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Rupert Wyatt's Rise of the Planet of the Apes not only brought the legendary sci-fi franchise back to the big screen with an amazing story, but also with an absolutely breathtaking way of portraying intelligent primates. Rather than using prosthetic makeup like all of the other movies in the series, the reboot hired Lord of the Rings and King Kong star Andy Serkis and a team of other actors to bring the ape leader Caesar and his followers to life through motion capture, and the results were stunningly realistic and impactful. The upcoming sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, will once again be employing this fascinating technology, and it's so damn impressive that it's actually now at the center of an awesome new split-screen TV spot.
While I'm not quite sure who the actor is playing Blue Eyes, the uncredited actors featured in this spot include Andy Serkis as Caesar, Toby Kebbell as Koba, Larramie Doc Shaw as Ash, Terry Notary (who is also the film's movement choreographer) as Rocket and Karin Konoval as Maurice. While Kebbell and Shaw are newcomers to the franchise, the other three all had roles in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Strangely not featured in the video is Judy Greer as Cornelia, but I'm not entirely sure why. An interesting thing to look out for in their performances is how they have evolved since we saw them in the first movie. Obviously ape culture has advanced a great deal in this world, but I expect that they way they hold themselves will begin to change as well.
Those of you paying attention probably also noticed something very interesting about the backgrounds of each of these scenes: they match. Unlike most motion capture films, which are made in controlled indoor environments called Volumes, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes did almost all of its motion capture work in practical environments. Speaking about this at WonderCon last month, director Matt Reeves called it absolutely absurd because of its difficulty, but he promised that doing it would only increase the realism and the immersiveness of the world. From the look of all the footage we've seen thus far, I'm willing to believe him.
Based on a script worked on by Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Scott Z. Burns and Mark Bomback, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is set years after the end of Rise of the Planet of the Apes and begins with the titular primates beginning to set up their own society in a world where humans have been all but completely eradicated. Joining the movie's motion capture cast and playing the film's humans are Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, and Kodi Smit-McPhee. Look for the film in theaters July 11th.