The 1933 original is one of the movies I surely saw more than 30 times in the early 80′s. You know, all the children love to watch and re-watch the same thing again and again. For me it was King Kong (1933) and Star Wars.
When I saw the 2005 version I loved it. It was not too long for me and the DVD extended version (which I used for this edit) neither.
But I totally understand people “complaining” about the length of this movie, the useless scenes and all.
Another usual complain was the choice of Jack Black as one of the lead actor. But frankly I did not know much about Jack Black when I first saw the movie (he was not that famous in France back then, at least not to me) and I found him good. The kind of character we like to hate.
So why editing KING KONG if I like it?
- Because I think a radical short version of this movie is needed. Several fanedits already exist but I wanted to match King Kong 2005 lenght to the 1933 version. So I tried to find the 2005 scenes that fit the purpose of the 1933 ones.
- I also think Peter Jackson has gone a bit berserk with all the creatures attacks. They, most of it, are still in my edit, but heavily trimmed.
- They arrive at Skull Island in about 20 minutes while it takes an eternity in the original.
- Driscoll now only share one or two lines of dialogue with Ann. And I think it still works well.
- I also added a minute of the original 1933 score somewhere in the movie.
- the 2 deleted scenes are not as good quality as the rest of the movie. Sorry for that. But they are only 1 minute each, and they are watchable.
- Trailer 33′
- "2 minutes of fanediting" video.
But you'll see things like:
- Kong fighting only one T-Rex (or V-Rex like the filmakers says!)
- The Bugs scene is still there since it was planned to have one in the original 1933 movie. But this scene is now WAY shorter.
- Ann and Jack barely speak to each others during the movie, but I think you still feel the "love in the air".
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.
I enjoyed this edit. Kong IS, as promised, a "truly fast-paced adventure" and goes straight to the point. TMBTM's edit is NOT, however, for anyone who remembers little or nothing from King Kong.
Kong is Editing Galore, but with great skill. It is technically outstanding, yet leaves some holes in the narrative (meticulously noted by billy-batson below). These didn't bother me personally, I just had a good time with Kong. Pure adventure with hints of B-movie, more or less. No slow start; Kong opens when things already are in motion. This gave me quite a thrill, trying to remember or even fabulize the characters back stories. Great fun!
A fan edit of quality!
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.
Overview - Hard to improve on a definitive classic. Jackson’s relies on recreating deleted footage, as well as scenes excised before filming. Also, his Kong is not some mindless brute, but one gets the sense there is a soul in there. An intelligence. Unfortunately, the film is bloated by Jackson’s 3+ hour running time. The man, and his writers, seem incapable of telling a story concisely.
TMBTM cut overlong or useless scenes, tried to minimize casting fiascos, and made this more satisfying.
Video - More hits than miss. I would have liked the bug pit to play longer, except it becomes stupid, so OK. Chopping to one T-Rex is smarter. I never caught any edit miscues, and there is a nice bonus to check afterward.
Audio - Robust 2-channel. Editing was excellent. I kept listening for the Max Steiner clip but missed it.
Narrative - Flaws abide, big time, but the narrative structure holds solid. In the first act, all characters are sketchy, which is fine. Aside from Naomi Watts and the ship crew, the two male leads remain terrible. Black is miscast. He can not act outside of his limited range, and is utterly wrong in his 30s portrayal. Brody sleepwalks throughout, obviously bored, and has negative chemistry with Watts. TMBTM did great reducing their screen time.
Enjoyment - I appreciated this, I did not enjoy it. Kong is too tragic a character for me. At Skull Island, he is a swaggering ruler. In Manhattan, it’s all over for the poor bastard.
This is a terrific job, but enjoyment might depend on your capacity, or lack of, to emphasize with Kong. As with the 1933 original, I will never watch this version again. But I am glad I did.
Peter Jackson's King Kong is a favorite of mine. I actually *gasp* prefer it to the original 1933 film. The biggest criticism of the film is that it is too long. I get that. It is too long. I don't mind the length, however. I like how Jackson turned the story of the Eight Wonder into an epic. That said it can still do with a bit of trimming.
This edit, however, is not just the result of a bit of trimming. There is a lot of cutting here. I knew before I even watched this edit that I wasn't going to like this nearly as much as the theatrical version and, guess what, I didn't. I'm someone who's big on characterization, and I really appreciated the scenes in the original cut focusing on that. Well, those scenes are gone here. It's bare bones character development and, while it works, we miss out on all the subtleties of the different relationships. As such, I didn't completely buy Jack's attachment to Ann, and Ann's attachment to the titular beast.
But the story moves so fast that it doesn't really matter. While I enjoy the theatrical version much better, I'm quite fond of this version too. TMBTM turned the movie into a fun, mysterious, and rip-roaring 108 minute adventure, and that's pretty cool.