Top five motion captured performances
With Rise of the Planet of the Apes opening in UK cinemas this week, I thought I’d take a look at five of the best motion-captured performances that have come our way since the technology’s inception. Feel free to agree or disagree in the comments below.
5. Dr Manhattan
He’s blue, he glows and he’s naked. He also happens to be the most powerful being in the universe. A combination of motion capture and CG head replacement (the body belonging to fitness model and actor Greg Plitt), Billy Crudup’s detached performance was enhanced by the visual effects and not sullied by it.
Perhaps the first real evidence that motion capture could be executed and executed well. The final effect incorporated the performance of Serkis with animators inserting/adjusting footage where necessary. It’s a remarkable feat in visual effects that they created a character that emoted and had a personality of its own.
3. King Kong
A massive leap in motion capture from visual effects production house Weta and Peter Jackson, perhaps even more impressive than their attempts with Gollum. After the 1933 stop motion effects and 1975’s animatronics + man-in-a-suit, Kong found a look that suited him for a modern audience. Like Gollum, Serkis was the actor powering the CG creation, giving a performance full of rage but also solemn in other moments. Serkis’ and Weta’s work sold audiences on the romance between Kong and Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts).
2. Davy Jones
Quite possibly my favourite performance on the list (and they are all very, very good in that respect) but Bill Nighy’s captain of the dammed nudges it by being despicably evil and having a scott-ush accent. So good you could have mistaken it for makeup, Davy Jones was as close to photorealism a squid-faced, crustacean-pawed character could be.
A fantastic showcase for what motion capture can do when it’s utilised well, believably turning a 5ft 7in Zoe Zaldana into a 9ft + tall blue humanoid with a tail. An emotional and physical performance, Saldana’s Neytiri didn’t receive any love from award organisations but it opened doors, if not fully then partially, for the acceptance of a motion-captured performance in the minds of audiences around the world.
Posted on 12/08/2011, in Lists and tagged Andy Serkis, Avatar, Bill Nighy, Billy Crudup, Davy Jones, Gollum, King Kong, Peter Jackson, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Watchmen, Weta, Zoe Saldana. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.