Sunday, July 13, 2014

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes [USA, 2014]

Nine Things About the Movie Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

1. This extraordinary movie is gorgeous, gripping, and better than the first film. It’s perhaps my favorite film of 2014 so far.

2. At the very end of the first movie, you get the idea that the viral drug being tested on apes has escaped the lab and is infecting humans. This movie takes place 10 years later, after the virus has killed most of humanity (including all the people from the first movie).

3. San Francisco is a shell of what it once was, and the relatively small group of humans that were immune to the virus are trying to hold themselves together. Meanwhile, the escaped apes, led by Caesar, are building their own society.

4.The San Francisco people, who don’t know about the evolved apes, accidentally run into them and shoot one. This rather unfortunate meeting of the groups stirs emotions on all sides; the humans and the apes try to decide what to do with each other. There are more apes than humans, but humans have more guns.

5. The special effects in this movie are impossibly good. There were a couple of times that I stopped paying attention to the story because I was mesmerised by the apes. Speaking of special effects, Andy Serkis plays Caesar. He also played Gollum in the “Lord of the Rings” movies.

6. While it’s obvious that the movie is making a commentary on war, if you like to read things into movies like I do, the movie is a reflection on so many other things: leadership, forgiveness, fanaticism, sacrifice, revenge, and choice. It really makes you think about where the boundaries are between humans and other animals.

7. There is a deep sadness and melancholy that soaks through the whole movie.

8. This is mostly a drama, so if you’re expecting two hours of violence, you’ll be disappointed. Most of the action comes during the last 45 minutes or so. The first hour and a half does a fantastic job of slowly building up the tension, so that when it blows up, it really blows up.

9. This is an excellent piece of filmmaking, especially considering it’s supposed to be a summer blockbuster. You root for both the humans and the apes, which gets you all twisted up. You are drawn into this dark new world, and you leave it with both your intellect and your emotions affected.