The first and most instant reaction to watching the special features on the special edition two-disc release of "King Kong" on DVD? "Who the hell is that? That is not Peter Jackson. Peter Jackson is three times that size."
Once you get over the initial shock that Peter Jackson has lost almost all weight on his body and start listening to what he is saying in his introduction to the DVD, you might be a little miffed. You may ask yourself why you paid the extra money if all you're getting is post-production documentaries? Where are all the juicy filming tidbits? The location scouting and meetings that some find interesting? Well, they're on another DVD that came out around the time of the film. Jackson seems to have a penchant for releasing as many DVD's of his films as he can. Let us not forget how annoyed we all were when all of sudden a director's cut of "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" came out, followed by the edition with the collectable statue.
Oops, he did it again. In order to get the full Kong experience you need to have the previously released Kong DVD (which, by the way, does not have the movie on it, only the special features) and this release of the movie. Oh, there is also the not-as-special special edition release, which comes with a little less on it. If your just looking to watch Peter Jackson's "King Kong," I would suggest that one, but be careful — you could end up buying a DVD with no movie and all special features.
THAT SAID, features on the new Kong DVD are actually the ones you want to watch. All about how Kong was created and how they rebuilt much of old New York digitally. Luckily all that tricky interesting stuff is done in post production so you don't have to buy an extra DVD. Along with the post production docs, "King Kong" comes with two more separate documentaries.
One is a very well-done documentary on Skull Island as if it were a real place, which actually allows you to see how much time and effort was put into creating the inhabitants of the place. It's a fun and different way to get the information on design and creation across to the audience.
The other is a intriguing look at how the team at the WETA special effects shop works, and how Peter Jackson went about rebuilding New York at the time of the film. What is most interesting about it is not the making of the city but the history lesson — the documentary, as the movie does too, gives a fantastic look at the Great Depression and the history of film itself.
The movie itself is gorgeous on DVD and looked great on both a widescreen HDTV and a more conventional one; though the bigger Kong is, the better he gets. The sound has been translated nicely and if you have a surround sound system your going to love "King Kong." At some points I actually turned my head around as the explorers were going through a jungle because I thought a bird had gotten into my house.
This edition of "King Kong" might be just one more way to rake in more money but it pays off with fun and interesting documentaries and an impressive move from the big screen to the small.