Peter Jackson invites his fans on an unprecedented entertaining journey with this ground-breaking 2-Disc DVD release in which fans are transported onto the set of King Kong to experience the entire 6-month production proce... more »ss with the cast and crew.« less
"Yes, I do have the set in my possession. If you are looking for a last minute gift for the movie buff in your life you may want to consider picking up King Kong Peter Jackson's Production Diaries. The limited edition set is due to be released on December 13th. More than anything, even if you or the person you buy this for isn't a huge Peter Jackson fan, this is a great collectible for the person who loves movie collectibles or is interested in the art of filmmaking.
First things first, Peter Jackson (director of Lord of the Rings trilogy) and the cast and crew of King Kong appeared in a number of video production diary entries which were streamed on the King Kong website KongisKing. So when you pop one of the two DVD's into your DVD player don't expect to see a long form documentary. What you will be watching are short little pieces related to the making of the film. They seem to average 3-7 minutes, I could be off a little bit on the time but they are short little pieces related to the production. Some are very technical about setting up scenes while others are light hearted and include Jack Black or other cast members goofing off. In one piece you see the cast getting ready for and participating in a press conference with journalist, in another short piece Jack Black and Naomi Watts are seen in full costume. Just trying to make it clear that you aren't going to pop this baby in and see King Kong the big ape himself everywhere.
The 25,000 question is where is the big monkey? Perhaps he is here on one of the discs in one of these little pieces but after watching this set for a great deal I didn't get to see the big monkey. Perhaps it is because he is computer generated and these are basically diaries of the film production and not a big glossy documentary about the making of the film.
This set will really interest people who are interested in the art of film making because the average viewer might find themselves bored with some of the behind the scenes details provided in the diary clips. Of course a King Kong fan really wants to know every little thing, but I only keep stressing this because it's not your average documentary.
The best thing about the set is the unique packaging. The two discs come in a large box that looks like a locked case. Enclosed in that box is another box. When you pull this box out a Certificate of Authenticity is revealed. The Certificate of Authenticity coincides with the limited edition prints that are included in the set. The COA includes Peter Jacksons signature and a number, my set was number 254,247, so I guess it's not that limited edition! Inside of another box is a small box which resembles a clip board. Inside of this box are the two DVD's and a 52 page color scrap book. The color scrapbook includes the DVD details and pictures of the cast, crew and King Kong.
Universal put a great deal of effort into this set to make it truly unique and the consumer that purchases this well priced set will truly feel like they got their money's worth. It's the perfect companion to the King Kong movie. I'm pleased."
Something to tide you over until the Special Edition DVD
Cubist | United States | 12/16/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In order to capitalize on the release of Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong, Universal has released a collection of production diaries on a 2-DVD set. These brief segments originally aired on Kong is King, a fan website dedicated to the movie. It was Jackson's attempt to show that despite the ambitious scale of the production, he was still accessible to his loyal fanbase. These segments, averaging two to three minutes in length, document the 131 day shoot that lasted from September 6, 2004 to April 8, 2005. Their purpose was two-fold: to build anticipation by providing glimpses of Jackson's take on Kong and insight into the filmmaking process (much as he did on The Lord of the Rings special edition DVDs). He even took questions from fans on what they wanted to see on these diaries.
Their relatively short duration makes them easily digestible and on the DVD you can either view them in chronological order or by shooting location. Some of the cast join in on the fun, joking around on the set and getting into the spirit of it all. More importantly, these diaries shed light on the unsung aspects of the production that aren't usually documented in making of featurettes.
One of the most fascinating aspects is how Jackson created 1930s New York City in New Zealand. He studied period photographs and even took a tour of the Empire State Building (with actress Naomi Watts in tow). He didn't want to create a stylized New York but depict it as realistically as possible. Ultimately, they create it through a mix of actual sets, miniatures and CGI. The second disc of the production diaries focuses on the shooting that took place on the New York City sets, providing snap shots of various aspects, like extras, dressing up the sets, the vehicles and so on.
So, why should you buy this set if you've already downloaded them all off the `Net? Well, the resolution of the segments is much better and you also get the discs contained in an attractive, collectible package with certified artwork from the movie. The key to these production diaries is to show enough footage to pique curiousity but not reveal too much and ruin the experience of seeing the finished film in theatres. They have succeeded and this set provides something to hold over fans until the inevitable, exhaustive special edition DVD is released.
One segment that did not air on the `Net was "The Making of a Shot: The T-Rex Fight." It's a substantial look at how they put together the exciting scene where Kong fights a family of Tyrannosaurus Rexes all the while trying to save Ann Darrow (Watts). This featurette goes from concept art to animatics to an actual clip from the finished film."
Straight from the sets
Flipper Campbell | Miami Florida | 12/15/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When Merian C. Cooper unleashed his "King Kong" in 1933, he went to great lengths to safeguard the secrets behind its mind-bending special effects. Peter Jackson, ringmaster of the new century's "Kong," had other ideas. "Why don't we invite people in" as the movie is being made, the director mused back in 2004. And so an ambitious series of behind-the-scenes shorts went up on the movie's Web site, more or less in real time. "It was an experiment," Jackson says. "It's not a calculated piece of publicity. It's actually just the filmmakers connecting with the fans." The 54 shorts no longer exist on KongisKing.com -- they've been replaced by a similar post-production series. The original series migrated to DVD the day before the new "Kong" opened, giving viewers the unusual option of watching a hit film's DVD extras just as it premieres. Jackson plays host throughout, taking time to explain what's happening on the "Kong" set in New Zealand even when he's so tired he's stumbling. "We didn't try to hide anything," a seriously slimmed-down Jackson says in the intro. "We didn't censor ourselves." Some of the actors love hamming it up for the fans, such as Jack Black and "King Kong" Andy Serkis. "I can't believe they get to see me in costume and makeup," Black says early on. "Isn't that verboten?" Leading lady Naomi Watts seems dubious, but comes around in the series' second half. The shorts aren't all that different from most well-made production featurettes, but few projects have looked into this many corners of the filmmaking process or spent 3 1/2 hours doing it. Everyone from Jackson to the woman who brews coffee takes a turn explaining what they do and how they feel about it. Some of the segments are full of detail -- say, the piece on how movie cameras work. Others are just goofy -- the visit with the guy who crafts fake animal poop. The giant ape stayed under wraps when the shorts were on the Web but he makes a dramatic appearance on the DVD. "The Making of a Shot: The T-Rex Fight" spends 15 minutes on what it took to create the complex scene, and then rolls the frantic final product."
The best Making-Of yet ...
Harald Schossmann | Vienna, Austria | 01/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After the smashing success of the Lord Of The Rings Trilogy the question on everyone's mind was how does director Peter Jackson rival his phenomenal achievement? The answer: King Kong. Avid Jackson fans, however did not need to wait until December 2005 to hear from Peter Jackson again. Right at the start of principal photography of Kong in September 2004 Peter treated his fans to little online production diaries chronicling the making the epic King Kong. Every three days or so a new 5 to 8 minute clip appeared online exploring the various activities of cast and crew and their combined efforts in bringing King Kong to life. As time unfolded the diaries became increasingly complex as well as interactive with fans having questions answered regarding their fields of interest.
This DVD combines all these production diaries on a handy 2 disc set. At approximately 3.5 hrs virtually no secret remains hidden, every detail of this gigantic production is unveiled: from cast & crew to costumes, visual effects, miniature photography, cameras, sound, production design, the list goes on ... A fantastic insight into the production workflow developed on LOTR, perfected on Kong. Find out how Andy Serkis infused King Kong with a human performance that'll have Gollum pale in envy, why Peter Jackson actually never took the Venture out to sea but relied on miniatures instead and why it's better to have your own customized "Build you own Jungle Kit" as opposed to travelling to some exotic location. A bonus diary on the making of the Kong - T Rex fight merits a special nod here, from previz to completion actually includes a sizeable portion of "the vine scene"
Among the many making ofs included on DVDs these days this is by far the best one yet. Leave it to Peter Jackson to set a new standard, yet again simply with his behind the scenes documentation. A must have for anyone interested in film production or merely wanting to learn more about the making of King Kong."
Building a Giant
Matt | NJ | 12/20/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the media journal for the making of one of the most awe-inspiring movies ever made.
The set follows the 6-month production process, with DVDs loaded with footage of the process and interviews, art prints and written memoirs. Suspense is upheld, as not much of the film itself is revealed.
This set is geared toward the collector, but if you're interested in how large-budget movies are made - or if you just love Kong, you'll love this set.