Planet of the Apes still not making a great case for performance capture

After the jump, you can watch a new clip from Rise of the Planet of the Apes (opening August 5th), introduced by Andy Serkis, who plays the guy in the digital monkey suit. Here’s his partial introduction:

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is considered to be the first live-action film to star and be told from the point of view of a sentient animal.”

Bitch, please, we’ve seen Milo and Otis.

“…a character with human-like qualities who can strategize, organize, and ultimately lead a revolution.”

Oh sure, well it’s true once you qualify it to death, but it becomes a lot less impressive. For instance, I am the greatest lover in the world. …A muscular, clown-haired lover who can finish quickly, multi-task, whistle show tunes, and ultimately photoshop cats into pictures on the website NO ONE ELSE CAN MAKE SUCH A BOLD CLAIM!

“Another historic accomplishment for the picture, was its use of visual FX and performance-capture work on practical locations outside a soundstage. Which allowed me as Caesar to interact as never before with the other actors. Here you see him displaying purpose, outrage, and tenderness as he comes to the aid of his friend Charles.”

Yes, let’s watch him display those things. But first, a question: if Andy Serkis is so indispensable as an actor that they would take the time to hire an expensive team of animators to record and recreate his every move, how come they never actually put him in any movies where he’s not wearing a mask (so to speak)? Him, Ron Perlman, and Ray Park are the only guys who’ve managed to get typecast as non-human.

As mildly impressed with the ape’s facial expressions as I am, it all goes away as soon as they try to integrate the digital ape into a fight sequence. It still looks like a character from Madden superimposed onscreen. For all the money and technological advances, it still probably would’ve looked better with a guy in a convincing ape suit. That’s sort of the problem with performance capture, they expect it to do too much.

Also, anyone else annoyed by their depiction of Alzheimer’s disease? I’ve had a few family members with Alzheimer’s, and they tended to confuse people in their lives with friends from 40 years ago, had a hard time keeping acquaintances straight, made cryptic references to some half-remembered past, etc. They didn’t act totally normal and then suddenly forget how to use a fork, or try to wear their shoes like a hat. It’s like that scene in Charlie Bartlett where all the kids are flying like they’re on ecstasy, and then later you find out it was because they had taken Ritalin. Uh… you do realize a significant portion of people in the audience will have actually taken Ritalin, right? I never understand that.