Nothing to go ape about but…
Star – Andy Sirkis
Genre – Comic Book > Sci Fi
Run Time – 130 minutes
Certificate – PG13
Country – USA
Oscars – 1 nomination (Visual Effects)
Awards – 15 Wins & 45 Nominations
Amazon – £4.36 DVD (£9.99Blue Ray)
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As a kid, one of the most horrifying scenes in a movie I can vividly recall was from seeing the original Planet of the Apes film (1968) when Charlton Heston realizes the foreboding planet he has landed on run by talking primates is actually Earth in the future, the astronaut staring at the Statue of Liberty half buried by the ocean still an incredible moment in cinema today. Sadly the films thereafter in the Planet of the Universe got progressively worse, as they did for many comic book movies back in the 1980s and 90s, and we had to wait until 2011 and powerful digital special effects to make the Planet of the Apes really work and so give the apes credibility. I’m told Helena Bonham Carter needed no prosthetics at all for her appearance as the ape Ari in Tim Burton’s 2001 early CGI mess.
Andy Serkis plays the lead ape Caesar, here, as he did in the first film, The Rise of the Planet of the Apes, this a sequel and his 7th grueling motion capture film. From 2001 to 2014, in just thirteen years, he has played 3 hunching characters in seven films (Gollum, Kong, and Caesar) and helped them to gross 5.5 billion dollars. He is not the best looking actor so you take the work when you can get it in the movie business.
Andy Serkis as Caesar………a common chimpanzee and the leader of the evolved ape tribe.
Toby Kebbell as Koba,……..a scarred bonobo and Caesar's treacherous lieutenant.
Nick Thurston as Blue Eyes………a common chimpanzee and Caesar and Cornelia's first son.
Karin Konoval as Maurice……..a Bornean orangutan and Caesar's friend and advisor.
Terry Notary as Rocket……… a common chimpanzee and Caesar's friend.
Doc Shaw as Ash…..a common chimpanzee, son of Rocket, also Blue Eyes' best friend.
Judy Greer as Cornelia…… a common chimpanzee and Caesar's wife.
Lee Ross as Grey……. a common chimpanzee and a follower of Koba.
Jason Clarke as Malcolm, the leader of the small group of good apes.
Jason Clarke as Malcolm, the leader of the small group that forms a strong bond with Caesar.
Gary Oldman as Dreyfus…….the leader of the remaining human survivors.
Keri Russell as Ellie…. a former nurse at the CDC, and Malcolm's wife.
Kodi Smit-McPhee as Alexander……Malcolm's son from a previous marriage.
Kirk Acevedo as Carver…..a former San Francisco water worker and a member of Malcolm's group.
Jon Eyez as Foster……. a member of Malcolm's group.
Enrique Murciano as Kem… a member of Malcolm's group.
Jocko Sims as Werner…….. the colony's radio operator.
Keir O'Donnell as Finney…….. an ally of Dreyfus.
===Plot Catch up from Film One===
A brilliant scientist (James Franco) is desperate to find a cure for his fathers Dementia and his bio company experiments on apes to try and achieve that. After a false dawn his father relapses from a cure but the upside being an ape, Caesar (Andy Sirkis), shows remarkable intelligence gains from the same drug, eventually busting out of his cage with some fellow apes and fleeing to the Northern Californian woods and freedom. In the process the scientist has unleashed a deadly simian flu…
10-years on from the outbreak and pretty much all of the humans appear to be dead. The Apes, headed by Caesar, have set up a community in the woods with a hierarchy and basic structure. Caesar intelligence is still raging on and can now speak basic human but as they haven’t seen any humans for two years they think there are none left. Not so.
In the ruins or San Francisco a human community rages, 700 strong, headed by Dreyfus (Gary Oldman). He has dispatched a team, headed by Malcolm (Jason Clark), drive high into the woods to try and kick start the old hydro electric plant to supply power to the city. But the team runs into Caesar’s ‘armed’ apes and a confrontation inevitable, the humans outnumbered and sent packing back to the city with a flea in their ear. If they are to restart the dam they will need to cut a deal with the apes, who have promised war if they return with another show of force.
Malcolm takes it upon himself to go back and confront the apes, building up enough of rapport with leading ape Caesar to return with small team of technicians to work on the dam. If they let them get the dam working they will leave each other alone from then on in. But there is a dissent in the ape community, ugly and angry ape Koba (Toby Kebbell) challenging Caesar’s authority and demanding they attack the humans before the humans can attack them. Malcolm has a long diplomatic battle of building trust ahead of him if he is to re-open the dam, communicate with the apes and also stop Dreyfus from a preempted attack on the apes.
So, it’s a bit of a leap from ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ so best to see film one first if you haven’t. You can’t just pick this up to enjoy it. This is not Dawn of the Dead to Day of the Dead. It’s an intelligent trilogy (film 3 due in 2018) and involves your imagination and investing in the idea. The Apes were extremely hard to get right, CGI wise, and clearly the whole franchise hangs on that mix of special effects and animatronics, as did Spiderman being able to look good swinging through the skyscrapers of Manhatten in the brilliant Toby Maguire re-launch. Well it worked in Rise and it works here in Dawn, the apes believable enough and Serkis doing great physical and surprisingly emotional work in front of the green screen. The fact the apes are meant to be part human in behavior in this film enables those creases to remain.
Dawn is not interested in staging conflict for the sake of it and the misunderstandings and tensions that drive the plot don't always feel like contrivances. This is a genesis movie that’s making sure it sets up the future films and audiences. This one cost $170 million to make but did an impressive $710 million back so they definitely got it right. A lot of these fantasy Sci-Fi comic book movies overdo the CGI on screen but this nailed it by limiting prominent apes, humans and locations.
It’s a tad long at 2 hours 10 minutes but it flew by with some thoughtful story but salted with some decent action and authentic and grand special effects. Gary Oldman is a huge ham as per usual and the little known cast around him allow for the apes to own the movie as they soon will the Earth, of course. Jason Clarke understands that crucial dynamic as Malcolm and puts in the appropriate cowering turn. It does adhere to some stock comic book blockbuster rules of the big showdown ending and the expected traitors and heroes but still enjoyable stuff. I was always reticent to watch anymore Planet of the Apes movies after Tim Burton’s disaster but this has restored my interest. It’s not suitable for young kids although I’m sure they are buying the toys.
Imdb.com – /10.0 (votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 90% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – % critic’s approval
Leonard Maltin –
=Andy Serkis: Rediscovering Caesar=
It’s a tough role for Andy and the apes actors to play as they are crouching in front of a green screen for the most of the movie. Here he talks about how the film was put together.
Times U.K –‘[Dawn of the Planet of the Apes] is a text book example of how to stay true to the basic genetic code of a movie while also letting it evolve into a different, altogether more sophisticated beast’.
Independent UK –‘Given the constraints under which he must have been working, being filmed with motion capture technology and under layers of heavy make-up, Serkis' performance is extraordinarily expressive’.
The Film Stage –‘More smartly nuanced and visually bombastic than any entry in the series, Dawn boasts a surprisingly textured script and great performances from both the men and the apes’.
Matt Reeves, the director of another end of the world type scenario in found footage film Cloverfield, takes the reins of this smart and attractive franchise and runs confidently with visceral wanton destruction and a blunt message about gun control’.
Salt Lake City Weekly –‘Reeves conjures a spectacle that has you questioning every moment where movies have conditioned you to cheer instinctively, because the heroism of a moment is so often defined by your allegiances.
Flavorwire –‘They manage to accomplish what few reboots have: to tell an origin story that honors the original work and pleases the superfans, while working as involving, compelling cinema, on their own terms and free of all other associations’.
A vue cinema has recently opened up in a new shopping complex near myself and my work place, in Westwood cross in Thanet. It is the first one in the local area, but I have visited one before, in the Bristol/ Bath area, which I was quite impressed with. Vue had contacted the company I work for and offered a discount if we took along our staff passes, which was the extra incentive we needed to try it out, interestingly enough when we got there none of the staff actually knew about the discount, but that was besides the point!
The cinema complex is large and imposing from the outside. As you enter it follows the standard format. Over to the left is a long bank of tills where you can buy your tickets, and some food and snacks. If you have pre booked your tickets you can get them out of a machine by inserting your card, which is great as there is less of a queue.
There are plenty of screens, the numbers go into two digits, so there is always plenty to see at a time to suit you, and as they are a big complex with lots of money they get all the newest films in soonish.
There is a wide variety of snacks to purchase. There are pick and mix sweets, prepacked sweets and chocolate, popcorn, hot dogs and nachos. All of which are vastly over priced. The tickets are also the most expensive of any cinema in the area. In the local area there are no new modern cinemas, so Vue patched up a hole in the market, and therefore they seem able to get away with charging excessive amounts, making a trip to the cinema very expensive, but why wouldn't they when tons of people are there every single night?!
My wife recently treated me to dinner and the cinema and to make a change, we went to Vue in Westwood Cross, Kent.
It always amazes me when I walk into a cinema. No matter which one you go in, they are pretty much the same design. If all the adverts were taken down and you walked in blindfolded, after opening the eyes, you would have no trouble guessing the place was a cinema. The only major difference I could find with Vue was where you purchased the tickets. Normally, you have a ticket stand at one bit, get the tickets and then walk in to get get sweets, etc. At Vue, we purchased the tickets at the same place as you purchase sweets, etc. This made it exceptionally simple, as we got a drink and our tickets at the same time and saved us a extra queue.
What I liked about Vue was the Evolution screen. I have never seen or heard of this before, but it is a nicer screen than the normal ones. The Evo screen has sofas that seat 2 or 4 people, superior seats and bean bags. There are no normal seats in the screen. We chose a 2 seated sofa, purely for cost reasons. A 2 seater sofa during peak time cost us £10.70. 4 seater is near enough double that. Superior seating is £8.65 each and bean bags are £6.85 each.
Upon walking to the screen, outside they have a seating plan, with the rows all displayed and the seats numbered, so you know where to go once inside, instead of searching for your seats in the dark. Your seat is allocated with the ticket purchase. There was one flaw with this approach. It is a very simple and great idea, yet they had managed to get it wrong. The plan they had for the Evo screen was incorrect. It showed our row as being 2 from the rear, yet once inside, our row was actually the very rear row.
The bean bags in this screen are right at the very front, closer than the front row of seats in a normal screen, so I wouldn't recommend them. The superior seating is next and has a few rows. This seating looks very comfortable and I expect when we go again, we will go for them. Then the last rows are made up of the sofas, all mixed in together.
After finding our sofa, this is where the problem was. Expecting a lovely cushiony sofa, we instead got pretty much a bench, covered with a thick ish cushion. The seat bit itself was actually pretty comfortable, so I was surprised by that. The back of the sofa though is the main problem. It goes up nice and straight, good support for your back, but then at neck height it jutts significantly forward. This in turn pushes your forward of where it wants to be and makes it very uncomfortable. The only past this I found, being as I'm short and didn't have much choice, was to slouch down, putting strain on my back that it doesn't need or enjoy. The size of the sofa is very good. You could easily fit 4 people on the 2 seat sofa, probably 8 on the 4 seaters.
The seating area is around half the size of normal seating areas in other screens and due to the higher prices of the screen, you don't get all the younger generation who just bug me. The sound in here is incredibly loud and if you have sensitive ears, then I wouldn't recommend it.
I would recommend the screen if you enjoy the cinema, but would only recommend the superior seats. Ignore the rest and treat yourself.