I just wanna say that aside from a few minor hiccups here and there, the summer blockbuster 2014 season has been awesome thus far.
After the shocking success of Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), it comes to no surprise that a sequel would be on the way. But wait! A sequel can actually be made with time and precision instead of just regurgitating garbage onto a silver screen a year and a half after the first? This is total news to me.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) opens with one of the best cold opens I’ve ever seen, summarizing the events between this movie and Rise which spans over the course of ten years. Ten years in less than two minutes, incredible. We see that the virus from the first movie has spread throughout the world and mankind is all but extinct. Then we delve into the world and lifestyle of the alpha ape, Caesar, and his band of intelligent apes. Not a word of dialogue is spoken throughout this first fifteen to twenty minutes, much like the work of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). All we get is actions without words, and what’s beautiful about this is it also pays tribute to the likes of D.W. Griffith and Charlie Chaplin, film legends that almost never used dialogue to tell story.
When the humans finally do come into play, I said to myself, “Okay, this is gonna happen which will lead to this, that, and more.” But nope! This movie really had me guessing. Almost nothing goes the way you’d think it would in a Hollywood blockbuster. In fact, there was one point where I thought the movie was basically over and then a whole lot of AWESOME stuff happened afterwards and I was totally alright with it. It’s one thing if you think it’d over and then it drags on another hour, but if it keeps you invested and you’re completely invested in this movie, that’s something entirely different.
Let’s talk about the CGI of this movie and how it’s actually ridiculous what these apes look like. Each and every ape has a different face and a defining feature to them, much like real apes and humans. It was not hard to keep track of which ape was which because each one looked, moved, and acted in their own special way. There were honestly moments when I didn’t know if I was looking at a real ape or not, it was that convincing. If this film doesn’t win an oscar for its visual effects, there’s something wrong with the academy, mark my words. I also think Andy Serkis (Caesar) deserves some recognition as well for his voice acting/CGI motion capture whatever you call that they did. The guy moved like an ape on set and they CGIed an ape’s body over him. Impressive? Yeah.
What it boils down to is this: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is not only a great sequel, it could stand alone as its own film. It’s a tragedy indeed, as you can see by the title; but there are certainly touching moments all throughout. This is definitely THE summer blockbuster to see this year. From the acting, to voice acting, to action, to depth and feels and all the good stuff that most Hollywood blockbusters lack these days, this movie is a force.
Overall rating: 9/10 – Awesome
See it. If you don’t like Planet of the Apes, take your dad to see it because he does, then you will. It’s the best summer blockbuster this year, in my opinion, and it may even surpass summer blockbusters in previous years as well.
PS Jason Clarke and Gary Oldman are great as the two human protagonists in this movie as well.
IMAGES: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/blog_post_349_width/2014/06/dawn_of_apes_teaser_poster.jpg, http://www.gannett-cdn.com/-mm-/0dbc71cfd1b3402c670087d65297c2d9032189b1/c=75-0-2114-1145&r=x1803&c=3200×1800/local/-/media/USATODAY/USATODAY/2014/07/09/1404958088000-XXX-DAWN-PLANET-APES-MOV-JY-630–65398286.JPG