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July 22, 2024

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Movie Review

By Bernie and Sand Pilarski

Bernie said:

So there are all these monkeys, lots and lots of monkeys, and they had guns and a really belligerent attitude because they lived across the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin, and living in Marin makes you ever so much more important than the monkeys living in San Francisco.

That's the gist of the plot in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

But I jest, because they weren't monkeys at all, but apes. What's the difference? Well, monkeys and apes are both animals that are kind of like your relatives from Akron in that they all have forward facing eyes, just like the people of Akron after the bars have been closed for at least two hours. However, and this is important, monkeys are less intelligent, have tails, and have shoulder issues that prevent them from swinging from branches or quarterbacking for any team in the NFL except for the Jets.

To be precise, they were apes, but there were a lot of them, and they did have guns, and they did live in Marin.

So, Charlton Heston has already been launched into space and presumably is sound asleep in a malfunctioning space ship. The apes from the 2011 movie, who were being used as lab rats to test a new medicine that made them very smart but as it so happened was particularly deadly to the humans it was designed to help, flee to Marin to avoid the riots that break out when it is announced that a large number of 49er personal seat licenses have unexpectedly come open. Most of the people in the city are killed in the attempt to buy season tickets. Most of the people in Oakland refuse to buy Raider tickets and are killed by vigilantes attempting to assure enough seats are sold to secure televised broadcasts of home games.

The apes pass the time in Marin building nice stick homes, inventing jewelry, and telling monkey jokes - (I knew a monkey that put lipstick on her forehead because she wanted to make up her mind). But just when you think there are no humans left, you come to find out there are like hundreds of them living in a shopping mall in downtown San Francisco, and that didn't even like football and so didn't notice all the ticket riots. I won't bore with details, the movie will do that for you, but the apes (Q: Why can't monkeys dial 911? A: They can't find the 11 on the phone) have something the humans need, so the two sides must decide whether to cooperate or to give into the Chaney Doctrine of shooting at anything you disagree with, or just anything for the hell of it (Q: Why did the monkey get so excited after she finished her jigsaw puzzle in only 6 months? A: Because on the box it said "From 2 - 4 years").

Okay, I've taken some liberties in the retelling this tale, but I have to admit I found the version I saw to be boring and predictable. I do not agree with the majority of critics that say this was a good story. I will agree that it is a remarkable technical accomplishment. Film makers today are able to put on the screen exquisite, believable images of just about anything you can imagine, and this film is no exception. I would also agree that Andy Serkis (the human actor behind the chimpanzee character of Caesar) needs some kind of recognition for almost single-handedly creating an entirely new field of acting. Like his character Gollum in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, he manipulates the "motion-capture" technology to make the chimp Caesar absolutely believable.

Take away the technology however, and this was a real yawner.

My vote is that you save your money and wait for the videos to hit the free channels.

Sand said:

I was reasonably appreciative of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the precursor to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes ... although I actually had to go back and re-read my review of it, my loathing of James Franco having increased over time.

Nevertheless, my Jamesfrancophobia made me reluctant to see this sequel. Once I found out he wasn't in it, and saw some sterling reviews coming in about it, I was ready to have another peek into the world of Apekind.

Up front, I must say that CGI is getting better and better. There were probably only three or four scenes that made me squint with artistic disaffection, and they were very brief. The rest of the CGI was great. And once again, Andy Serkis does a superb job of making his character, Caesar, the center of the story and a charismatic personality. If you liked Rise at all, do go see this movie.

10 years after Rise, when almost all the humans have succumbed to death by a virus created to reverse human Alzheimer's, and there are apes made humanly intelligent by the same virus, Caesar and his formerly-caged cronies have created their own city and culture in the deep woods. Alas, a surviving pocket of humans is running out of power, and the hydroelectric dam that can afford them the standard of living they want lies in the midst of Caesar's apedom.

I would watch this again on Netflix, if there were no cooking channel shows to zone out to.

Uh oh, that sounds like I hated the film, but I didn't. There were just some things...

As in, me thinking to myself,

Oh, no, you're not going to show us a scene in which

... the son goes and does...
...the best friend goes and does...
...a baby...?
...an asshole...?
...another asshole...?
...all the girls are wearing what?...

But oh, yes, they did. Writers Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, and Mark Bomback had to have used a book called, "A Writer's Guide to Familiar Plot Twists," because there were all too many of them. For 130 minutes.

We all know how the movie ends, just as we know how all stories about Native Americans are going to end. Apes and humans can't seem to find respect for each other any more than humans and humans can't find respect for each other.

On the brightest side, if they make a "three-quel," I'm going to go see it. Statue of Liberty on the beach? Nah, I really want to see what happens to San Francisco after the apes invade and read the chefs' recipes in North Beach.

Article © Bernie and Sand Pilarski. All rights reserved.
Published on 2014-07-14
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