How Human Actors Transformed Into Apes In The New 'Planet Of The Apes' Movie

It's more than just CGI.

Cover image via 20th Century Fox

With a score of 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, 'War for the Planet of the Apes' has already been hailed as "a true sci-fi masterpiece" by critics, with some putting it on par with the 'Star Wars' and 'Lord of the Rings' trilogies

The third instalment of the rebooted 'Planet of the Apes' franchise has received praise for its impressive visual effects, cinematography, and powerful narrative, with critics agreeing that it concluded the trilogy "on a powerful - an truly blockbuster - note".

Quartz even posited that the third entry of the rebooted franchise could be "the greatest ending of a film trilogy ever".

One of the trilogy's standouts has got to be its groundbreaking visual effects, most markedly in the uber realistic rendering of its ape characters

Most of the apes were created digitally through performance capture, commonly referred to as motion capture, where actors wear a grey suit with active markers to enable the visual effects team to capture their movements and facial expressions to make CGI characters look complex and realistic.

During production for 2011's 'Rise...', Oscar-winning digital effects company Weta Digital ('Lord of the Rings', 'The Jungle Book') even developed a motion capture technique to enable shooting on an exterior location instead of confining production to a studio/sound stage. The tech was also utilised for the 2014 sequel 'Dawn...' and 'War...'.

Undoubtedly, the CGI characters owe a lot of their lifelike characteristics and emotional nuances to the actors who play them

The most notable of them all has got to be Andy Serkis (above), who brilliantly embodied the hyperintelligent chimpanzee and leader of the apes, Caesar.

Serkis has probably played the most leading roles in a mo-cap suit as compared to any other actor, having brought to life characters that actually felt alive next to their human actors such as Gollum/Smeagol in the 'Lord of the Rings' movies and Kong in 2005's 'King Kong'.

FUN FACT: Benedict Cumberbatch and Mark Ruffalo worked with Serkis when both actors had to perform as Smaug ('The Hobbit' movies) and the Hulk ('Avengers') respectively. He also served as a performance capture consultant for Coldplay's 'Adventure of a Lifetime' music video.

On that note, check out how Serkis and the other actors' incredible transformation into the most realistic CGI apes we've ever seen:

The apes take their last stand against humankind in 'War For The Planet of the Apes' on 13 July 2017. Watch the trailer:

Witness the end. Watch the final trailer for War for the Planet of the Apes, in cinemas 13 July. #PlanetOfTheApes

Posted by 20th Century Fox on Saturday, 20 May 2017

Have you always been a fan of the 'Planet of the Apes' franchise? There's an Easter egg in the upcoming movie for ya:

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