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".
If there's one thing I miss on fanedit.org these days, it's the news that a new TMBTM edit is in the works. Put simply, he's one of the very best editors to have ever graced the forum, so it was high time that I finally checked out his take on Peter Jackson's epic King Kong.
Firstly, let me be quite upfront with how disappointed I was with Peter Jackson's interpretation of King Kong. Whilst there's no doubting his love and enthusiasm for the original movie and that he carries that through into the passion that's clearly on show in his version, the fact that his movie runs over 3 hours in length, compared to the 1933 film's 1 hour and 40 minutes, does nothing but hinder any chance his movie had to flourish. Instead, it sank under a bloated storyline which attempted to flesh out characters, but only succeeded in making me want to watch either the original film, or the first remake in 1976 directed by John Guillermin. So, a streamlined version of Jackson's movie by TMBTM was a promising and exciting prospect to say the least. Could he succeed in making Jackson's Kong truly roar?
One of the best things about TMBTM's KONG is how much care and skill is taken in the editing choices he makes. It must have been very tempting to remove as much of Skull Island's over long monster sequences as possible, particularly as many of them feel like you're watching a video game (yes, some of the CGI really hasn't aged well) , and while you certainly get the impression that he wanted to trim as much as he could, the key here is that TMBTM only trims what he's able to as he knows he has to concentrate on keeping the flow and logic of the film intact. So, although the scene where the crew are walking in amongst the stampeding brontosaurus is pretty awful, TMBTM knows he has to keep some of it, as there are some crew casualties here. The same applies to the scene when the crew are attacked by an undersea creature - there's some awful CGI here, but again some people perish so logically some of the scene has to stay.
Of course, these are some of the reasons why I had so many problems with Jackson's King Kong. When it comes to his use of CGI, he feels like a kid in a sweet shop who doesn't know or want to stop eating the candy. He just keeps going and going, even though the CGI sequences become laughable and take you out of the film. One of the best fanedited sequences in KONG is the scene when one of the dinosaurs is trying to eat Ann (Niaomi Watts) whilst Kong comes to her rescue... in the theatrical version the sequence feels like it goes on forever and is frankly ridiculous and boring - here, it's quick, more believable and quite beautifully edited. This style continues, with the vast majority of this edit staying on Skull Island, meaning by the time we get to New York and Kong is advertised as the Eighth Wonder of the World, we literally only have about 20 minutes of running time remaining.
This is where TMBTM faces his biggest challenge. By removing so many character scenes, can the viewer believe a) that Ann has such feelings for Kong that she will risk her life for him and b) can we also believe the other love story in Ann's life, with screenwriter Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody)? The answer is not necessarily easy to decide. I'd be lying if I didn't say that having so much material cut which would contribute to both points, does make it somewhat harder to believe in Ann's feelings for both. However, I also think the trade off for a shorter, much more concise and entertaining film, is worth it. I would say that Ann's relationship with Kong fairs better than hers with Jack in this edit. The key in this is that TMBTM ensures that he keeps in the scene on Skull Island when Kong saves Ann from the dinosaur attack and quite beautifully then acts like he wants Ann to thank him. It's a great scene, and Naomi Watts executes it perfectly, making one believe that she now feels totally safe with Kong. Therefore, I feel in terms of narrative, whilst there are some characterisation sacrifices, the edit actually does a remarkable balancing act and still manages to maintain its core key story elements.
By the end of KONG, I was honestly elated with what TMBTM has achieved here. It's another shining example of just how good an editor he is. Granted, there are a couple of frame stuttering moments I noticed, but otherwise for a DVD standard definition version, the picture looked great when I watched it on my 55 inch TV.
All in all, if anyone wants to know just how good Peter Jackson's King Kong could have been, I implore you to seek out TMBTM's KONG. It will be the only way I watch the film from now on. Now, finally, Jackson's Kong can finally roar!
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.