• Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

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    Even though I have love for the “Planet of the Apes” movies, I've never been the biggest fan that franchise. Yes, the 1968 original is a classic but its sequels are pretty silly. When the reboot, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” hit theaters in 2011, I was pleasantly surprised. The film managed to create something fresh while still honoring what worked in the original films. It was much better than expected and left me wanting more. Now that the sequel is out, one wonders if it can recreate the magic of its predecessor. Let's find out!
    I was half expecting Will Smith to show up and do his crazy "Fred" rant.
    10 years after the events of “Rise”, mankind has fallen to the effects of the mysterious “simian flu”. During this time, Caesar (Andy Serkis) has founded a sort of ape colony; far away from the humans. When Malcolm (Jason Clarke) and his fellow humans stumble upon the ape settlement, Caesar allows them to work on a dam to give what's left of their city a little electricity. Disturbed by the respect Caesar gives to the humans, Koba (Toby Kebbell), the second in command has his own agenda and sabotages the truce. Now, Caesar and Malcolm must do everything in their power to avert a full out war between man and ape.
    Koba, the ape with an idea...
    I usually continue a review with what I didn't like about a movie or point out what was flawed (for me). In this instance though, I can't really come up with one thing that didn't work or something that was weak. What Matt Reeves and co. have created here is a thing of beauty and makes “Planet of the Apes” as a sci-fi franchise more than relevant again. Especially in this day and age where racism, class-ism and inequality are on the rise. That's the one thing I always appreciated of the “Planet” movies; they didn't shy away from commenting on what ever social issues were important at the time.
    ...Dreyfus, the man with a plan. See what I did there?
    Does that mean this is a movie pushing some sort of political agenda? Absolutely not. At its core this is a movie about family. It has more heart and depth than any other so called blockbuster I've seen this summer. This can be attributed to a great screenplay. It gives humans in the film a voice and real motivation. It expertly avoids that whole “Humans are evil, apes are good” thing. Both sides have their strengths and flaws. Yes, even the villains have valid reasons for doing what they think is best. Where the performances in “Rise” were excellent, “Dawn” brings it to a whole new level. Each and every ape has a distinct voice, face and personality. What Andy Serkis and the other actor playing the apes have achieved here must get some kind of acting recognition. Not once did I say, “Great 3D animation”. These were real, living and breathing characters to me.
    And the Oscar for best visual effects goes to...WETA Digital!
    This could not have been possible of course without the superb work of the people at WETA digital. There are things in this film I've never, ever seen. The visual effects are beautiful. I also love the movie score. Michael Giacchino while keeping his own voice music wise, gives a respectful nod here and there to Jerry Goldsmith's score to the original “Planet of the Apes”. He does it very clever and subtle indeed. I have nothing but praise to give this film. It hits all the right notes, It has heart, it has adventure, it has action and I just can't recommend it enough. Go see this film now!

    2 comments → Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    1. Great points in this review, Timothy! I'm glad that you enjoyed this movie as much as I did.

      I came across a couple of articles that mentioned other write-ups, claiming this film had an anti-gun agenda. This simply isn't so! Instead, it's a story that powerfully depicts the anatomy and escalation of violence. I think a small minority have projected their own feelings on what should be considered conscientious entertainment.

      Keep up the great writing; I enjoyed reading your thoughts very much!


    2. Thanks for the compliments, that means a lot coming from you!

      What a strange thing to claim, anti-gun? I guess these reviewers saw a different film than you or I did. If anything, this film is anti-violence.
      I think you are right as well when it comes to the escalation. Much of the bad things that happened could have been avoided if both parties just listened to one another. That is a great observation on your part indeed.

      I was very impressed with your article and review of the "Dawn" screening. So, keep that good stuff coming!


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