Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

July 13, 2014 at 7:43 pm | Posted in 2014 | 1 Comment
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When it came out, I referred to “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (2011) as a moment in cinematic history. It wasn’t that I particularly liked very much of what the film had to offer but I was so completely drawn in by the magic of Caesar. This time, I wasn’t so stunned by the effects but, fortunately, I didn’t need to be because the story as a whole was much stronger. Though the live action humans remained the weakest part of the film, the apes dominated most of the movie and were so beautifully portrayed that the film had real depth. I am quite sure the time is coming when Andy Serkis (Gollum in “Lord of the Rings”) will receive an Oscar nomination for his work. CGI is detailed enough now that it can capture the underlying actor’s emotions and he was able to create a fully realized character in Caesar, full of fear, hope, doubt, vulnerability, pain, love and joy. His relationships with his family, his tribe and the humans were all complex, multi-layered and believable. The central conflict of the story was also a complex one, mostly without good guys and bad guys but simply scared and worried people/apes with competing and conflicting interests. A couple of characters were stock villains (one ape & one human) but you can forgiven them that for needing to move the tension along. Director Matt Reeves, who until now has been known almost exclusively for the “Felicity” TV series, shows an eye for framing the scene, taking some of them to the point of too much without ever quite passing that line. The film remains a fun, summer action film while also delving into deeper emotions in a way few such films ever do. As such, I think it’s one of the best blockbusters I’ve seen in a while.


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