Thursday, June 25, 2015

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes of the Intergalactic War of the Total Carnage of the Blood of the Innocent People of the Planet of the Apes. 

As it is less-commonly known.

(Some Spoilers beyond.)

So as a result of the drug that caused the apes to become smart in Rise of the Planet of the Apes of the Beginning of the Events of the War of the Population of the Apes of the Planet of the Apes, being given to humans, there is a global epidemic that wipes out nearly all of humanity. Amongst those left are Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, and Gary Oldman. They need power, and unknowingly trespass on ape land -- Caesar's (Andy Serkis) land -- looking for it. War almost breaks out for the first two acts, and then finally does for real right as soon as the film ends.

Jason Clarke regrets signing something maybe? Or left the stove on?

Okay, right up front I have to say: this movie is just awful. I didn't expect to love it going in, but I did expect to appreciate it. I mean, seriously -- it has an impressive 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, but there's no way that a movie about smart apes warring with post-apocalyptic humans is ever going to be a favorite movie of mine. I expected to tolerate the plot, and appreciate the artistry, but the plot wound up being boring with a super-sized side of irritating, and the CGI varied from just as expected to weirdly cheap.

The animation budget seemed to be spent on just two apes -- Caesar and the villainous Koba (Toby Kebbell) -- they were the only two who were consistently flawless and perfectly detailed. The rest of the apes were generally alright -- about the quality they were in Rise. Anything that was animated and not an ape... oh my goodness. The herd of elk at the beginning looked like a video game. Even explosions looked cheap. And most interaction between man and ape was not quite convincing. The ape's expressions were realistic because there were talented actors behind that CGI, but motion-capture technology is not enough of a novelty to me anymore for that alone to impress. Is it just because I'm a year late to the party, or am I missing something?

He looks great, but honestly, I'm still more impressed by Gollum in The Lord of the Rings.

And even if the effects were as awesome as they were hyped to be there would still be that plot to deal with. Arg. First of all, whose genius idea was it for this to be a two-hour, ten-minute buildup to a war that's gonna happen in the next movie? I was waiting the whole time for nice battle of epic scope, and all I got was one little skirmish near the end. This movie was so anti-war that they actually didn't have the war. 

In the middle of the movie I had a thought that maybe they would prevent the war, and no battle would take place in the whole movie -- and that they'd filmed the battle clips showed in the trailer just to deceive us. If that had actually happened this would have been the best movie ever; but still super boring.

"Onward to war, faithful black steed!" "Yes my King Kong-- er, Koba!"

Like I said the first two acts were just the dramatic threat of war, and that was boring enough as it was, but on top of that, neither side was actually bad. Caesar, the leader of the apes, and Jason Clarke, the spokesperson for the humans were both perfectly willing to get along peacefully and trustingly.

"But people -- there has to be a war. It's important. What do we do?"
"Contrive the heck out of it."
(This was probably not a real conversation the movie's writers had.)

And in comes Koba, who hates humans, and wants them gone for good. And in comes Gary Oldman, who's a distrusting coward, and with his perfectly reasonable act of precaution of making sure the humans have the means of defending themselves, Koba is able to misunderstand and justify his rebellion. Misunderstandings. Yep. Those wonderful, ever-helpful misunderstandings.

Interestingly enough, this type of misunderstandings in movies -- of which this film could be the poster child -- is my biggest pet peeve in movies. When two seconds of thought or just a drop of common sense could make sense of the matter, but it doesn't, because this plot point it's contriving needs to happen to keep the story going. Well, the story keeps going, but now I don't even want it to.

That was what pushed the movie over the edge for me.

No. Just... no. Please.

Besides that, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes of the War of the Stupidity of the Humans and Apes of the Failed Peace of the Planet of the Apes tries so hard to be serious and culturally relevant with drama and understated statements, but does it all so wrong. It's humorless, aloof and totally uninvolving; not drawing us in, so when things get serious and dramatic we're still thinking about how ridiculous it is that apes are riding horses, and can't get involved in the emotion of the moment. And its "cultural statements" are nothing more than humanistic sentimentality designed to trick us into forgetting that this movie never actually says anything.

I love Andy Serkis, and all his work I've ever seen. And I like Jason Clarke a lot too, who gave a valiant effort to the task of carrying this huge wet blanket of a film along with Serkis. They're both superiorly talented actors, but the film swallowed them. Good grief -- it swallowed Gary Oldman for crying out loud! What kind of bottomless pit of a movie is so terrible that it pulls talent like this down with it? That is actually very impressive. I'm impressed by that. And that's about all.


  1. I think you and I have a very similar opinion on this movie xD
    good reveiw

    1. Alright, I'm glad I'm not alone with this opinion! :P Thank you Daniel!