Sunday, July 27, 2014

Best Actor: Andy Serkis for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

In Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) the skillful agility and facial expressions of Andy Serkis, rendered by means of motion-capture CGI, brought the character of Caesar alive in a re-imagining of the Apes saga.

In this year’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Serkis continues to prove his talent for what is mostly silent acting, further developing the character of Caesar through expressive body language and subtle facial inflections.

At this point in the year, Serkis is my nominee for Best Actor, 2014. The new Apes film is not as taut or compelling as the first installment. Its first half is the better half as it establishes the visuals and atmosphere of the Apes’ colony in Muir Woods. The image of apes riding horses is an immediate reference to Planet of the Apes (1968), and I enjoyed visual touches like that. The film’s latter half, however, subsides into a clichéd battle between apes and men and comes to a climax with a combat between Caesar and his rival, Koba, that reminds you of every last boring fistfight between a long list of boring superheroes and their boring foes. Nevertheless, throughout the film, Serkis as Caesar is a compelling driving force.

For the inevitable sequel, I would like to see the dawn of a lot more imagination as the filmmakers re-imagine what comes next.

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