Saturday, July 12, 2014

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Plot: In the first movie, a virus that makes apes intelligent escapes the lab and kills off most people as a side effect. In this movie, the smart apes get in a war with the remnant human population. The peace-oriented ape leader is Caesar from the first movie and his chimp rival is Koba who wants to kill people. The peace-oriented human is Malcolm (Jason Clarke) and the war-oriented human is Drefus (Gary Oldman). Malcolm has a kid (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and a girlfriend (Keri Russell), just like Caesar has kid and girlfriend.  [imdb]    [photos]

Review: This feels like the long set up to a much better sequel. We have nice apes and nice people being drawn against their will to a war no one wants. Obviously this is an allegory many wars notably WWI.

This movie is OK, but not actually fun because I knew how it was going to end.[SPOILER that anyone who saw the rest of the series would know already.]  That is because we know that eventually earth becomes the Planet of the Apes. If you want to root for the humans, well -- maybe 2-3 sequels from now you'll get your chance. 

The CGI characters are the best ever. Hundreds of CGI apes each look lifelike and better than lifelike. (Real monkeys are kind-of gross.) Wonderful animation.

Caesar's eyes at the end, on a large format screen
The battle scene of the Kobe riding a horse through the flames is wonderful! There are several top visuals.  I loved the cross-species baby-hugging scene too. Caesar's eyes in the last scene are gripping.

The music is orchestral music -- a little on the slow side except the fight scenes. 

Cast:  Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Keri Russell

Directed by: Matt Reeves

Rating:  2.0 stars - It just isn't that much fun!  Despite great CGI

More: Not as good as the previous one; see my review of that.

Even More: We saw this on a "premium large format" screen with Dolby Atmos & 39 independent speakers.   This is my first encounter with "premium large format", which covers a variety of projection technologies that compete with Imax. This one was a 4K DLP from Texas Instruments.
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