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Author Topic: Planet of the Apes  (Read 6040 times)

Corndog

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Re: Planet of the Apes
« Reply #30 on: April 16, 2021, 07:09:22 AM »
Nice write up and one of my favourite films. I should go back and watch the originals which I havenít watched since I was a child.  As far as Franco, I thought his behaviour had a bit to do as to why he hasnít gone onto stardom.

Definitely. The 2011 Oscars stand out when he hosted with Anne Hathaway. It was a great idea in concept, but Franco seemed high and checked out the entire time. Felt bad for Hathaway who seemed to be giving it her all.
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Corndog

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Re: Planet of the Apes
« Reply #31 on: April 16, 2021, 01:08:18 PM »
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (Matt Reeves, 2014)

I think coming to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in the year 2021, a year into a worldwide pandemic, is both perfect and a little too real to grapple with. Since I will try to focus on the film itself for the rest of the review, let me just comment on the spread of a deadly disease here in my first paragraph, because it was very unsettling. Of course when we left at the end of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, infected lab tech Franklin was found dead in his room, with this mysterious disease already spreading. As we start Dawn, we find out that the disease, known as the Simian Flu, has decimated humanity, essentially opening the door for the apes to take over dominant control of the world. There is in-fighting between humans, and poor disease control response. This is all too real to relive since that is essentially what he response has been to COVID-19, which is endlessly scary and unsettling. We got lucky, yes lucky, that this pandemic wasnít worse. Imagine if the mortality rate was higher than it was. Imagine. With how we as a country and world responded to this pandemic, we too would be on the verge of the Planet of the Apes. Itís a hard pill to swallow and honestly hard to live with knowing that humans donít care about humans.

As mentioned, we are roughly a decade later and the Simian Flu has nearly eradicated humanity, with the Muir Woods apes living peacefully north of San Francisco. But after not encountering humans for a few years, a small contingent led by Malcolm (Jason Clarke) comes upon the apes in hopes of restarting and restoring the dam in the area to provide power to the small community of humans still living in San Francisco led by Dreyfus (Gary Oldman). Malcolm is able to negotiate a peaceful agreement with Caesar (Andy Serkis) to allow the humans to get the dam running and otherwise let the apes alone. But Caesarís right hand ape Koba (Toby Kebbell) takes offense, knowing the evil of humanity. Caesar must grapple with knowing both the good and evil of humanity, and play the go between for the humans and apes who are on the precipice of war.

Again, setting aside the political and real world commentary with regards to the pandemic leading to this film, because I could write an entire review addressing those elements which, admittedly, are extratextual to the film itself, I think this is a great film that is even more interesting because of what has happened since. Worth noting right out of the gate that there is a director change, from Rupert Wyatt who ably directed the first film of the trilogy, to Matt Reeves who will take this trilogy home with a whole new tone and direction. Reeves seems well suited for taking over at this point, as Dawn is able to balance both the dramatic scenes, the action scenes, and even the emotionally raw and very human scenes. And I say human like the bits of humanity donít come directly out of the interactions with and between Caesar. He is the most interesting part of the film because none of this is binary to him. He loves humans and he loves apes. He sees both the good and bad in both and that conflict within him drives the dramatic narrative that leads to the thrilling conclusion of the film. And Jason Clarkeís Malcolm is right there to match him. Both characters are great representatives for their species and the middle ground, gray area that so many from both sides ignore.

And on that note, Serkis and Clarke both deliver incredible performances in the film. Serkis especially is even better here with much more to do than he was in Rise. He carries the emotional weight of the film and some of the best, most insightful scenes in the film are quiet moments between him and his family. Thatís what surprised me the most about Dawn, how emotionally resonate and proficient it was for a movie about CGI apes. Really poignant. And the CGI, my goodness! Even for 2014 standards, I think the visual effects work here is really good, and that includes dressing up a post-apocalyptic San Francisco. Itís all very seamless and a lot of credit can be given to the motion capture actors alongside Serkis. Itís quite a feat to be able to deliver a finished product, from all the filmmakers involved in production, to craft a blockbuster event movie about super-intelligent, speaking apes and make it such an entertaining, and frankly emotionally impactful film.

At this point in the new trilogy, I am really looking forward to where the series goes in the finale, and thatís not to say that Dawn feels like a bridge film between the setup and the finale. Quite the opposite in fact as Dawn is a great film that I believe stands on its own. But by being a building block on top of another good building block in Rise, I see endless potential for where War might go in the final act. And look, one of the major gripes I had with the original ďoriginĒ trilogy was that they felt like three films that could have been combined to be one. Here, these films (so far) each have their own voice, their own story, and are really excelling at building a world that is believable and that makes me want to spend as much time in it as possible. Not an easy feat. Reeves and team did an incredible job with this film, and the possibilities with the final film of the series are really endless, which is exciting as Iím not positioned to think I know what might happen next, and by separating itself from the original series of films, they are not beholden to coming to some foregone conclusion. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is as exciting a blockbuster film as weíve had in the last decade, and that is really saying something.

★ ★ ★ ★ - Love It
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Junior

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Re: Planet of the Apes
« Reply #32 on: April 16, 2021, 09:21:32 PM »
It's this movie that has me super pumped for Reeves's upcoming Batman movie. I think it's basically a masterpiece of modern blockbuster filmmaking, rivaling stuff like MI Fallout and MMFR. I mean, the emotional depth of Caesar is honestly kind of incredible. That takes a lot of care and attention to work and not only does it work it works impeccably.
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Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Planet of the Apes
« Reply #33 on: April 16, 2021, 10:55:18 PM »
I dunno why, I just can't get past the fact these films want us to cheer for the destruction of humanity. And keep in mind I'm the person who thinks people are generally terrible and selfish. I do really like Reeves previous films but I couldn't bring myself to watch this film after feeling so emotionally isolated by the first film.

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Re: Planet of the Apes
« Reply #34 on: April 16, 2021, 11:15:08 PM »
"I was 16 when it hit. ... They had the balls to call us the lucky ones. ... Ain't nothing lucky about getting kicked off the top of the food chain." - Love and Monsters

It's a line that stuck with me. Part of the reason why people are generally terrible and selfish is that we've always been on top, but instead of being a noble king elevating everyone, humanity around the world has a history of racism, sexism and discrimination. It's animal farm where humans see themselves as more equal than others. The first Apes film comes up with a theory that allows our dominance to be challenged, for the first time since dinosaurs died.

The climax has you cheering for the apes, but the ending is not cheering for the destruction of humanity. The Apes don't want to rule, they want their own land where they can thrive and be  left alone. Some humans understand that, but there are always others who need to show dominance, which means there will always be conflict. Dawn complicates the tension by showing pacifists and aggressors among the humans and the apes.

Corndog

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Re: Planet of the Apes
« Reply #35 on: April 17, 2021, 09:47:07 AM »
Itís certainly a delicate balancing act, and having watched WAR last night I can say by the conclusion itís pretty apparent the apes are the protagonists of the story. I agree with 1SOís assessment. The question is less about dominance and more about co-existence. The failure by both humans and apes to accept a scenario where both can peacefully co-exist is what makes the trilogy a dramatic tragedy. I think the filmmakers do an incredible job at striking that balance and making the viewer somewhat conflicted.

Ultimately, I wasnít conflicted. I wasnít rooting for the humans or the apes, I was rooting for the good humans and the good apes. It accurately reflects humanity and reality in that way. Nothing is ever as black and white as us vs. them.
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Knocked Out Loaded

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Re: Planet of the Apes
« Reply #36 on: April 17, 2021, 02:19:28 PM »
I liked what you reflected upon in your review very much, Corndog. Dawn is the pinnacle among the rebooted Apes movies in my universe and it features one of the most memorable scenes from the last few years:

https://youtu.be/Ypt0Sl1akIo
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Corndog

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Re: Planet of the Apes
« Reply #37 on: April 17, 2021, 07:02:41 PM »
Thanks KOL! That is a great scene, hearing The Band was like a jolt.
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Re: Planet of the Apes
« Reply #38 on: May 03, 2021, 12:08:01 PM »
War for the Planet of the Apes (Matt Reeves, 2017)

As we reach the conclusion of the blockbuster trilogy of the decade, coming off Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which is my eyes was one of the most balanced blockbuster films Iíve ever seen, the stakes and expectations for War for the Planet of the Apes are impossibly high. There is literally nowhere to go but down for the final episode, which is often the case with some of the best trilogies of all time. The Godfather Part II, Empire Strikes Back, even The Last Jedi (for this viewer) all set expectations that the next film had no chance of living up to. And while that company is very high, I do think the comparison is apt. And as with those other films, I would say that War for the Planet of the Apes is a letdown, but only in so much as itís not as good as the film that came before it. Itís still a great movie, and still a wonderful conclusion to the new trilogy which revitalized the series.

After the conclusion of Dawn, the intelligent apes led by Caesar (Andy Serkis) are at odds with a military group, led by a ruthless colonel (Woody Harrelson) who is out to hunt them down. After the colonel kills his family, Caesar sets out to track the colonel down, while the rest of the apes escape to a desert safe haven. But after learning the apes were captured, Caesar and his closest compatriots pick up an orphan child, Nova, and come across a lonely chimp named Bad Ape (Steve Zahn), who helps them get to the colonelís prison camp compound where their friends are being held and worked nearly to death in terrible conditions. But as the apes come to the point of breaking out, another human military group comes to take down the rebel unit led by the colonel.

War for the Planet of the Apes is a film that feels like it makes its way back to a pure blockbuster format, straying from the emotional depth that was created by the first two films. And while that sounds like a dig, itís only a slight one because Matt Reeves and team have perfected the blockbuster style of filmmaking, with breathtaking visual effects (it is a crime the series never won an Oscar for their visual effects work), interesting characters and performances, and an elevated delivery of action sequences. But, what made Dawn so great was the emotional depth of character that was crafted throughout. And while some of that naturally seeps over into the conclusion, the film is much more focused on the action scenes and resolution. I think this is almost a crutch of having the reach that conclusion with the series, the filmmakers are limited to going one particular place. That being said, I do think not having Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver as part of the writing team this go around (they were still producers) hurt. Their absence was felt as it lacked that extra connection that helped it fall short of the greatness we had all hoped for with the conclusion. But the film is still a visual splendor and a fitting conclusion to the story.

I actually donít have a ton to say about this film in particular. Itís a cool take on a prisoner of war escape movie, it has heavy influence from something like The Ten Commandments, with Caesar leading his people to the ďpromised landĒ. But I really want to focus on the context of this movie and the series as a whole. What a crowning achievement for Andy Serkis, whose motion capture performance in this film and the entire series is literally groundbreaking and revolutionary, on top of his work as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings movies. Itís an acting and performing style that is very rare, Serkisí work will be the blueprint for many more like it in the years to come with the advancement of that technology and visual effects in general. Honestly, he deserves an honorary Oscar for his achievement in this series and the LOTR series. He has helped change moviemaking for the better.

As I understand it, since Disney has acquired Fox, and therefore the Planet of the Apes franchise, potentially more Apes movies are in the works. I have no idea if this has only come as a result of the acquisition, or if Fox was preparing to make boatloads of more money on the franchise anyway, but I for one am excited about any additional content in this world, especially if many of the same collaborators are back on the project. While the trilogy is a nice package with beginning and end, and some may claim a new movie, or movies, might threaten to ruin this trilogy, I say hogwash! The trilogy is what it is, and always will be. These are three films that should be celebrated as a tremendous achievement, most of all Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. But even going back to the originals from the late 60s/early 70s, this marathon has been a hell of a fun ride with perhaps the weirdest successful movie franchise of all time that managed to find new life in a new century. Cheers!

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Corndog

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Re: Planet of the Apes
« Reply #39 on: May 03, 2021, 12:26:50 PM »
Final Ranking:

1. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
2. Planet of the Apes (1968)
3. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
4. Conquest of the Planet of the Apes
5. War for the Planet of the Apes
6. Beneath the Planet of the Apes
7. Escape from the Planet of the Apes
8. Battle for the Planet of the Apes
9. Planet of the Apes (2001)
"Time is the speed at which the past decays."

 

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