By Caris Bizzaca
Actors belt out award-worthy performances year round, but a WETA visual effects whiz in Wellington thinks Andy Serkis will blow people away in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
Serkis has wowed audiences over the years with his performance capture roles, playing the psychologically unbalanced Gollum in the Lord of the Rings films, giant simian King Kong and more recently, the uber-intelligent chimp Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
He reprised his role as genetically evolved Caesar in the sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and VFX supervisor Erik Winquist says the result is extraordinary.
"Obviously there are just fantastic performances in films all year long but there's some work in here that's just dynamite and hits you right there," he says, pointing to his chest.
"It's not the kind of performance that you would expect to find in a big action tent-pole kind of film and that's what I think will really draw people in."
Set a decade after the apocalyptic events of the last film, the apes, under Caesar's leadership, have developed a blossoming community in the woods outside San Francisco, but their peaceful existence is threatened by a band of humans (including Gary Oldman) who have survived the devastating simian virus.
Winquist says there are the gigantic explosions and action sequences, but it's the quiet "insanely emotional scenes" that he thinks will really hit home.
As for why Serkis isn't an Oscar-winner yet, Winquist has his own theories.
"It's a really interesting mix of art-forms - taking the dramatic side of things, taking the technology side of things and putting them together," he says.
"Unfortunately that's why maybe he hasn't in the past been recognised the same as just an actor you'd see on screen."
Over the years, Winquist has worked at WETA Digital on the likes of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, King Kong, Avatar, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and now Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
He says Dawn ups the ante in every way.
With the technology leaps, they've gone from having only a dozen or so apes appear in a scene to "a cast of a thousand".
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes releases in New Zealand cinemas on July 9
source: newshub archive