This one came out of nowhere. When it was first revealed that WETA studios would help bring Caesar to life with the help of mo-cap actor, Andy Serkis, we were intrigued. But then stories started to come out that Rise of the Planet of the Apes would have a relatively small budget of $90 million and be rushed into production to meet a strict summer deadline. Needless to say, not many people held out hope for the flick.

But when Rise finally came out this past summer, it instantly became a big-budget classic, and most of its success can be traced back to Caesar himself. Composed completely inside of a computer, with Serkis providing the motion and facial acting on-set, Caesar is the most photorealistic CGI animal ever put on screen, and makes his co-star, James Franco, look like an amateur in comparison.

Throughout the film, Caesar effortlessly emotes anger, jealousy, joy, and quiet contemplation, without ever looking the least bit like a cartoon. Caesar is so full of life and personality throughout the film that it's easy to forget that he's not even real. But with the emotions that he stirs up during the course of the movie, it’s hard to say that he’s not.