Our new Blu-ray column begins today! Detailed reviews of selected releases will continue to be published separately; our goal here is to provide a quick overview for seasoned Blu-ray owners as well as the not yet converted.
For Blu-ray Vets:
'King Kong' (1933)
The grandfather of giant ape movies arrives on Blu-ray.
New Features: None. However, almost everything from the two-disk DVD release in 2005 has been included and up-converted to high-def. Only the Merian C. Cooper trailer collection is missing.
Transfer: Early reviews differ in their interpretation of the quality. Moviefone's Harley W. Lond says: "The qualitative jump is not nearly as impressive as several recent, more modern films' transformations into high-def," while DVD Savant's Glenn Erickson observes: "For me the improvement is immediate and obvious. The increased detail brings back memories of theatrical showings in 35mm, where we'd sit there watching with our mouths hanging open."
Replay Value: In its economy of storytelling, 'King Kong' is a model for modern filmmakers. Of course certain elements are badly dated! Ignore that and allow yourself to get caught up in the sheer, timeless terror of Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) and the fluid grace of Willis O'Brien's stop-motion animation, which holds up better than CGI of more recent vintage.
Also consider: 'Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence.'