This Week in the Mercury


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

You Will Believe a Chimpanzee Can Methodically Murder You and Your Family

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Wed, Aug 3, 2011 at 1:13 PM

caesar.jpg

Over at the predictably hyperbolic AICN, there's talk of Andy Serkis getting an Oscar nomination for his role as Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which seems, y'know... unlikely, but maybe not impossible. That's got nothing to do with Serkis' performance—he's fantastic in Apes, just as he was as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, and as Kong in King Kong—but it has a lot to do with the fact that people still haven't warmed up to performance capture as a legit form of acting. Thanks to a billion dead-eyed zombies terrifying everyone in entirely too many CG Robert Zemeckis movies, it's easy to confuse the bad stuff—stiff, soulless, unnecessary—with the kind of subtle, effective, imaginative character work that Serkis and Weta Digital have pioneered with projects like Avatar and Apes. The uncanny valley's been crossed, but so far, only by Weta—maybe once more effects houses show they can do it, more people will start thinking of performance capture less as a CG cartoon and more like digital prosthetics.

Until then, though, Serkis is a badass, and he's pretty amazing in Apes. (My review will be up later today, but, yes: It's a Planet of the Apes movie, which means it's goofy and ridiculous, but it's also pretty creepy and cool, and I liked it quite a bit. ANGRY MONKEYS CAUSE ALL SORTS OF TROUBLE IN IT!) This promo piece for the film does a pretty slick job summing up how Serkis and Weta brought the character of Caesar to life, so if you, like me, are caught up in the frenzied debate over digital monkeys that's been gripping the nation, you might wanna check it out.

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