Kong: Skull Island appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. As befit a modern, big-budget movie, Skull Island looked great.
At all times, sharpness satisfied. Even the widest shots still boasted fine delineation, with nary a sign of softness to be found.
I saw no shimmering or jaggies, and both edge haloes and print flaws remained absent – well, unintentional print flaws, at least, as “archival elements” showed “defects”. Obviously those didn’t count, since they got added to artificially age some clips.
In terms of colors, Skull Island hewed toward an “olive drab” feel. In addition, it threw out other tones like some bold reds, purples and pinks, all of which came across with great vivacity. Add a bit of the usual orange and teal to the mix and we got a well-reproduced color scheme.
Blacks showed nice depth, with a good level of darkness across the board. Low-light shots demonstrated appropriate density and gave us clear, smooth shadows. I felt totally pleased with this terrific presentation.
Even better, the film’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack – downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1 – brought a lot of sonic fireworks to the proceedings. From the opening WWII dogfight scene to helicopters to various creatures to gunfire to Kong himself, the mix packed in all sorts of auditory material.
This meant all the channels played a very active role in the proceedings and meshed together well. The various speakers threw in nearly constant information and created a lively setting, with many rock-em, sock-em moments. These combined to form a simply stellar soundscape.
Audio quality followed suit and lived up to the quality of the soundfield. Music appeared bold and full, with nice range and clarity. Dialogue came across as concise and distinctive as well.
Of course, effects led the way, and those elements showed excellent reproduction. The components appeared accurate and dynamic, with top-notch low-end response as well. This was a totally terrific track.
The package provides both the 2D and 3D versions of Skull Island. The picture comments above reflect the 2D presentation – how did the 3D image compare?
Overall, visual quality seemed very similar. The 3D version took a tiny hit in terms of darkness, and a couple of shots looked slightly softer, but the vast majority of the time, I thought they offered virtually identical material.
As for the stereo imaging, Skull Island added some zing, though I wouldn’t call it a great conversion. At its best, the movie boasted fun elements – mainly related to flying objects – and these gave the image a good kick.
However, I didn’t think this was the most natural 3D conversion. The picture took on a bit of a “Viewmaster” feel at times, so it didn’t seem as real as I’d prefer. Still, I liked a lot of the stereo presentation, so if I watch the movie again, I’ll opt for the 3D version.
With the 2D disc’s extras, we find an audio commentary from director Jordan Vogt-Roberts. He presents a running, screen-specific look at story/character and influences/inspirations, visual design and cinematography, sets and locations, cast and performances, various effects, period details, creature design, and related topics.
Active and involved, Vogt-Roberts provides a solid commentary. He openly acknowledges his many, many influences and even points out plenty of obscure references. Vogt-Roberts touches on a good variety of domains and works through a lively, informative chat.
Some featurettes follow, and these begin with Creating a King. It breaks into two parts: “Realizing an Icon” (11:39) and “Summoning a God” (12:47). Across these, we hear from Vogt-Roberts, producer Alex Garcia, production designer Stefan Dechant, VFX supervisor Jeff White, animation supervisor Scott Benza, model supervisor Lana Lan, creature supervisor Karin Cooper, compositing supervisor Nelson Sepulveda, lead artist Votch Levi, and actors Brie Larson, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Marc Evan Jackson, John C. Reilly, Corey Hawkins, John Goodman, and Jason Mitchell.
“King” examines the “reboot” and story/character choices, creature design and execution and other effects/visual choices. Most of “Icon” seems semi-fluffy, but “God” digs into technical issues well, so it becomes the more satisfying of the two.
After this comes On Location: Vietnam, which runs five minutes, 38 seconds and features Vogt-Roberts, Larson, Garcia, Hiddleston, Mitchell, key location manager Leann Emmert, and actors Eugene Cordero and John Ortiz. As expected, this looks at the Asian part of the shoot. It lacks substance and does little more than tell us how amazing Vietnam is.
The next two programs focus on the actors. Tom Hiddleston: The Intrepid Traveler fills six minutes, 53 seconds with details from Hiddleston, Larson, and Hawkins. “Traveler” acts as a bit of a “video journey” that follows Hiddleston to different locations. A few decent glimpses appear along the way, but don’t expect much from the program.
Through the Lens: Brie Larson’s Photography lasts two minutes, 19 seconds and features Vogt-Roberts. “Lens” offers a look at the stills Larson took during the shoot, and it offers a short but intriguing view of this topic – who knew Larson actually used the camera given to her character?
During the seven-minute, 58-second Monarch Files 2.0, we get faux “archival” clips that discuss aspects of the movie’s creatures and locations. These feel like promotional bits you’d see on the Internet – they’re more fun as a teaser for the film than anything else.
Four Deleted Scenes occupy a total of three minutes, 45 seconds. In these, we get short bits that offer minor character beats. None of them seem memorable.
The disc opens with ads for Geostorm and the Skull Island: The Birth of Kong graphic novel. No trailer for Skull Island appears here.
A semi-reboot of the long-established franchise, Kong: Skull Island fails to ignite. Despite many positive attributes, the film lacks the emotion and humanity to become more than empty calories. The Blu-ray boasts excellent picture and audio as well as a pretty positive package of supplements. Skull Island occasionally entertains but it works less well than I’d hope.
To rate this film, visit the original review of KONG: SKULL ISLAND