Friday, July 11, 2014

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes provides action and drama



PG-13, 2 hours 10 minutes

Grade:  B+/A-

In a Nutshell:   
When I was young I went to a Planet Of The Apes Movie Marathon with my friends.  We got a kick out of the furry franchise, featuring the talents of Charlton Heston and Roddy McDowell.  We knew the apes looked cheesy, but we still liked it.  Well, the apes sure don't look cheesy in this newest edition.  In fact, they're pretty doggone amazing.

This action-packed edition is a sequel to the successful 2011 reboot Rise Of The Planet of the Apes and showcases some truly amazing CGI.  Planet of the Apes purists will get to see some of their favorite parts: apes riding horses while toting AR15s, explosions, and plenty of human-ape conflict.

The dystopian genre has been extremely popular these past few years and, I must admit, it was interesting to imagine what my old stopping grounds, San Francisco, would look like after a deadly pandemic hits the area, wiping out most of the human race.  The setting and mood in this film are exceptional.

Uplifting theme: 
  • Trust.
  • Power.  The humans were trying to get power…electricity to run their colony of survivors.  The apes were also trying to get power…control over humans.
  • Both sides, apes and humans, include those who see a future built on respect for the other, as well as those who are filled with hatred and prejudice. You’ll find yourself cheering for both sides.

Things I liked:
  • Those eyes!  Those penetrating eyes!  Outstanding CGI showcases super detailed facial expressions on the apes.  The monkeys were extremely realistic, although some of their movements were a little too human.  There were a couple of times when some apes fought each other and it looked more like a professional wrestling match in the WWE.   
  • The tears and subtle expressions on the apes' faces were so impressive.  In fact, those who shed tears in the movie (apes AND humans) do so in such a genuine way that it's not overdone.
  • You get to see an adorable baby chimpanzee.  Adorable.
  • I thought the “head hug” between (NO SPOILER ALERT) the ape and the man was very sweet.  It reminded me of the movie 10,000 B.C.
  • I’ve always thought Keri Russell was so lovely.  I want a pair of her boots to tromp around in the woods.
  • Gary Oldman and Jason Clarke do a good job and the uber-talented Andy Serkis supplies the meaningful voice behind Caesar, the leader of the apes.
  • In the Mark Walberg edition of Planet Of The Apes , the apes almost had magical powers that enabled them to fly and jump to an absurd degree.  This film's apes are more realistic and believable. 

Things I didn’t like:
  • I know they have to make distinctions between the apes so that we can tell them apart, but I thought the hippie, beaded headband that Caesar’s wife wore was just silly.  There was also some other ape that always hung out with the wife who wore a completely bizarre face mask with dangles covering almost the entire face.
  • Why do they always put the dumb Bubbas in charge of the guns?
  • There were some inconsistencies in the story.  For example, Malcolm said about the apes, “They don’t need power; that’s their strength.”  However, when we go into the apes’ headquarter camp at night, they have hanging lamps.  It made for a pretty lighting effect, but was illogical.  Why would the apes need lamps?
  • The movie takes itself a little too seriously.  There were a few, mildly humorous moments, but it could have used a few more.

Did you notice?

Interesting lines:
  • “Fear makes others follow.”  - Caesar’s son
  • “Trust.”  - Caesar
  • “I see how much like them we are.” – Caesar
  • “Ape not kill ape.” – Caesar
  • “He saw things no kid should ever see and I’m not letting us go back to that.”  - Malcom 
  • “What are you doing?”  
“Saving the human race.”  - Dreyfus
  • “Home.  Family.  Future.”  - Caesar

Tips for parents:  Some profanity, 1 F-bomb, and lots of violence.  If you have kids who are learning sign language at school, they may enjoy watching the apes “talk.”  There are a lot of captions throughout the entire movie to help you understand what the apes are saying.  

If you haven’t seen earlier versions of the Planet of the Apes franchise, check out some of these:
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