Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Andy Serkis is back as Caesar. Also starring Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, Gary Oldman, and Kodi Smit-McPhee.

Directed by Matt Reeves.

I love that so much of of that trailer is just Ceasar’s face in warpaint, waiting to signal an attack.

Is it too much to hope that hollywood has rediscovered the art of not gving away the entire fucking movie in the trailer?

I’m afraid that yes, it is too much to hope. This is likely “trailer 1” which will be followed by at least three more that progressively lay out the entire story, plot twists and all.

Incredible CGI/acting, I mean it really does look, for all the world, like a pissed-off intelligent ape.

92% so far on RT. I don’t know if I’ll be able to go this weekend but I’m definitely looking forward to it. I wish I still had my Planet of the Apes metal lunchbox from when I was a kid. I’d bring that.

I may break with my usual aversion to opening weekend shows and catch this tomorrow. The first one was a very pleasant surprise, and by most accounts this one is equally as good…if not better.

Saw it, loved it. I was pretty impressed, there should be an Oscar nom for the man who played Caesar (cgi and all). The story is pretty simple and straightforward, but it makes sense. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a flaming monkey with a gun riding a charger through the Apocalypse.

This isn’t quite enough to get me to a theatre, but I signed up for a notification email for the DVD release!

Then you’re dead inside.

If it was a flaming robot monkey…

Good Lord man, do you WANT theaters to spontaneously combust from sheer awesome all over this great country of ours???

Returned from seeing Dawn of… today. Rise of… was one of my favorite movies of the decade and I came in slightly over-hyped for today’s viewing.

Dawn is the lesser of the two films, but it’s still excellent. My own personal movie strings are twanged less by appeals to family and loyalty (extremely pervasive themes of Dawn) than they were to the origin story of overcoming a hostile and unfair world. It got a tad bit tiring for me how every relationship in Dawn is presumed to be rich with meaning when the characters do not have the depth.

Those are my complaints. My praise, though, is that it’s visually amazing, it has tremendous action sequences, and it is an exceptionally immersive and involving film. The opening third of (very minor spoilers) the apes in their post-human world before and during the times of first contact was definitely the strong segment of the film. If I had been a little more enraptured by the relationships of the characters the movie would have done more for me, but it felt a bit soap opera-ish at times.

I keep wanting to draw parallels to The Dark Knight Rises for some reason… it is so insistent in telling a linear epic story that it feels a little bit Wagnerian and in neither film it quite holds up.

So to anyone here who gives a damn, I’d say Dawn of… does not hold a special place in cinema like Rise did, but is a great visual treat and well worth seeing in the theater.

Yeah, that looked incredible. Specifically, the scene of


Koba taking over the APC. That was fantastic.

I saw it Saturday and absolutely loved it. I didn’t find the emotional impact of the sequel any less important or meaningful than the first film. I think the realization that apes aren’t superior to humans when it comes to morality was what gave the sequel its oomph.

In the first film, Caesar forms his opinion that apes can be better than humans. The sequel was about Caesar awakening to the reality of the world yet again when he’s confronted by proof that his belief was wrong.

Aside from the story, the visuals are just outstanding. This film is a major achievement in special effects. That they don’t LOOK like special effects is where the true achievement lies.

As for favorite moment?


Koba stole this movie. The aforementioned APC scene was great. But Koba outwitting the two human guards by pretending to be a “stupid monkey” was just fantastic.

Couple scattered thoughts:

[li]Most of the apes were better developed characters than the humans! I felt like Koba, Caesar, and Caesar’s son had the best arcs in the movie.
[/li][li]The ape dialogue scenes were, bizarrely, better than the humans’. Why that might be: with ape language in translation, a writer can’t default to stock phrases. Characters just have to say what they’re thinking, as directly as possible. In a movie like this, when the dialogue doesn’t need implication, the straightforwardness saves time and improves the impact. Koba’s bit about human work was really effective.
[/li][li]Not sure what the next movie will be about. Seems like Caesar’s developed as far as he could.

First, just in case it comes across that I am trying my best to rail against the movie, it is still excellent. I don’t think anyone should really be reading opinions beyond the “see/don’t see” level until after they’ve seen the movie, and this is definitely a “see” movie for several reasons.

The emotional impact of the film is deep in subjective-ville, so I will leave that topic alone – I think moreso I was hoping to see this film “break the rules” in being a AAA movie with B movie principles, and

wonderfully outrageous set pieces such as anything to do with apes on horseback (with or without machine guns) or Koba commandeering the APC

fall solidly into the “amazing visuals” camp rather than the “amazing narrative” side of things, and don’t really break the rules. In the movie’s defense,

Koba’s “stupid monkey” routine was a great highlight of this same “B movie principles” idea of not only humanizing the apes, but in demonstrating intellectual superiority through betrayal. A great moment that you don’t get elsewhere that left me wishing for more such examples. Betrayal is even better entertainment than APCs.

So basically, in a long-winded way I agree 100% with Hepcat except on the emotional resonance. Weta Digital are absolutely the world-class masters of VFX and motion capture and I highly encourage anyone to go look up the available videos online of the actors recording this film, because they are awesome and as enjoyable as the film itself (though obviously in a different way), especially when you compare them vs. the finished product. They blur the lines so heavily between mocap performance art and “the regular person on the screen” acting that I agree it is a shame that to-date mocap has not received acknowledgement as full-blown acting, 'cause it totally is the same as acting… just in a weird sort of collaborative way with the VFX artists.

I actually thought it was pretty funny how

[spoiler]Gary Oldman’s character seemed to be a sort of strange analogue to Koba, though not a direct comparison because he was without treachery, was in his own strange way consumed by tribalism much like Koba was… honestly as amazing as Oldman is I felt his performance seemed phoned in here, esp. during moments such as his loudspeaker speech, though I’ve heard from others they were heartbroken by his scene with the iPad and being able to see his family again, so maybe I just am anti-sentimentality.

Non-amazing acting aside, Oldman’s character was enjoyable because it exists in a lovely grey area on the hero<->villain spectrum. No-one could argue that Oldman was a villain and there’d be a hard case to call him a hero since he refused to acknowledge the apes as anything but a “dehumanized” enemy, but unlike Koba’s portrayal, the acting wasn’t there… and at the very end of the day, IMO Koba was too mustache-twirly a villain (throwing Ash? over the balcony to his death was too much, and putting loyal apes into a prison bus right away was too much) to be considered a grey area of any sort[/spoiler]

Have you guys seen the original Planet of the Apes movies? Your sentiments make me think the modern retelling of this story is hitting the same beats as the original.

In the original Planet of the Apes, you have a strong connection to Chuck Heston. And of course the whole story hinges on the surprise ending. However, as each successive movie came out, you identified less and less with the humans, and more and more with the apes. Now maybe that’s because there was no continuity between the human characters or maybe it’s because the humans came across as caricatures after a while, but that’s the way it went - by the 3rd or 4th movie I don’t think you cared one whit who the humans were in the movie, you just came for the spectacle. I guess to a degree you knew the humans were going to lose the battle (or there wouldn’t be any “Planet” for the apes!) so the journey was to see how they got there.

Sounds like the modern series is going the same way: focus on the apes, with the humans becoming more and more background fodder. It makes sense, as it’s the apes’ story.

As a less lofty criticism,

MAJOR Spoilers

maybe I am just balls-hurt that the script wasn’t bold enough to kill off Casesar. Anyone else expecting to see his weak son forced to become the next bold Caesar to deal with Koba’s treachery? They could have gone places there… ESPECIALLY if no-one found out that it wasn’t the humans that actually killed Caesar creating even more tension against the humans. Caesar Jr. just casually being told his dad was still alive was a disappointment to me since the movie essentially ended back on Caesar and the same tensions between ape and human as at the start… as Mr. Zero said, they need to take the plot somewhere, and from start to end of Dawn… the bar didn’t move as much as it really should have


I don’t believe Koba was intended to be two dimensionally bad like a simian Snidely Whiplash. I think he was just insane. The torture he’d endured at the hands of humans meant he could never work with them in any capacity. When Caesar forced him to essentially allow the group that had tormented him for so much of his life into their world again, he broke.

I think the real tragedy for Caesar was seeing that Koba was able to turn so many apes against him. He’d truly believed that apes were better than humans in so many ways, but the truth of their shared selfishness and savagery dispelled all those beliefs.

If they make a third film (and I’m betting they do), it will be interesting to see how Caesar leads now that he’s aware that his people aren’t innately better than the humans from whom he liberated them. He’s going to need to emulate even more of the human world in order to maintain order (I’m guessing).[/spoiler]

I’ve never been a Planet of the Apes fan. Once you get past the core concept and the surprise twist in the original, it’s a fairly pedestrian scifi series, IMHO. So saying “Dawn of…” is my favorite PotA movie, while true, is damning with faint praise. Instead I’ll say it’s definitely one of the best scifi films I’ve seen in recent years, period. If nothing else, I’m grateful for a post-apoc film which isn’t just more damn zombies.

As with “Rise of…” this really is Caesar’s movie, so it’s great he’s so fantastic. But some of the supporting cast is fairly strong too, particularly Koba.

in case you didn’t see the trailer

I pretty much sussed out all the major plot points by the 20-minute mark, but that didn’t make the journey any less gripping. And what’s really cool to me is:

about the ending

Koba won - or at least, he provoked the war with the humans he wanted, despite Caesar & co.'s best efforts to prevent it. And if the rebooted franchise is heading in the same direction as the original film, we all know the war doesn’t turn out so good for us humans. It’s actually a surprisingly downbeat ending for a summer blockbuster. I approve!