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LexiKong

The ultimate A-to-Z guide to ''King Kong'': Everything you need to know about Peter Jackson's ape-meets-girl epic

Image credit: King Kong: Weta Digital Ltd.

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven't seen Kong yet, proceed with caution!

A ALPHA MALE
Back in June, Universal unveiled the CG visage of the giant gorilla in Peter Jackson's megabudget King Kong. (In the 1933 original, the outsize simian was played mainly by herky-jerky stop-motion puppets, and a 1976 version relied mostly on makeup artist Rick Baker running around in an ape suit.) But early footage didn't fully reveal what a cheeky, realistically savage beast Jackson's 24-foot-tall Kong is. Modeled closely on actual silverback gorillas — though real silverbacks only grow to six feet and don't walk upright — the new Kong is the latest example of the high-tech cinematic trick ''motion capture.'' Wearing a reflective-marker-festooned bodysuit, actor Andy Serkis modeled movements for Kong (as he did for Gollum in Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies), which were then translated into a computer-graphics model and fine-tuned by animators. Chief goal: Keep Kong unsentimental and unpredictable. ''We didn't want to anthropomorphize him to the point where we were explaining every single little gesture,'' says Serkis, who also plays ship's cook Lumpy in the film. ''Gorillas both in captivity and in the wild have an enigmatic quality — a sense of disconnect, of otherness.''

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