Monday, July 06, 2015

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes ~ I have talked about my love for the Planet of the Apes movies before, actually more than once. And while Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the second attempt to reboot the series was a pleasant and superior surprise, I still had some reservations. I shouldn't have worried at all. Dawn is even better than Rise.

If you know the saga of the Planet of the Apes, you know that Rise and Dawn are covering old territory. We already know the history, we know what happens, and that's the danger of any prequels. And even though the movies in the original series, Conquest and Battle, are by far the most inferior, and provide the basis for Rise and Dawn, I have much praise for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Once again, Andy Serkis and the CGI portraying Caesar, the first leader of the Apes, are the stars over and above anyone or anything else in this flick. Gary Oldman is wasted for the five to ten minutes he appears, Keri Russell continues to age badly, and Kirk Acevedo is a master of playing the same character in every project he's in. Harsh, yes, but those are the only bad things about this movie. The rest is near perfect.

The opening, outside the establishing narration of a world a decade after the last film, is without traditional dialogue. The Apes live in peace in their own home, speaking in a combination of simple pantomime and crude American Sign Language. Caesar himself only speaks aloud once man intrudes on their idyllic life, but don't be fooled, the other apes speak as well. And these apes, CGI and otherwise, out-act the human players.

There is no black and white, or good and evil here. It's man vs. ape, it's true, but factions within each group are at war as well. This tale of trust and war and family is set against another amazing score by my favorite composer Michael Giacchino. He hits all the right notes for the appropriate emotional impact. I've already gotten the soundtrack from iTunes I was so impressed.

Whether you're a fan of either Planet of the Apes franchise, or not, this entry is highly recommended. I can't wait for 2017's War of the Planet of the Apes.

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