Well, one of the best animated characters I have ever seen–even better than the fabulous Andy Serkis’s groundbreaking work with Weta Digital in everything from Gollum and King Kong to Caesar in the “Planet of the Apes” movies–is Groot in “Guardians of the Galaxy” (August 1). VFX houses MPC and Framestore took the lead on Groot and his fab partner Rocket Raccoon (well-voiced by Bradley Cooper).
One reason: you can feel the actor behind the animation. It’s not just Vin Diesel’s multiple deliveries of the phrase, “I am Groot,” which provides comic relief. (Director James Gunn gave the actor translations of what each line actually meant.) But this sentient tree is more than a formidable warrior. Groot is the power of nature, as well as its nurturing heart. Trust me, legions of people are going to come out of that movie loving this man tree (who bears some resemblance to “Star Wars” Chewbacca) –and wanting to own the action figure.
Hell, I want one.
This is yet another argument for a new Oscar category–Best Animated Performance–that would include the director, visual effects supervisor, lead animator, and the voice actor. They give multiple awards for sound mixing and editing, which requires groups of people. And for VFX. This should have its own award.
Meanwhile Disney and Marvel aren’t missing a beat. Diesel has already gone into a sound studio to dub “I am Groot” in five languages: Brazilian, Portuguese, Latin American Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Russian and French.
Presumably Cooper has voiced Rocket in French, at least. He’s fluent.