Previous published by Anna Questerly on starboundlovers.blogspot.com
We don’t get out much, but we did get to see Return to Planet of the Apes last weekend. Great movie! Keep in mind, I’m one of those who always read the book first, and then complains about the movie. Yeah, I know, but I practically live at Dog-Eared Pages bookstore so what do you expect?
Anyway, I didn’t read the book before seeing this movie. I don’t even know if there is a book. What I do know is that I truly enjoyed the film as its own medium, without having to compare it to a book. I guess you could call it a novel experience.
I was amazed at how the ape called Caesar played the main character. His face was so expressive, you knew his thoughts without him saying a word. The scene between he and his son almost had me in tears. How did they do that? These weren’t masks. Masks couldn’t portray emotion so clearly. And I’m almost positive Caesar wasn’t a real ape.
After the movie, my friend Don Gerron, (Don worked on the short film that took first place at this year’s Phoenix Comicon and designs my bookcovers — lucky me!) began to fill me in on some background. They use CGI (computer-generated imagery) animation to create the apes.
Of course, I had no idea what that meant. So Don explained further. The actors have sensors attached to their faces and bodies and then perform their scenes. Their movements are tracked by special software, and then animated for the film.
“Wait, you mean to tell me. That guy produced such meaningful facial expressions with sticky stuff all over his face? Now that’s acting. The only animation I’d ever seen I thought was better, was the scene in Lord of the Rings when Gollum is arguing with himself. I remember being transfixed by that scene.”
Imagine my surprise when Don tells me Caesar and Gollum were played by the same actor; Andy Serkis. I googled Andy, and learned he’d been cast in lots of great movies. This guy is mega-talented. How could I have never heard of him? Granted, I’m not a big movie buff and rarely pay attention to such things. Many of you may already know this, but it was news to me and figured I can’t be the only one in the dark.
According to my friend Don (and IMDB), although Andy Serkis has been critically acclaimed for his performances, he was ruled ineligible for Best Supporting Actor nominations at the Academy Awards because his characters Gollum in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes were computer generated.
What? That’s crazy!
I don’t understand. Can’t the Academy create a new category for CGI (also called Motion Animation) actors? It strikes me that it might take as much talent to do what Andy Serkis does. Seriously, how do you do serious acting with globs of gunk all over you?
It also seems rather obvious that we’ll see more of this type animation in the future. I believe great talent should be recognized and to be ineligible for the highest award in your industry seems quite unfair to me.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this in our comments section. If you think I’m making too much of this, I’ll just go back to my books and enjoy Andy’s work whenever it’s playing. If you agree, maybe we could start a #OscarsForMotionAnimationActors campaign on Twitter.
Empathy begets synergy,