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The World of Kong: A Natural History of Skull Island (King Kong) [Hardcover]

Weta Workshop
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; Pocket Books Hardcover Ed edition (5 Dec 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416505199
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416505198
  • Product Dimensions: 27.9 x 21.8 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 882,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Synopsis

Peter Jackson, Academy-Award winning director of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, brings his sweeping cinematic vision to the iconic story of the gigantic ape-monster captured in the wild and brought back to civilization where he meets his tragic fate. True to the spirit, both of the original story and the classic 1933 RK0 Pictures version, Peter Jackson's eagerly-awaited film will expand on the chapters of the tale which take place on the mysterious, isolated Skull Island - a world that time forgot, lorded over by one of the most extraordinary creatures ever to walk the earth. From fascinating frame-by-frame storyboards to glorious full-colour paintings, this book is a lavish visual tribute to the fabulous movie art which created the world of Skull Island and its fauna and brought them to vivid, stupendous life on the cinema screen.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll believe the island is real 13 Feb 2009
By Parka HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Length: 0:36 Mins
This is a very fascinating book. If it was passed to someone who has never watched the movie, I would have no doubt that the person would believe that Skull island is real.

This book is like a journal written by a discoverer -- think Charles Darwin. The pages are filled with amazing paintings of dinosaurs, animals, creatures, insects and the habitat. And every one of the illustrated are documented. The level of detail and thought behind can be seems from the documentation. There are no pencil sketches, only beautifully coloured paintings.

No where in the book was any reference made to the movie. And that I believe is what gives this book the authentic feel.

There are 6 parts to the book featuring the different sections of the island:

* The crumbling coast and village
* The shrinking lowlands
* The winding swamps and waterways
* The steaming jungle
* The Abyssal Chasms
* The Barren Uplands

Kong only appears right at the end of the book. 9 pages including pictures were devoted to it. Some reviewers claim that it's too little. But this is essentially a book about Skull Island, not about King Kong, who happens to live on Skull Island.

There are more pictures on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  37 reviews
41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a natural history of a lost world 4 Dec 2005
By Double W - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
One problem with lost world stories is authors have always assumed that evolution would suddenly come to a grinding halt 65 million years ago. That's why you get prehistoric plateaus, mysterious islands and underground worlds filled with T. rexes and triceratops resembling their ancient counterparts. I believe it was Greg Bear who first broke this trend in this novel Dinosaur Summer. And I'm glad to see the filmmakers of King Kong have decided to break it as well.

Both science fiction fans and paleontology lovers will enjoy The World of Kong. It is a bestiary and field guide to the wildlife of Skull Island, at times amazing in its detail, documenting even the insects and fish that thrive in the imaginary ecosystem. The folks at the special effects Weta Workshop let their imaginations run wild in this collaborative effort, but kept their beasts mostly grounded in science. In these pages are the descendants of Permian mammal-like reptiles, dinosaurs and even prehistoric terror birds, along with a few new creatures like flying rats (but, alas, no pterosaurs other than one short mention). The book is full of gorgeous color illustrations accompanied by short, concise articles documenting the behavior and evolutionary history of the species described in it.

I would give this work 4 1/2 stars if that were possible because there are some minor problems. There is too much focus on predators, as if everyone at Weta was in a competition to dream up the scariest monster. The authors also play up the "lizardness" of their dinosaurs despite the evolutionary link to birds, giving their V. rex (an evolved T. rex) crocodile-like hide and their "raptors" a snake-like skin. And if you wanted to be priggish about it, an island is far too small an area to support all these large animals, and some of the insects and spiders are far larger than what is physically possible. (A dinosaur-eating spider?!) But these are minor complaints. Creature lovers and fans of fantasy illustration will dig this book.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great art and world design! 5 Dec 2005
By Ivan M - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The World of Kong is a fantastic book that depicts the world beyond what you're going to see in the movie. All of the art is original designs of environments, creatures and their brief "archeological" explanations. They're seemingly a mixture of digital and traditional art. No still shots/photos from the movie or script included.

The "expedition journal" format breaks up the material very well and makes it a fun read. The book cover itself is jungle green with gold text and image of Kong. There is more in depth information of the various creatures that inhabit Skull island from dinosaurs, insects, and aquatic life. Great landscape artwork gives you a solid idea of what Skull Island is

The book may be short of images of Kong (actually, there are several) the people and everything you'll see in the movie, but... that's what the movie is for!
31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite a piece! 26 Nov 2005
By C. Davis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Finally someone did it right! And, no I'm not talking about a remake of King Kong. Rather, someone published a book of movie development art that actually reflects some of the fictional element of the film in a stylish way. Crammed full of gorgeous paintings, this book also features text that gives the reader the impression that he or she is studying the results of some paleo-expedition to Skull Island. Rather than repeat the same old "making-of" quality of other movie art books, this one serves as a nice compliment to the movie.

The only drawback is that most of the book deals with the numerous dinosaurs and giant bugs that inhabit the island and paintings of Kong (our hero, after all) are few and relegated to the last few pages. I personally would have also like to have seen more of the tribal village, but that's nitpicking.

That said, if you're a Kong fan, of all the merchandise that's bound to spew forth from Peter Jackson's remake, this book will by far be the most stylish.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bestiary for the Fauna of Skull Island. 17 Feb 2006
By Skylark Thibedeau - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The Book is a *wink wink* reissue of the scientific discoveries of several expeditions to Skull Island to study the Dinosaurs and other weird creatures that have developed apart from the rest of the world. An Australia from Hell.

Creatures from the Cretaceous somehow survived the Great Extinction Event and have evolved into forms similar to their ancestors. Since many of the creatures resemble those of the Montana Creataceous rather than those of the Gobi, perhaps skull Isle like India drifted with the continents and slow sank into the Indian Ocean rather than crashing into asia to form the Himilayas.

Here we find descendants of T. Rex, Apatosaurus(now renamed again Brontosaurus), Triceratops, and Velosiraptor. Unfortunately the Giant Apes went extinct when Kong died.

The Art in the book is great and reminds me of some of the Art Collections for the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. Much thought was given to how the dinosaurs may have evolved and adapted cut off from the rest of the world.

I especially liked the fish as you could envision many of the species existing in some forgotten tributary of the Congo, the Amazon, or the Mekong.

Overall a great companion to the Peter Jackson film. A better reimaging of the Classic than the late 70's movie which in my opinion was even worse than the King kong vs Godzilla films from Japan.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book for those who love the artistry and detail of the movie 14 Mar 2006
By James L. Nealy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Let me start my review by saying that you shouldn't buy this book if you didn't like the movie, which should be a given. This book is not a behind-the-scenes look at King Kong, nor is it a book on the process of bringing the World of Kong to life, it's more of a fantasy-encyclopeedia for those who loved the movie and would like to explore the world of Kong further. The book does present some impressive artwork, and its a pity that more of the creatures displayed couldn't be in the movie. This book is a must have for fans of Kong.
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