Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Sounds like...KONG!

I haven’t yet seen the Peter Jackson version of KING KONG, but I hope to get a chance on DVD one of these days. I’ve always loved the original and even saw the 1976 version Jeff Bridges and Jessica Lange. As a kid, even watching it on a small b&w 15 inch screen in my bedroom, the original film kept me captivated. I always felt such sympathy for Kong, which I think was the intent of the filmmakers.

The new Jackson film has inspired a number of books to be written (officially and otherwise) about the various films and for Blackstone Audiobooks to come out with a special unabridged reading of the 1932 novelization of the film. Written by Delos W. Lovelace and based on the script by Edgar Wallace & Merian C. Cooper the book expands a bit on the film actually giving us a bit of background on some the major characters, especially Ann (played famously by Faye Wray in the original).

Read by award winning narrator Stefan Rudnicki, the audiobook brings the book to life and you can visualize the scenes in your mind as you listen. Rudnicki, who I’ve heard on other audio adaptations, captures the ‘voices’ of the dozens of characters convincingly enough so that you’ll instantly recognize them throughout. If you're a fan of Jack Black, you might not like how his character, Carl Denham, comes across in the novel. A tad more P.T. Barnum, mixed with uncaring business man (perhaps not a inaccurate mix at that) than likeable showman. Also, the Kong in the book is closer to the savageand brutal beast we remember from the early film.

An added bonus is that following the adaptation you’ll hear interviews with such folks as Ray Harryhausen, Larry Niven, Ray Bradbury and Harlan Ellison each of them speaking about the influence (positive & negative) the film has had on them and the American public since its release. Highly recommended for Kong fans or lovers of good audio.
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