King Kong was a movie that I wanted to watch in HD ever since I first heard of HD (which was sadly just 3 months ago). Now that I have picked it up, I am glad I did. Unless you live on some island where they worship a giant monkey, you probably know the plot of the movie well, and if you happen to live on that island you probably know the first half of the movie and didn’t even know it. So I am not going to rehash the story, but I would like to say that when I was a kid, I first caught this on our local tv channel 9, late one night. I found it riveting of course and when Kong dies at the end, I honestly felt angry — Like fists balled, a bit misty eyed, hoping it ain’t true angry. In fact every time I watch it I get roped into it just like the first time. I watch AND love the film, then Kong hits the pavement and then the whole movie feels like ashes in my mouth. I cannot turn it off fast enough and I need to wait months before I can watch it again. With that in mind I watched the extras on this Blu-Ray book first. It has some impressive stuff:
* Blu-ray book with production photos, notes, and a background of director Merian C. Cooper (fun)
* Commentary by Ray Harryhausen, Ken Rolston, Fay Wray, and Merian C. Cooper (still have not listened to)
* Two documentaries: “I’m King Kong: The Adventures of Merian C. Cooper” and “RKO Production 601: The Making of Kong, the Eighth Wonder of the World” (great)
* Original creation test footage with Ray Harryhausen commentary (great)
* The Lost Spider Pit sequence in its entirety (great)
Now onto the movies. It sounds great and in my opinion it looks great. I read some people who said that they think a better job could be done. Perhaps, but this movie is OLD and while I ain’t no film guy, I imagine that it would be very difficult to fully restore the movie to pristine digital quality and when you accomplished that, you would have a movie that would be the original King Kong in name alone (sort of like those “restored” Star Wars films). Just know this, this movie is in HD and this is the best transfer of King Kong currently available and it is certainly the finest transfer I have ever seen.
So do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of King Kong (1933) on Blu-Ray and enjoy it this Halloween season. Of course if you are not into the Blu-Ray thing, you can pick up a copy of King Kong in digital format via iTunes.