KONG: Return To The Jungle
Studio: Image Entertainment
Television Broadcast Year: 2006
US DVD Release Date: October 13, 2009
Rated: Not Rated
Running Time: 79 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 full screen
Audio: Dolby Digital Surround 2.0 (English, Spanish)
Movie: 2 out of 5
Originally airing on FOX network affiliates as part of their Saturday morning FOX KIDS lineup, KONG: The Animated Series found a new fan base when cable and satellite channel ToonDisney (now Disney XD) began broadcasting all 40 episodes of the series in 2005 to capitalize on the buzz surrounding Peter Jackson's big budget live-action remake of the Merian C. Cooper classic.
KONG: Return To The Jungle picks up where the series left off. Jason and Tam are visiting New York City to restock supplies for the island and attend a press conference by the mayor and Hunter Stag, who announces the opening of an exotic zoo. Shortly after Jason and Tam return to the island, Stag ambushes the island with his team of cyber soldiers (looking like Star Wars Stormtroopers on steroids), capturing the prehistoric animals, including Kong, for his exotic zoo. But the zoo is not Stag's endgame. He wants to release the animals and allow them to run free in New York as part of a big game hunt and take all the glory for saving the city. The movie contains some pathetic music montages set to some really bad (original) rock songs to pad the running time, and the writers have very little sense of New York geography (Kong, Jason, Tam, and Lua take refuge in the Superdome at one point).
The CG animation on KONG: Return To The Jungle falls somewhere between the animatics used during pre-production on feature films in place of storyboards, CG feature film animation (such as Dreamworks or Pixar) prior to final rendering, PlayStation 2 video game animation, and Charles Schwab commercials. I have seen better CG animation currently on the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, even NBC's Saturday morning Qubo lineup.
Video: 2 out of 5
KONG: Return To The Jungle appears to have been composed for 1.78:1, but is presented in a cropped 1.33:1 transfer. Characters are frequently cut off on the sides of the image, and some nauseating panning and scanning is evident. Like the series, colors are well-saturated without bleeding and detail is quite good (considering the limited animation). Noise is minimal, but compression artifacts are abundantly obvious, particularly in backgrounds and scenes involving smoke or fog.
Audio: 3 out of 5
The Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, encoded at 224 kbps with the ProLogic surround flag, is what you would expect for a series aimed at pre-teen boys. While dialogue is intelligible, this is often a fairly loud mix with good surround presence but minimal discrete effects.
Special Features: 0 out of 5
There are no special features whatsoever.
Overall: 2 out of 5