Kong: Skull Island 3D

Featured In Issue 249, April/May 2020

3D Picture5
WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Warner Home Video
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Scenes of intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for ref strong language.
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Jordan Vogt-Roberts
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Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1
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(French Language):
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In "Kong Skull Island," a team of scientists, soldiers and adventurers explore an uncharted island in the Pacific, but their mission of discovery becomes the ultimate battle between man and nature when they venture into the domain of the mighty Kong. (Gary Reber)

Special features include commentary with Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts; five featurettes: "Creating a King" (HD 24:26 ), "Monarch Files 2.0" (HD 07:58 ), "Tom Hiddleston: The Intrepid Traveler" (HD 06:53), "Through The Lens: Brie Larson's Photography" (HD 02:19 ), and "On Location: Vietnam" (HD 05:38 ); five deleted scenes (HD 03:45 ); upfront previews; and a digital copy.

The 2.40:1 1080p MVC 3D picture was digitally photographed with Arri Alexa XT cameras and sourced from a 2K Digital Intermediate master format and reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display. The 3D was a conversion performed by Prime Focus Vancouver and Prime Focus India. The imagery exhibits good resolution and sharpness throughout, whether in realistic settings or CG-dominated sequences, though, the resolution of the 4K UltraHD edition reviewed in Issue 220, October 2017 is significantly better. Detail is evident on uniforms, clothing, natives, facial features, civilian clothing, gadgets and armory, and object texture. Contrast is excellent as well, with deep, solid blacks and revealing shadow delineation. The color palette is colorfully natural in appearance from the environmental settings, to Kong, to the native villagers, to fleshtones. The opening scenes in Washington D.C. project a dated seventies film effect and shift to a stylized opening 1945 World War II island sequence. But when the expedition reaches Kong's island, the colors shift to naturalness. The end sequences return to the stylization of a home movie shot on 16 mm. The 3D rendering is often quite dramatic, especially once at Skull Island. Depth and perspective is impressive. The helicopter scene, as they fly over Skull Island and encounter Kong, is spectacular. Objects fly out of the screen at the viewer, including embers, rock fragments, and seismic charges dropped from the air. The giant spider that approaches from above with legs and webbing that shoot down from overhead is even more threatening with the 3D enhancement. The 3D really enhances the sense of depth, resulting in enhanced realism, especially the wondrous landscapes experienced with vivid depth. As stated in the 4K UltraHD review, this is one of the finest examples of the seamless integration of digital creations set within spectacular location photography and serves as a superb reference-quality picture that will not disappoint. (Gary Reber)

The Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1 soundtrack is terrific, with an exciting dynamic presence throughout. This is one of the few Immersive Sound presentations, which actively use the height channels to enhance the overall holosonic® delivery with effective spherical surround. This includes the often-aggressive extension of the orchestral score and other 7.1 sonics, as well as sound effect objects that burst from above, rain, whirling helicopter blades, gunfire, explosions, monster sounds, and strong ambient sonics.. From the first action scene of an off-screen dogfight between a pair of World War II fighter planes ending in a hand-to-hand fight on the island and the intro of Kong to the helicopter squadron's approach to the island through intense surrounding storms, and the dangers that subsequently follow, this soundtrack delivers excitement. On the island the sonics include jungle noises of all manner, including giant insects and animals. Of course, there is the anticipated thunderous roars of Kong and the eerie sounds of Skull Island's beats that challenge Kong to the death. The orchestral score is nicely recorded with a wide and deep soundstage presence that extends to the surrounds and the height channels. Other music segments consist of classic rock-'n'-roll from the Hollies, Jefferson Airplane, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and David Bowie. Deep bass is aggressively delivered in the .1 LFE channel to sub-25 Hz frequencies, which effectively give weight to the sound effects and animal sounds, as well as an intense explosion. Through all, dialogue is consistently intelligible with good spatial integration. This is a terrific holosonic spherical soundtrack that is reference quality. (Gary Reber)