Top 10 Best Motion Capture Performances

Marie Skillern| November 11, 2014

Who would not forget the memorable and epic performance of actor Andy Serkis who brought one of The Lord of the Rings and The Planet of the Apes into an unforgettable character?

Andy Serkis Motion
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The dawn of the 20th century brought about many technological leaps in the movie industry. One of them is the motion capture technology. Gone are the days where actors have to get inside a hot costume or even had to endure hours and layers of makeup.

With motion capture, this ongoing trend just goes to show that acting not does not necessarily mean you have to look pretty in front of a camera. This trend is now known as “cyber-thespianism.”

Here are the top 10 Best motion capture performances on the screen.

1.) Alan Tudyk (Sonny- I, Robot)

Alan Tudyk Motion
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It was Tudyk, nicknamed The Firefly, who gave life to the mechanical servant Sonny in the famous Isaac Asimov adaptation. His performance gave this seemingly mechanical being the kind of soul and level of emotion that is quite unique in the nature of the film.

2.) Bill Nighy (Davy Jones- Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End)

Bill Nighy Motion
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Davy Jones is another character that gets into this list. This part pirate and part cthulhu is the captain of the infamous mythical ghost ship called The Flying Dutchman. It was not surprising that many of the viewers thought that the actor was in full makeup for the role due to its highly CGI feature. What made this very convincing is the fact that the actor was on the actual set while wearing the markers on his face and body instead of doing it in the studio.

3.) Benedict Cumberbatch (Smaug- The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug)

Benedict Cumberbatch Motion
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Who knew that the scary dragon that is terrorizing the screens in the second Hobbit movie was played by none other than a human being? Peter Jackson wanted to get a realistic approach to the character and casted the British actor who gave such an astounding performance.

4.) Ray Winstone (Beowulf- Beowulf)

Ray Winstone Motion
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Here’s another twist to the old Anglo Saxon poem about his beloved hero. Director Robert Zemeckis’s practically nailed it when much of his movies had very interesting motions captures. Anyone remember Angelina Jolie rising from the water?

5.) Billy Crudup (Doctor Manhattan- Watchmen)

Billy Crudup Motion
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Who would not remember the tragic turn of events for Doctor Manhattan in The Watchmen? Crudup’s performance of a frightening and heartbreaking approach to this brilliant scientist is simply breathtaking.

6.) Zoe Saldana (Neytiri- Avatar)

Zoe Saldana Motion
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One of the most memorable performances that made this epic blockbuster even more amazing is Saldana’s performance. The ultimate climax of the movie was when Neytiri finally sees the real Jake Sully in human form and touched him. Her performance broke boundaries that proved the Na’vis are not computer generated, to the movies anyway.

7.) Seth Rogen (Paul- Paul)

Seth Rogen Motion
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Here’s motion capture for you with a funny twist. If you think Aliens from outer space are scary, think again. Meet Paul the alien who just might give you another taste of what outer space beings are like. This movie gave way to CGI driven comedies like Ted.

8.) Mark Ruffalo (Hulk- The Avengers)

Mark Ruffalo Motion
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We have seen numerous changes and reboots to this particular Marvel superhero. From Ang Lee to the more recent Mark Ruffalo, we see many interpretations of the Incredible Hulk. It was Joss Whedon’s version of a Hulk that finally gave balance to the hero ad uncontrolled anger that Hulk finally caught the hearts of the fans. Their strong emphasis on Hulk’s humanity over pathos finally gave this character to life.

9.)  Willem Dafoe (Tars Tarkas- John Carter)

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Despite the film’s not so successful run at the box office, John Carter has boasted some great performances such as Willem Dafoe’s motion capture performance for the steadfast warrior Tars Tarkas. Dafoe not only delivered great acting but also had to do wear the motion capture device on set just like Bill Nighy.

10.) Andy Serkis (Gollum- The Lord of the Rings Franchise, Ceasar- The Plane of the Apes)

Andy Serkis
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This is the man who is dubbed as the uncontested master of Motion Capture acting. It was hi monumental performance as Gollum that cemented him and the whole Motion Capture technology as a Hollywood status.

Check out how Motion Capture is done!

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