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Sunday, December 28, 2014
Steampunk Granny's Review of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
This post is reprinted from my article in Go Jane News
Planet of the Apes: Then
If you’re my age, you’ve probably seen the original 1968 film, Planet of the Apes, starring Charlton Heston as Georg Taylor, the American astronaut who with his crew crash landed on a strange planet after spending thousands of years in hibernation. The film which is based on Pierre Boulle’s 1963 novel, La Planete des Singes, introduced moviegoers to intelligent gorillas and speechless, animalistic humans.
The film’s ending, along with Taylor’s shocking realization of his true location, is seared forever in my mind and I became an instant fan. Unfortunately, I found most of the sequels to Planet of the Apes a big disappointment, but at the time I wasn’t sure why. It was only after watching the 2011 Rise of the Planet of the Apes and this year’s blockbuster, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes that I understood what was missing from the earlier films.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Now
To give my thoughts on The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, I do need to mention the 2011 film The Rise of the Planet of the Apes which was directed by Rupert Wyatt and starred James Franco as Will Rodman and Andy Serkis as Caesar.
The 2011 film did what all the previous films in the franchise did not do. It allowed the movie audience to become one with an intelligent species that is endangered in the real world. Will Rodman (Franco) a scientist from the Sen-Sys Biotech Company is working on a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, a disease that his father is victim to…but we all know that the plans of mice and men often go astray.
The company does its research on chimpanzee subjects and the drug makes one of the chimps, Bright Eyes, extremely intelligent, but she goes on a rampage. Due to this mishap, Will is forced to take her infant and raise it. Infant Caesar grows more intelligent each day, but he still has animal tendencies that Will Rodman must deal with.
The drug may be a blessing for the primate characters of the film, but its side effect on humans is catastrophic. While the airborne disease becomes a pandemic nightmare for mankind, Caesar and his fellow intelligent chimpanzee friends escape to Muir Woods; their new home.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes changed the game plan on the franchise by telling the story from a new perspective. Caesar became the hero of the film; the survivor against man’s cruelty towards non-humans.
The 2014 film directed by Matt Reeves and starring Andy Serkis as Caesar, Jason Clarke as Malcolm, Gary Oldman as Drefus and Toby Kibbell a bonobo and Caesar’s second in command, focused on the lives of the primates living in Muir Woods.
In the 2014 film we see Caesar in charge of his troop of fellow primates. They’ve not only built shelter for themselves, but they successfully hunt for food. When Drefus (Oldman) the leader of a small band of human survivors living in a section of San Francesco sends Malcom and his team to check for a source of water power to keep their city running, they encounter Caesar’s son, Blue Eyes (Nick Thurston) and Rocket’s son, Ash (Doc Shaw). Ash is injured.
The film deals with Caesar and Malcolm trying to keep peace between the two species, but mistakes are made by both sides and it’s not only the humans who thirst for supremacy; stupid choices are made by both men and beast alike.
Please go see the movie. I guarantee that you will leave the theatre rethinking our place in nature. I loved this last film the best because we were witness to an old story told through new eyes and it felt right. We need to protect the other life forms that share this planet with us and we need to do it now.