I saw this poll on Comingsoon.net last week: What do you think of performance-capture movies such as The Polar Express and Monster House?
I chose the last option, something which was to the effect of saying IT SUCKS BIG TIME.
Now don't get me wrong, I thought Monster House was pretty cool, and Polar Express was an interesting experience. Even Beowulf was interesting, actually. As movies, they were entertaining enough. But let's say they were live-action movies instead of the 'performance-capture animations' that they were... would you have gone to watch it? Polar Express would have been just another effects-laden Xmas movie, while Monster House would have had to resort to Transformer-like CGI to bring out the horror in that house.
Oh sure, it's a good idea. In the quest for perfection, what better way to capture human movement and emotions through animation than having the actors themselves act out the movements and recording the movement, and then colouring over them? It's the natural progression, the evolution of animation, some might say.
For me, I just get creep out by that kind somewhat photo-realistic 'animation' just creeps me out. Not only do the characters look eeriely fake and even ghostly, they even move funnily, like mannequins come to life.
Frankly, if not for the novelty of the whole concept, there was really nothing very remarkable about the Polar Express or Monster House, really. Heck, stylised animated humans like The Incredibles seemed more... human than the photo-realistic ones in those two movies.
And like the review on Beowulf in The Star on Saturday states (one of the first times I've agreed with this particular reviewer): "Why pay top dollar for good actors, only to nullify their performances by digitising them using a complicated and probably expensive method?"
The technique worked damn well for characters like Gollum and King Kong, because motion capture was used to make NON-HUMANS seem more lifelike. But when you're trying to make REAL humans more er.. human-like using the technique, you start wondering... what, the actors don't seem real enough in person ar???
Sorry Zemeckis, YOU may think that performance-capture movies are the future, but I think I'd rather stay in the past. Give me proper animation, computer-generated or otherwise, over your performance-capture shit anytime, dude. Besides, I'd rather watch a REAL naked Angelina Jolie than a naked but crappily-animated version of her...