The trailer for King Kong...

...released today on the Internet. If you are so blessed with a Mac with the proper muscle, you can also watch it in high-def which is just sexy as all get out. Looking at in HD, the Kong and the dinosaurs still looks artificial, to me, in texture. It's stunning animation, but it doesn't look photo-realistic.
That doesn't bother me quite as much since the first two King Kong movies (the stop-motion original and the Jeff Bridges/Jessica Lange cover) both had a realistic looking Kong, both in their own ways. I have yet to see a digitally animated character that I really believed was there--it's a chasm that SFX folks have yet to cross, though it certainly doesn't mean that movies with heavy doses of digital landscapes and characters can't be
That challenge demonstrates that working with physical models and robotics still can achieve a realism that animation cannot match yet. The dinosaurs in Jurassic Park remain a gold standard for real-looking dinos, mostly because Spielberg used massive robotic dinosaurs for much of the shoot. Spielberg is hands-down the best director at making the unreal look real, at blending the artificial seamlessly into the real.
The 1976 King Kong holds a special spot in my heart because it was one of the first movies my parents took me to see. I was just three at the time, but when they shot King Kong and toppled him from the building, I cried. That will be the test of the realism of the newest 7-story gorilla to play this role: how badly will we feel when the biplanes blast him off of the Empire State Building?
Footnote: Peter Jackson's Production Diaries will ship on DVD the day before King Kong releases in theaters. If you've been following, you need not purchase this DVD. Still, this seems like a first, the release of the making-of-featurette on DVD before the actual movie has made it into theaters, and this is no 10 minute short. The production diaries spans two DVDs by themselves.