Friday, July 18, 2014

Naptown Nerd Goes Ape: Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (2014)

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes
Director: Matt Reeves
Starring: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, Judy Greer, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Gary Oldman
Rated: PG-13

I need to speak to Caesar!

Well, we're here.  Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is a wonderful unique, emotional and awe'ing spectacle of a planet of the apes film.  It is in fact one of the bolder big budget Hollywood summer blockbusters I think we've seen in a long time.  And once again, the mo-cap performances and effects continue to astonish and amaze.
As many of us surmized this was a "reboot" attempt on Battle For The Planet Of The Apes, but a much more successful one.  One that was able to convey the messages better and also took some elements of the screenplay from Battle that they were afraid to pull off onscreen.  As a longtime fan of the series, it made me happy to see a lot of what I always defended Battle could have been, actually pulled off in spades and so much better here.  Its the Battle film I always wanted I guess.
20th Century Fox, and more likely Matt Reeves fighting for the film he wanted done right, get a lot of credit for letting this movie be this movie.  We open up the film with no human characters or speech for about the first 12-15 minutes.  Its based solely on ape interaction and speaking in sign language to one another.  And I loved every minute of that.  It really helps us to right away reconnect with Caesar and catch up with some of the other memorable ape characters from Rise.  It also sets a tone, crafts the updated world and gives us a complete sense of what the apes have at stake here.  Its something completely unique and not like something you'll probably experience in any other film this year or even next.
Koba definitely makes for one of my favorite villains in a long time.  This is a fully realized character with motivations that completely make sense for the audience.  Its a natural progression of what seemed to be just a character there for effect in the previous film.  While we may not approve of where Koba takes his acitons, we at least recognize and understand where he's coming from with them.  They also play a nice dynamic between Caesar's son Blue Eyes and Koba as well.  Ape drama at his finest.
Humans?  Okay, fine.  Jason Clarke is an actor I get excited to see on the rise.  He once again is terrific in this and his character of Malcolm forms a bond with Caesar that after seeing Franco with him felt we'd never get back to that level.  And indeed we do here.  Keri Russell is solid, but she's mainly just part of the family to be protected of Malcolms.  Though, the group of Malcolm and Caesar do form a unique bond and friendship that really holsters down a lot of the emotional weight of the film and you it both makes you happy and ultimately sad in moments too.
Since this is a fresh movie, I'd rather not over-talk about it and let you see it for yourself.  No worries, its fantastic.  I feel it built well off of and topped the previous movie.  There are so many aspects with which this movie is great that you'll definitely get your full ticket with when you see it.  Effects, acting, story, drama...all there, and in a Planet Of The Apes movie of course.  Don't miss it!  You have a few weeks til Guardians comes out.  So you can see it once or multiple times.

RATING: 4.5/5

Next Time: The damn dirty ranking

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