanying film, the King Kong Peter Jackson's Production Diaries was released in two formats. The first being a standard 2 disc set with all the mini features on it, the second being a far more extravagant piece, almost a prop replica, with a few other extra bits thrown in for good measure.

Introduced by Peter Jackson, these production diaries follow the eight months of filming of King Kong. Some of the short vignettes are irreverent, some are informative, but all are of great interest to fans of Jackson or King Kong. The menus have been devised so you can watch them by date, or by location, and are really for the fan of movie production (and maybe the voyeur as well). The time frame is interesting and can be followed by Jackson's weight loss; it probably could have been called 'The Incredible Shrinking Jackson'. Lots of footage of both the tedium and fun of filmmaking (thanks mainly to Jack Black and Andy Sirkis) makes for a fascinating piece of collectable. What you will find amazing, is how much was blue screen effects!! The first disc covers the months from September to December 2004, while disc 2 covers January to April 2005. The second disc also has a bonus diary covering the making of the Kong/ T-rex fight, which due to its spoiler nature, could not be shown on the internet.

The video is far improved over that of the internet, for those who watched it online and is presented in Anamorphic Widescreen 1.78:1.
The sound is in Dolby Digital 2.0, and obviously, seeing as how it is a documentary made for the internet, does not have to be spectacular, but is coherent and clear.
Extra Features
Seeing as how this is a disc of documentaries for the unreleased (as of this review) DVD of Peter Jackson's King Kong, the special features of this come in the form of the packaging and the little extras that make the package unique. The limited edition is set in a cardboard replica of a briefcase of the thirties or forties that has a small label, signifying it as being property of 'Carl Denham Productions'. Inside is a Certificate of Authenticity, with the number of the individual Limited Edition printed on it. There are also 4 prints, unique to this set, created by the conceptual artists from Big Primate Pictures and Weta Workshop. The 2 DVDs and the 52 Page Production Memoir are packaged in a beautiful mini reproduction of a clipboard, which has to be seen to be appreciated. The Production Memoir itself is basically a 52 full color contents book for the DVDs, but contains some excellent photography and some nice pre-production and production art.
The Verdict
A pretty good DVD set all in all, but its high price makes it really for the collector only. My problem with this is also the reason it exists: I have trouble watching the extras for a film that is not a part of the disc set.
Movie Score
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