Mo Money, Mo-Cap: 8 Motion Capture Performances I Want to See

By Aaron Russell


Motion capture is awesome. What is motion capture? It’s the process of recording a person’s movements and feeding them to expensive computers to recreate digitally on screen. And it’s everywhere now.

Perhaps you remember that small independent film called Avatar, a James Cameron joint. Besides making all the money, it will always be lauded for bring Papyrus font to the mainstream and not just for that holistic bong shop down the road. But secondly, for showing us almost the entire cast of a movie can be motion capture and still make all the money. What happened next? The comic book movie genre blew up, now that studios realized they could put any character on screen they wanted.


They forgot to ask if they should.

Before Avatar, most summer blockbusters could usually only afford one or two of these types of performances. Think Andy Serkis’ Gollum in Lord of the Rings or Ahmed Best’s Jar Jar Binks in The Phantom Penis. But in today’s bloated budget paradise, half or more actors could be motion capture performances, like the recent Planet of the Apes trilogy or the newest TMNT movies. It’s not an exact science yet. Depending on which VFX company the studio goes with or the amount of time they give them, the uncanny valley (fakey looking) still looms large in a lot of movies (see Balls McChin above).

But the technology is only going to get better and better. Hell, they can even exhume corpses now, like Grand Moff Tarkin making his triumphant return from six feet under to star in Rogue One, a Star Wars joint.



Sure, Peter Cushing is probably snapping in half in his grave right now, but there’s no going back. They can bring to life any character their little hearts and minds want. It’s an exciting time in cinema right now. Thanos may be awesome, but rather than waste money on more Penis Headed Ninja Turtles, I have some requests I’d like to see filled first.

I made a list of comic book characters I’ve been dying to see rendered on the big screen and the actors I think would be perfect for the roles. Hollywood Execs, you should take notes. Fax someone. Blow up some pagers. Crash a pajama jam. Let’s get it started in here.


8) Gleek


Played by Tom Cruise

Super Friends fans, like myself, have been anxiously waiting for the Wonder Twins to make their glorious introduction into the DCEU, but that might jolt lovers of the dark and gritty Snyderverse.  Joss Whedon took a good first step getting us there with the lighthearted romp, Justice League. Maybe the next step would be introducing the twin’s loveable sidekick, Gleek. He could be their herald, come to Earth from Vulcan (I pretty sure the Wonder Twins are from Vulcan) to let the JL know that shit’s about to get activated. This could be the defining role in Cruise’s career. They have a lot in common. They love bananas, they run away a lot, and they believe in alien overlords.


7) Howard the Duck


Played by Steve Buchemi

I know he already had a couple of cameos in Guardians of the Galaxy, voiced by Seth Green, but this wisecracker needs to be a full-fledged Avenger or something. Seth is cool, and he’s definitely in my top twenty list to play Howard, but Buchemi tops that list for me, with Gilbert Gottfried (well versed in duck work) a close second. Steve has the perfect smarm and voice for the mallard with an attitude. He could also bring a raunchy element that’s missing from the team, now that Tony is getting older and settling down.


6) She-Hulk


Two words: Meryl Fucking Streep

Hollywood’s greatest actor, Robert Redford, has already jumped on the Marvel train. Why not Hollywood’s greatest actress? But let’s not make her some throwaway HYDRA stooge. She deserves something meatier. And like He-Hulk, She-Hulk has a whole range to tackle. She’s a successful attorney, intelligent, caring, and a rage monster sometimes. So, if you’re listening, Marvel, get the ball rolling already. And if the Academy is listening, start dusting off that award.


5) Redwing


Played by Amy Schumer

I’m not positive, but I think the robot Redwing sacrificed itself in Civil War when it head-butted Iron Man. That leaves a perfect opening to introduce Falcon’s original little buddy. In the comics, Dr. Strange casts some spell that telepathically links the two birds. Now that Strange is in the house, we can do this thing. I can’t wait for Falcon to ask Redwing to circle the perimeter and keep watch and she quips back something about her cloaca.


4) Storm


Played by Nic Cage

I’m not sure if we’ll ever get to see Storm, Aquaman’s trusty steed, but there’s only one man with the gravitas to play him. Nic Cage, of Tim Burton’s Superman Lives fame, is no stranger to the comic book realm. He’s played Ghost Transporter in a couple of movies, and he’s been obsessed with Superman for a long time. He even named his daughter Zod Cage*citation needed*. So getting work in the new DCEU would be a dream come true for him. He may even share a brief scene with Superman sometime, at which point he’d be Nic Caging in his pants. But, if you’re feeling bad for him, don’t worry. He’s going to fulfill his dream this summer when he plays the man of steel for a few minutes in the Teen Titans Go movie.


3) Ace the Bat-Hound


Played by Andy Serkis

Ol’ Bats has had his ups and downs lately. He went from mass murderer to bumbling “too old for this shit” in just three years. What he needs is some humanizing. A dog can do that. And who should play Ace? None other than the master motion capture actor himself, Andy Serkis. Just imagine Batman is in a dark alley taking down a gang of thugs, when one of them starts to sneak up behind him with a chainsaw. When out of nowhere, Ace jumps from the shadows and latches onto his wrist, severs his radial artery and causes him to drop the chainsaw which lands on his foot, removing toes and cutting the arcuate artery in half. And as Batman finishes off the last of the baddies, he turns around to see Ace standing above the yellowbelly undulating in a pool of his own blood and says, “Good boy.” Fade to black. A collective “Awwww” echoes throughout the theatre.


2) Godzilla


Played by Godzilla

Godzilla has been playing Godzilla since 1954.Give the guy a chance. From the moment when I was a small child and first saw this actor, I knew Godzilla was one of the greats. He never disappointed as the consummate action star. And I know he’s getting up there, but he still gets work in Japan. As usual though, America whitewashes everything, and they hired Seth Rogen instead.


1) Lex Luthor


Played by Bryan Cranston

Now everyone’s happy.


Be happy with Aaron on Twitter. He also has a website devoted to his Photoshop hilarity.

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