Sunday, July 13, 2014

Thoughts on Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

I saw this yesterday and it's sticking with me. Going in, I had heard that Andy Serkis is to movies these days what Lon Chaney, Sr. was to movies in the early 20th century. With that I heartily agree. There's a great deal of excellent acting going on in the film by the motion capture actors and the CGI was not something that I even really noticed.

The humans were good and I like Jason Clarke a lot, ever since I saw him in Zero Dark Thirty. He's interesting.

But all this aside, it's the story that holds the viewer's attention. Parallel stories of ape and human both wanting the same thing: peaceful existence. Of course that's impossible because one side wants more than the other and that's the conflict.

There's a lot of frowning, a tremendous amount of anger in the film which is reflected in the posters and promotional materials. Any viewer shouldn't get too caught up in that, though. There are real emotional moments that flit past quickly but which give the film a great deal of depth if one pays attention. While the characters are all fairly under drawn with the exception of Caesar, the story works and works well.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes isn't just a strong science fiction film, it's a strong film. It's laced with a deep theme of trust and leadership and the costs of both. Caesar is troubled, Jason Clarke's Malcolm is troubled, too, and neither makes very good decisions in the beginning of the film. Yet they both try hard to be good people. Very hard.

And that's why it's a very good film. It's imbued with a sense of honor, and a reality check of the times it was created in. Coming away having seen it as an incredible, tense, anti-war statement may not be the popular view. There are other views embedded there: anti-gun is one that's permeating the Internet as of this writing but a sense of family and what one does to protect it is there, too. The aforementioned trust is central to the conflict between human and ape.

Within the 2 hours and 10 minutes are a great deal of things to think about. It's a worthy investment to spend the time in the theater now and think about it on the way home. It's a worthy investment to talk about the themes with friends over drinks, too.

As a matter of fact, it's worth your time to go see it again, too. Don't miss this one.

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