Entertainment Weekly has published a piece on the upcoming Dawn of the Planet of the Apes without once mentioning the terms ‘animation,’ ‘motion capture,’ or ‘performance capture.’ Though not a bastion of film criticism, Entertainment Weekly remains an important barometer for mainstream entertainment reporting, and it’s extremely disappointing that they’ve allowed Andy Serkis to co-opt the animation narrative for his own ends.
Here’s how EW explained the animation process (or ‘work’ as Serkis calls it) in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes:
Rather than going for flesh-and-blood primates, the filmmakers once again opted for zeroes and ones. The digital makeup is being sculpted in three-dimensions by the wizards of Weta Digital and overlaid onto performances by Velcro/spandex-suited actors like Andy Serkis and Toby Kebbell. “I’ve seen an entire cut of the movie without any special effects whatsoever,” says Serkis, who once again plays the apes’ leader, Caesar. “It’s amazing to watch as Weta’s work comes in and we’re transformed.”
With Dawn of the Planet of the Apes still a couple of months out, the hype machine is already well under way to obfuscate the role of the animators who played a key part in making the film. It’s going to be a long summer.