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The only particular flaw that I would say exists with this edit, is that its resolution is now unfortunately outdated.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.
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.
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 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.)
Excellent. I didn’t notice any pixelation or artifacts.
10 out of 10
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
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.
I am a bit late to the party, wanted to watch it last month, but just never felt the necessary motivation to do so. Why? Because it’s a King Kong fanedit. I don’t love that movie. It is bloated, superficial, has a lot of the “Emmerich Godzilla” effect and simply just tells the plot from the wrong point of view IMO. Other than that it has some truly great moments and a wonderful finale. More was possible, more did not happen. Now I really like TMBTM personally and I think he is a super talented faneditor, so of course I wanted to watch his new fanedit – even though it was King Kong. My expectations were mixed, because I simply could not imagine this movie suddenly being good, when there is still Jack Black in it.
As for all my reviews: this is just my personal opinion of this fanedit. I cannot tell anybody else, if he or she will experience it in the same way or the opposite. So my review is not objective and does not reflect the opinion of fanedit.org.
!!!!This review contains heavy spoilers!!!
We get a wonderfully condensed version of the movie. Nothing is missing even though almost half the movie was deleted, which is a truly incredible achievement and just shows how bloated the original was. Gone are all the tedious moments in the beginning, where the characters get introduced for a long time without getting anywhere close to Skull Island, because that’s where we want to be. Well, not exactly, there are still too many dinosaurs and too many victims to rescue one person. The reasons for the actions of the people are as odd as they are in the original. But at least we are getting to Kong and Anne quickly, which is nice, because it is just there, where the movie starts to build an emotional atmosphere. What TMBTM took away from these moments was for the truly greater good, without losing one bit of impact. Kong saves Anne from certain death, he is protecting her and taking care of her. While his fascination in an ant-like creature can never be really understood, her reasons to like him are way more obvious. They shared the sunset.
The hunch for Anne is still not great, most of all because I still don’t know what I am actually watching. Is it a monster action movie? Is it a love story? Is it an adventure? The scenes are not bad, but what is missing in both the original and the fanedit is the emotional impact. I don’t think anything can be done about that, so I just thank TMBTM for making it all shorter.
The part of Denham gets the biggest improvement (by cutting a lot of his scenes). The part of Driscoll loses most of what it had and makes his reasons to do anythign for Anne very obscure. The part of Bruce Baxter almost does not happen anymore.
The New York finale is very well done and absolutely the highlight if this fanedit, except for the “it was beauty that killed the beast” line. I will always hate it and I still do.
editing: 10 of 10 (great editing decisions, no hard cuts, perfect plot even though half the movie is gone.)
entertainment: 7 of 10 (I enjoyed it a lot more than the original, but it’s still not a great movie and I hope I will never have to watch it again – the original got a 5 of 10 from me on imdb )
Image and video quality:
Video quality: 10 of 10
Audio editing and audio quality:
audio quality was perfect.
audio editing: 10 of 10
sound quality: 10 of 10
resulting in a 10 of 10 for overall audio
The fanedit comes with about everything a good presentation needs. Cool title, self made credits (although not really informative for the changes, they just give us the name of tmbtm), cover art, trailer, a bonus feature (which could have been longer), nice menus.
9 of 10 for overall presentation
Final result: 8 of 10 (because I stick to my opinion of not rating a movie more than 1 star higher than the overall entertainment was for me.
It’s not a great movie now, but truly an improvement over the original. It’s a fast paced and entertaining watch and I can recommend this version to anyone who has the need to watch King Kong again. This is the best version there is.