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Warner Home Video presents
Kong: King of Atlantis (2004)

"Kong's prints end here, but this doesn't make sense. It looks like he went into the tar pit."
- Jason Jenkins (Kirby Morrow)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: November 28, 2005

Stars: Kirby Morrow, Scott McNeil, Saffron Henderson, Daphne Goldrick
Other Stars: Paul Dobson, Pauline Newstone
Director: Patrick Archibald

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild cartoon violence)
Run Time: 01h:08m:28s
Release Date: November 22, 2005
UPC: 012569721227
Genre: animation

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
D D-DB+ D-

DVD Review

Elsewhere on these pages I've previously observed, "While the original is a true classic, just about every film since then that has involved Kong in any way, shape or form has been disastrous in one way or another." The latest incarnation (barring the not-quite-yet released Peter Jackson remake) as an animated TV series on Toon Disney hasn't been an exception to that rule. Degrading the concept even further, the folks at BKN (responsible for such gems as Extreme Dinosaurs) have extended their already lame concept further with this direct-to-video spinoff film.

The television series contains numerous references to Kong being king of Atlantis, which are capitalized on in this movie. The basis for that series, which is only briefly recapped here, is that Kong has been cloned using the DNA of young Jason Jenkins (Kirby Morrow). Armed with a cyberlink, Jason can merge with Kong to form a single smarter entity, and when he gets really mad, he can inexplicably become Mega Kong, even larger than before. On Kong Island the big ape is something of a protector, working with the shaman Lua (a ludicrously overenunciating Saffron Henderson) and Jason's pal Tann (Scott McNeil) to foil the nefarious plans of the villain. A bigger scope is afforded here, with a prophecy that Atlantis will re-emerge from the depths and destroy the world, with Kong reinstalled as its king. But Kong immediately falls under the spell of Queen Reptilla (Daphne Goldrick, who in the series voiced Jason's cloning grandmother) and her servant Sycophis (Paul Dobson), threatening all life.

Things start off in promising manner with a ferocious Kong climbing an oddly Bauhaus Empire State Building and hurling the top of the building. Unfortunately, things immediately go downhill. Even if one can get beyond such grotesque distortions of the Kong story as cyberlinks and Mega Kongs and human DNA, the whole story here makes very little sense. It's as if the producers and writers have complete contempt for the intelligence of their audience, mixing science, hoodoo and just plain nonsense in one ridiculous mess. For instance, Atlantis rises upon a solar eclipse. Why? Um, a prophecy says so. The key to sending Atlantis back beneath the waves is turning back a large sundial in Lua's temple. Why? Who knows? Why didn't anyone deal with this ancient sundial before? Who knows? Who cares? Clearly not the writers, who just took an incredibly lazy approach to storytelling.

The package trumpets that four new songs are exclusive to this DVD. It's easy to see why they're not available anywhere else; they're just bland easy listening tunes that will bore any kids that they're inflicted upon. For the most part they just bring what little action there is to a great grinding halt. The animation is minimalist and sloppy (at one point a box is visible containing the character's mouth movement, a weird flashback to Clutch Cargo for the Baby Boom viewer). There are a few interesting character bits, such as Kong's insecurity at knowing that he's not the real Kong but only a copy. There are some cute moments with a bear cub rescued by Kong (a reference to the cave bear of Son of Kong?), and a frightening one when its mother, under Reptilla's control, fiercely threatens the cub. But those moments are overshadowed by such tripe as cybernetically enhanced dinosaurs and mysterious intelligent tentacled tar pits that act as mystic portals.

Rating for Style: D
Rating for Substance: D-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Rationo

Image Transfer Review: Although this is clearly meant for television airing (there are appropriate fadeouts at the commercial stops), and although the package indicates that it's in the original full frame, what's on the disc is actually a matted nonanamorphic widescreen version. I would have thought Warner was beyond offering nonanamorphic widescreen by this point in time, but apparently someone in their animation division never got the memo that this is no longer 1997. The picture displays the consequent softness and aliasing issues one would expect from such a transfer, with additional edge enhancement slapped on to try to make up for the picture's deficiencies. On the positive side, color is vivid and frequently spectacular.

Image Transfer Grade: D


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, French, Spanishyes

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Surround audio track sounds perfectly fine, with plenty of surround information and good deep bass levels. The songs seem rather brighter than the rest of the film but not obtrusively so. It's a quite clean recording, as one would expect for brand new materials.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Music/Song Access with 4 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: This release is fittingly devoid of extra materials that might tempt the unsuspecting. Chaptering is thorough.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

Only for the truly Kong-obsessed and the very easy to please who think cybernetically enhanced T-Rexes are just the greatest idea ever. Warner treats the release with the disdain it deserves, offering a shoddy video transfer and no extras.


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