The Coincidental Critic

Exploring the art of storytelling.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes


“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” was unpredictable, and I was totally immersed in the story.  I had no idea what to expect.  I couldn’t tell where it was going, which was exciting.  There have been many “Planet of the Apes” movies, but this was still refreshing and original.

“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” was the perfect sequel.  It stood on its own and didn’t need its prequel.  It was a continuation of the story of Caesar’s life, but it had its own unique plot.  “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” did reference “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” by mentioning the Simian flu and by having the characters visit Caesar’s old home, but that did not define this movie.  “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” was the perfect example of how sequels should be.

I’m an animal lover, so of course, I love how the Planet of the Apes series is about the human-wildlife conflict, particularly between apes.  It was fascinating to see the creators experiment with this concept.  For once, the humans weren’t entirely at fault in a film.  There were no true good guys and bad guys. The apes started the war because they felt threatened by the humans.  I pitied the apes less and empathized with them more.  This commentary proved that we’re all the same, no matter the species.

I have a strong interest in sign language because I took a course in college, so I found it fascinating to watch the apes communicate in that way.  The signs were accurate too, which illustrated how much effort the cast and crew put into making this movie as realistic as possible.

It comes at no surprise at all that the CGI in “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” was amazing.  The animators made the apes come to life.  They moved, acted, and looked just like real apes.  Also, shout out to Andy Serkis for being one of the most talented actors of all time.  He brings so much humanity and life to his characters without even showing his true face.

The set in “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” was elaborate and beautifully detailed.  My favorite part of the set was the apes’ home.  It was naturalistic, but branching towards civilization.  One scene that really stood out for me was when Malcolm visited the apes, and he walked on the path leading up to their home.  This path was surrounded by large sharp branches.  The crew made the setting detailed and authentic.

“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” had a fascinating opening.  It mirrored that of its prequel’s ending.  “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” ended with the spread of the Simian flu across the world.  This was explained by showing trails of light traveling across a globe, the light representing the virus.  “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” opened showing the same globe, though this time, it was different.  Instead of the trails of light spreading out, they slowly faded away, illustrating the fall of civilization.  In the foreground, news clips reported the effects of the pandemic.  This introduction immediately caught my interest and also provided a recap on where the previous film left off.

The first scene (after the opening) took me by surprise.  We saw the apes in the woods, grouped together.  At first, I thought that they were watching humans, scared for their lives.  But all of a sudden, they started charging, not towards a human or threat; instead, they ran towards a herd of elk.  I was not expecting that.  Immediately, we were shown how much the apes have evolved since the previous film.  They are now hunters that use weapons to catch their prey.

One of my favorite scenes in “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” was when the humans drove back to ape territory to try to compromise with them after being warned to stay away.  The scene was filmed from the back seat of the Jeep they were driving.  The car bumped along, and all we could hear was the rain pouring down.  We could see the other passengers in the car and the windshield wipers zipping back and forth.  Everything else was still and silent.  Then, Malcolm got out of the car, and we saw him leave through the window.  It was a cool scene and made me feel like a part of the film.  I was one of the characters, riding along with them.  This scene also set the tone to follow.  It was dark and peaceful, yet eerie.  It was the calm before the storm.  All of these details were great artistic choices made by director, Matt Reeves.

I’m curious to see where the series goes from here.

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This entry was posted on February 18, 2015 by in Movie and tagged , , , , , , .
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