Even at nearly 80 years old, King Kong (1933) holds up amazingly well. The film delivers a thrilling adventure filled with special effects by legendary pioneer Willis O'Brien and his team that still stand the test of time, even in high definition.
After finding a leading lady, Ann Darrow (Fay Wray), producer/director Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) leads a boat out to Skull Island to shoot his next adventure picture. The island natives kidnap Ann and offer her up for sacrifice to the giant ape Kong. Denham and the ship's crew go after them but find the jungles a very dangerous place as dinosaurs still roam the island. Although some men are lost, Ann is rescued. Kong pursues them but is knocked out by gas. Denham the showman sees a great opportunity and takes Kong to New York City. While on display at a theater, the beast breaks free of his chains and runs loose in the city.
Even with a story and characters that are rather simple, King Kong is an absolute classic. The special effects do a fantastic job bringing the creatures to life, and the brilliant interactions with humans created with Hollywood magic help foster their believability.
The video has been a 1080p/VC-1 encoded transfer at an aspect ratio of 1.37:1. The gray scale is render fairly well and there are very good detail and textures. There are some issues though. The print shows signs of damage and wear. At 49 minutes, the image warps as if film shifted in printing process. Scenes exhibit softness, and there are a lot of out-of-focus backgrounds. Grain is heavy and it becomes problematic when the fog kicks in as the ship approaches Skull Island. Kong looks believable and shows great details on his face in close-ups, but the some of the composite effects reveal themselves in high def.