What better way is there to remake a movie that featured groundbreaking special effects than to film a modern update that had its own brand of jaw-dropping technical wizardry? Peter Jackson’s digital entry into the world of King Kong was a globetrotting epic full of great action, interesting characters, and an epic scope rarely seen in modern cinema. But everything else paled in comparison to WETA’s interpretation of the giant ape himself.

Resembling an actual gorilla more than the monstrous rubber model from the ‘30s, this Kong was impeccably detailed and photorealistic, right down to the individual hair follicles and battle-worn scar tissue. No detail was overlooked and you could practically count all of Kong’s teeth and taste his stale monkey breath whenever he let out a bloodcurdling growl.

But beyond the fact that this Kong was the most realistic looking digital ape up until that point, he also showed the most personality. He was a short-tempered, strong, loving, playful character that was more emotionally vulnerable than most of his flesh-and-blood co-stars.