So, another project - another adventure. First thing’s first;
I love and adore Peter Jackson’s King Kong. It’s great. It’s suspenseful. It has great moments of danger and even horror. It’s a great film, but not by any strech a masterpiece. What holds it down?
In the DVD of the official movie there are about 15 deleted scenes (these are not featured in the official “Extended Cut”), and all those scenes have great character development. Peter Jackson argues in his introduction of the deleted scenes that they were cut for pacing and because “the important thing is to get to the island”.
My Ideas and Thoughts
I think Peter Jackson’s arguement for pacing and why he deleted so much is a bad one at best, taking into account all the unecessary scenes kept in the theatrical cut that does not focus on the characters. Apart from Ann, Jack, Kong and Denham, all the other characters are food and fodder. Empty space with a few lines of dialogue. Faces to fill the screen and raise a false stake never felt since the beginning or before the end.
And the second problem is that the pacing just feels off. On the ship we jump in-between comedy, drama and unecessary screen time to random characters we never grow to care about way too much. I hardly know what to feel half of the time.
And then there’s the third problem I have to fix, which a techincal one; all the deleted scenes are in stereo, and in a 480p/trying to be 720p format. So when you take my high bitrate 1080p (which is superior to the 4k, but that’s another discussion) and put the deleted scenes next to it it’s like jumping into a distorted video file from the 60’s that wasn’t upscaled properly.
So, I’m upscaling each and every deleted scene (my computer has been sounding like a jetplane for the last 10 hours) to get the scenes into something resembling 720p-1080p, with the greatest focus on the character’s faces. This is after all every deleted scenes’ focal point. I am also creating new ambience and 5.1 surround sound for the scenes, as they only have a stereo input. I am also having to clean and remove some of the stereo to only keep the dialogue, as there is either too much noise or too much music that doesn’t fit the tone or previous scene.
Then, there’s the already overlong and bloated opening of the film. I’ve toned down all the unecessary backstories, keeping in tight on Ann and Denham, and when we get to the ship we depart rather quickly as Ann boards it. Jack trying to escape and all that is gone. Jack and Ann kissing in the first act rather than the last is fixed. Keep their relationship growing rather than reach a climax before the film gets going.
The new scenes and what they add
So, the characters of Heyes, The captain, Denham, Jack and Ann are all developed rather neatly with the footage available. I will recommend everyone YouTube-ing “King Kong 2005 deleted scenes” to see the amount of worthy content I’m actually talking about here.
However, some of the deleted scenes are heavily edited as they either go on to long or undermine something from the film/original cut. My focal point when I edit and add these deleted scenes are emotion and character growth.
What other changes are there?
With the Extended Cut as basis and a huge amount of deleted scenes at my disposal the film will focus more on the heart and the story rather than all the spectacle. I want the worldbuilding to be even better than the beauty it is in the original film, and I don’t want huge CGI battles around every corner. Some of the Extended Scenes are used to build suspense rather than build up to a battle (like the anaconda/water monster in the Extended Cut).
No. Like always, I’m not a fan of changelists. I want people to discover this edit as a new and different way to watch Peter Jackson’s great adventure.
Hopefully christmas time.