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Monday, July 21, 2014

Dawn of The Planet of the Apes

The desire for peace is a never ending quest. So many films has been made with this particular concept and very few can pull off the strings very well. Human nature is also very hard to capture. To see how these two elements merge into one film is a task that can spell disaster, right Roland Emmerich? Planet of the Apes has its desired and surprisingly satisfying reboot with 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The 1968 version is a thrilling sci-fi epic which left audiences astonished and hungry for more. After 6 films, it was rebooted - digging deeper on what actually happened and established a new timeline from the franchise. On its 2nd installment of the rebooted franchise, we are curious on how things will end up with the ape community as well as with humanity.

Set 7-8 years after the Simian virus infected the majority of the human race, humans are known to cease from existence. The apes maintains their own community lead by Ceasar, the ape from the first film, and they are at peace. It was not until they encountered humans at the foot of the mountain that they know they are not alone. There are still humans thriving to survive of what's left. Caesar confronts the humans and displayed their strength telling them to never come back to their sanctuary. The humans, however, needs the dam where the apes are currently residing. With this, they opt to negotiate with Ceasar who was happy to oblige them with a set of rules. Things don't go well as planned when certain events led to another and in just a matter of days, humans and ape alike are battling for their survival.

The first 20 minutes of the film is reminiscent of 2001: A Space Odyssey where we get to see the over-all situation without actual lines being uttered except for ape language. We see them thriving on their own and expanding a community where apes are existing with harmony. They eat, sleep and hunt for survival. They have completely eradicated the concept of human existence which is evidently working for them. We see how they the errors of man and it is mostly true. It was in those moments that made me shameful of being human. "From humans, Koba only learned hate. Nothing else", says Ceasar. This particular line brings us to the question, who is to blame with the war? Is it just that we blame it to the apes because we think they are superior and more threatening?

The film is ethically and morally driven piece of material. It leaves us to the thought of how destructive man can be and how it affects other organisms. It also questions our ability to co-exist with other species and how our superiority mocks peace.

These are all hard questions and when put into a film, it would be either preachy or downright boring. This is the beauty of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. It was able to manage to bring out the message and makes us root to the race we see fit. Pacing is not even a problem and it was able to maintain my attention.

Most of the credits for its success is to Andy Serkis. With his performance, the Academy should consider opening a Best Actor for Motion Capture Role category. Serkis was best known as Gollum and another ape, King Kong. Keri Russell and the rest of the human characters are well played. Gary Oldman is still on his game as the leader of the surviving humans. We see James Franco's character only in a cameo. And yes, he is dead in the film.

Matt reves was able to find the soul of the Planet of the Apes franchise, honing it to its full potential and furthermore succeeding its predecessor and matching up with the original. Another action flick proved that the genre can have its fun and at the same time find its soul and meaning. So why can't Transformers do it? Tsk tsk Michael Bay.



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