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Old 07-10-2014, 12:51 PM   #1
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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - non-spoiler Review



Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)
Directed by Matt Reeves

7.5/10
The sequel to the very good surprise hit Rise of the Planet of the Apes is here and it is set a decade later with the remnants of humanity trying to rebuild their life in the city and Caesar still leading the ape population in the first. They have developed their own society centered around the ewok village they have built for themselves far from danger.
The direction, acting and effects are top notch in this film and it appears the effects got another pass over since the trailer as they look much more convincing. Such great character development for the apes made me think about how Michael Bay destroyed the Transformers by just focussing on the humans and not giving the robots any personality or importance and how he ramped up everything with juvenile, racist and sexist jokes. I am so glad he did not get his claws into this franchise because what we have here is a real film made by people who understand the mythology. The music is excellent and it feels very inspired by the Charlton Heston original.
It is a very good film and more consistent than Rise was but despite that I think I may still prefer Rise but then again I always prefer origin films. It is a strong sequel and should be applauded for its efforts to class up the summer blockbuster calendar.
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Old 07-10-2014, 03:25 PM   #2
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Definitely looking forward to seeing this movie this upcoming weekend.
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Old 07-10-2014, 07:46 PM   #3
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Yeah I'm hoping I can check this out this weekend!
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Old 07-11-2014, 01:53 PM   #4
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oh and for the record, I saw it in 2D
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Old 07-14-2014, 01:25 AM   #5
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big opening 73 million in the U.S., up about 20 million on the previous release. Should have some staying power too.
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Old 07-27-2014, 09:33 PM   #6
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Just a note: I have tried really hard to avoid spoiling the film for anyone, but I'm not sure how well I did that. So, if you just want a short safe version - it's not a bad film, parts are really well done, and overall I'd say that most people will enjoy it. But, I did find it to be a bit disappointing and some decisions were made by the film makers that lowered my level of engagement to the point were I really wasn't that invested in the last half of the film.

I can't say it's a bad film. In terms of the technology on display, it certainly is stunning. And there is definitely a lot more thought put into the script than one would expect for a big budget summer film. In fact, I'd say that this is one of those few reboots/remakes where the people responsible really did seem to have a pretty good understanding of what made the originals work so well. The first half shows a pretty thought-provoking set-up.

However, they make some pretty odd and lazy character/plot decisions in getting from point A to point B. I wouldn't say that any of them were bad or unbelievable. They were just boring or diminished the engagement. The way the war actually comes around could have been a lot more interestingly played out. But they really made it the result of one character's specific actions and considering how much thought went into the set-up that seemed like there could have been a lot of other subtler or more interesting ways that war could have come.

Which leads to another issue I had when the "big battle" finally happened. The battle looked incredible and the much talked about long shot is really quite impressive. But, they way that it has been all set up in the plot, none of the characters that I was interested in (i.e. most of the main characters) were participants in the battle. So, emotionally, I wasn't invested in the battle as anything other than cool spectacle

And the characters that were the most interesting actually had some of the least interesting character arcs. Caesar, in particular, is great. Outside of the animation and the performance, which were great, he is a really complex character, given an interesting background, and full of philosophical/ideological dichotomies. But, the drama that he goes through in the story really didn't play much with the well established foundation and it really all just ended up being about whether or not he can beat up another ape.

I know it's really not fair to compare to the originals, but for a counter example, take a look at the character arc that Caesar goes though in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. For all that films flaws, the way they show Caesar's growth from uncertain pacifist to enraged revolutionary is really fascinating.

And, it's a minor quibble, but I also felt like, by the end of "Dawn..." it was a little bit too "people are a-ok - apes still have some issues to work out" Most of this comes about from the way that the story shows that the war comes about as a result of conscious manipulation and deceit mostly on the part of the apes or at least one ape. Whereas, it really shows the humans primarily as sympathetically ignorant and scared. If they really wanted to go the route where both sides were understood, I think they could have done a much better job of showing the "inevitable march to war" than they did. Especially considering how much thought they really did put into setting up the world.
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Old 07-28-2014, 12:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaestheus View Post

And, it's a minor quibble, but I also felt like, by the end of "Dawn..." it was a little bit too "people are a-ok - apes still have some issues to work out" Most of this comes about from the way that the story shows that the war comes about as a result of conscious manipulation and deceit mostly on the part of the apes or at least one ape. Whereas, it really shows the humans primarily as sympathetically ignorant and scared. If they really wanted to go the route where both sides were understood, I think they could have done a much better job of showing the "inevitable march to war" than they did. Especially considering how much thought they really did put into setting up the world.
Well it would be easy to say that it was one bad apes manipulation but the route of him had come from the evil ways humans treated apes in laboratories.
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Old 07-28-2014, 04:31 AM   #8
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Well it would be easy to say that it was one bad apes manipulation but the route of him had come from the evil ways humans treated apes in laboratories.
That is true, but (hopefully) without getting into spoilers, I would have rather seen that ape present a decent, logical argument that showed how his desire to go to war was justified, as opposed to the way he manufacturers a fraudulent scenario in order to motivate the apes. Not that that idea is completely unbelievable, (*ahem*) but I would have much preferred that he have a defensible position as opposed to making him an outright villain. A lot of care and thought obviously went into the writing of the humans' situation so that they were both understandable and sympathetic even when they were wrong. I just wished that the apes situation had been presented that way as well.
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