The king of the apes has returned to theaters in "Kong: Skull Island," and the definitive home release of the titular beast's last big-screen adventure is now available for a beauty of a deal.
The so-called ultimate edition of director Peter Jackson's 2005 "King Kong" was released last month in a combination Blu-ray, DVD and digital HD package for a retail price of $14.96. In addition to three formats, you also get two cuts of the film (Jackson was not content with the 187 minutes afforded him by the theatrical version) and 13 hours of bonus content.
If you are familiar with Jackson's home video presentations of the extended versions of his "Lord of the Rings" and "Hobbit" films, then you know his behind-the-scenes features are often as interesting and awe-inspiring as his widescreen epics.
This package's extras include an eight-part documentary from the original 2006 home release, as well as four hours of "Production Diaries" chronicling the film's New Zealand shoot. Oh, and then another 2½ hours of "Post-Production Diaries," deleted scenes, and even more in-depth looks at the visual effects.
No, Peter Jackson does nothing on a small scale.
Whether you love the film or not -- and I still do, Kong-sized flaws and all, thanks mostly to Naomi Watts' incredible, physical performance -- $15 is a small price to pay for what amounts to a 13-hour film school. Like Ridley Scott ("Gladiator," "Aliens"), Peter Jackson loves sharing every step of the film-making process with his audience, and he's an engaging teacher.
Don't forget the original
The 1933 classic that introduced Kong to the world has a jam-packed Blu-ray release as well, for the same retail price. Labeled the "Monster Mayhem" edition, this release of the original "King Kong" includes more documentaries, as well as a commentary track featuring visual effects artists such as Ray Harryhausen ("Jason and the Argonauts") and Ken Ralston ("Star Wars") who were influenced by the film's groundbreaking stop-motion animation.