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Friday, July 25, 2014

Movie Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Can two different groups that have no reason to trust each other co-exist together? In July 2014, we watched as trust was a valuable resource... that neither side had a lot of.

Directing this 130 minute action/drama/sci-fi/thriller is Matt Reeves.

Living in a new world is: Andy Serkis as Caesar, Jason Clarke as Malcolm, Keri Russell as Ellie, Gary Oldman as Dreyfus, Toby Kebbell as Koba, Kodi Smit-McPhee as Alexander, Larramie Doc Shaw as Ash and Judy Greer as Cornelia.

After a deadly outbreak has killed off mankind, the apes have started over and have found a peaceful way to live their lives. Or at least the apes thought all of mankind was dead. A sudden run in with a small group of humans suddenly sparks concern in the ape community. Knowing what man is capable of, and seeing the
destruction, a lot of the apes don't want anything to do with the humans. Yet Caesar, the leader of the apes, wants to try and find a peaceful way of letting both sides be. Which is something a human named Malcolm would love to see. Unfortunately, not everyone is on board with their ideas.

For as long as I've been a Planet of the Apes fan I never knew the 8 film franchise (as of 2014) was inspired by a French book written in 1963 by Pierre Boulle, called La Planete dess singes (Planet of the Apes or Monkey Planet). I guess I'm not as big of a fan as I thought I was huh? Now this is the second installment in the rebooted series, which follows up after the film Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011).

Writers Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver did a really good job on the story for this one. It takes place 10 years after the last movie, and I thought they laid out a good sequel that continued telling the story really well. Both Jaffa and Silver did some great work with the characters they wrote up. Story-wise I really liked the way everything blended together. We get to see how both the apes and humans live in the new world after everything has happened. Then as the story unfolds, how easily everything can fall apart on both sides, and how the apes and humans may not be so different.

The playthrough was a little slower than I expected at first but eventually it picks up and the rest of the film just takes off running. Even with the slow start though, the flick is still very entertaining because of everything going on.
                                                       


I really liked the work done by the cast, both the on screen and the voice cast. Downside, Oldman wasn't in it as much as I would have liked, but it was cool seeing him. Then you have Serkis who is not only an amazing actor, but was a great addition to the cast for this flick. I really like what he did with the Caesar character. Russell was good, but she didn't really stand out or anything, she kind of blended into the back ground.

For a budget of 170 million, they threw together something that had some impressive looking special effects, and Michael Seresin caught a lot of great scenes with his work on the cinematography. I have to give a some big props to Weta Digital for their visual work on not only the apes, but the other animals as well. Here's a cool thing, well for some people anyway. The movie was using motion capture suits for the individuals playing the parts of the apes, like Serkis as Caesar. So not only are they giving their voices to the characters, but the movement as well. Like I said, cool for some people... I'm geek, I know. Then of course Weta Digital jumped in and did their magic by turning the actors into the cool looking apes that we see on screen.

Overall, the film has a rich script and really good cast. Now myself, I'm not a big fan of reboots, but this one is doing pretty good so far. I'm looking forward to watching the third installment they're calling for in 2016. So, yeah, I'd say this one is worth catching in the theater.

It's rated PG-13 for violence and language.

These damn dirty apes get 4 stars!  I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself...


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