King Kong('76) Import HD DVD mini review


Senior HTF Member
Jul 19, 2002
First off, the film has a very consistent and apparent grain structure to it. It is inherent in the film.
It is most noticeable in the early ship scenes.
Also colors seem a bit light, and blacks aren't deep and inky. It has a look that is consistent with most 70s product though.
I noticed maybe a dozen split second instances of "issues", though I'm not sure how many of these are related to the disc itself versus the processing of the Pearl. Things like a slight judder in movement or a pan, artifacting, slurring of detail, etc.
It is not as 'perfect' as the average Warner HD DVD in terms of compression or encoding, but it is close.

That said, this disc represents one of the more impressive upgrades over a standard def version that I've seen so far.
I'm talking leaps and bounds in some instances. In comparing the French HD DVD to the R1 sd DVD, several things become apparent- The grain displayed in the HD DVD is natural and IS film grain. In the R1 sd, it looks to have been DVNR'd or filtered out for the most part, with softens all the fine detail. A bit of ringing and haloing were then addded- and while they aren't as extreme as many discs, they have a wonky effect in many scenes that make the end result look a little like compression artifacting (check out the shot of the ship at sunset after the crew return from encountering the natives). In fact, thats what i always assumed it was. I'd say I was totally wrong on that now.
Another difference between the R1 sd and the HD DVD is the print. For some reason, even though the Studio-Canal HD still has the Paramount tag at the begining, the print is better. In fact, it looks almost brand new. It also looks to be timed a lot warmer. Faces and many shots on the ship early on seem to have a warmer, golden cast to them. On the other hand, ships uniforms still read as a pure white, so I can only assume that the look here is not far off from what it should be, if at all.
Because there is no filtering, or over hyping of the contrast levels, fine detail competes with grain, but still comes thru very well. Skin and clothing textures are discernable even in medium shots, and long shots are kicked up even higher. The rendering of the matte painting of the wall in one shot comes across as an almost night vs day difference with the sd DVD.

I'll leave the audio for someone else to judge as I've made some changes to the room which have impacted this. I also don't have my sub hooked up at the moment.

In general-at least visually- there is no area where the import HD DVD is not a major upgrade over the R1 sd DVD. As a fan of the film, I'm ecstatic with this release.

the studio trailer at the begining of the disc has scenes from upcoming releases, no dialouge or voice over- just scenes scored to several different pieces of music (think of compilations you see on the Academy Awards). This is by far, the best disc promo I've seen yet, and if Warner were smart they would stop using their current one and do something like this for next years releases. All the clips look fantastic, and unfortunately it now looks like I'm going to be tempted to buy Terminator 2 yet again (hopefully for the last time). Elephant Man looked absolutely sensational, and Serpico and Three Days Of The Condor both look to be another big improvment over the Paramount R1 dvd. Great News for film fans- bad news for their bank balances.

one last thing- The first thing that pops up when you insert the disc is the language menu with English the default selection. click it, and even the menu selections are in English. I'm impressed, as France has been one of the worst regions for being English friendly.

I will definitely be ordering more Studio-Canal product in the future, and service from Xploited was excellant.

Larry Sutliff

Senior HTF Member
Jun 17, 2000
Thanks for the review, Paul. I've been thinking of getting the '76 KONG HD DVD, and I think your post sealed the deal.

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