Merian C. Cooper's King Kong
Joe DeVito & Brad Strickland
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Buy *Merian C. Cooper's King Kong* by Joe DeVito & Brad Strickland in unabridged CD audio format online

Merian C. Cooper's King Kong
Joe DeVito & Brad Strickland
narrated by David Baker
Full Cast Audio
6 CDs, 6 1/2 hours
December 2005
rated 4 of 5 possible stars
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With Peter Jackson remaking the film this past winter, other media were sure to follow in producing their own versions of the classic tale King Kong. But of course, few can do it up like Full Cast Audio. To be clear, at no point in this production do we actually hear the booming roar of the behemoth as if we were in the theaters. But the energy and fear still exist through the great cast of this production.

Carl Denham, famous movie director, is shipping out soon to film his next adventure on location on the mysterious Skull Island. However, he is missing a key ingredient: a female lead. But that changes when he finds the unemployed Ann Darrow, a beautiful,somewhat naÔve young woman who agrees to accompany Denham and his crew to star in the movie. Darrow quickly befriends Jack Driscoll, a leader among the crew, as they manage their way across the ocean. Upon landing, Denham and the other must contend with the natives in order to discover what mysteries the island hides.

Of course, most people know the rest, for weíve all seen the movie or one of its remakes. The team scours the island loaded with prehistoric creatures after Darrow has been sacrificed to the mighty Kong. Denham, always thinking with his wallet, decides that they should capture Kong and premiere him live in New York - and that is when the real trouble starts.

Instead of typical chapters, the story is presented in scenes listing dates and locations, almost making this a journal of the events around King Kong instead of just a story. Mostly listeners hear the tale through the eyes of Denham, Darrow, and Driscoll, but toward the end, the point of view turns to Kong as he barrels his way through the strange new land known as New York City. Even in a text-based format, King Kong still balances a decent amount of action with a fair share of developing plot, including the escalating love between Darrow and Driscoll.

The voice talent, to no surprise, certainly adds to this performance. David Baker narrates the exposition with the smooth adeptness befitting any good storyteller. Daniel Bostick plays Jack Driscoll, and Lauren Synger voices Ann Darrow, with Bill Molesky as Carl Denham to round out the main cast. Each actor does fantastically in their role, making the story that much more exciting and well-done. However, the sound editing might need a little tweaking. A few times the speaking parts donít overlap but leave a very minimum distance between each, making conversations feel forced rather than naturally occurring. Natural pauses in a conversation donít seem obvious until one hears a conversation where the silence is abruptly cut off. But this only happens a few times in the story; most of the time the pacing works.

Adventure, love, and the fantastic await those who venture into the land of King Kong. With a great story and a great cast, this production will definitely be among personal favorites this year. Whether it measures up to the movie or not can be left to others to judge, but as an audiobook, it certainly succeeds.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Lance Eaton, 2006

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