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EVA

...OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

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I finally saw this today, so I thought I'd take it upon myself to start up a thread for spoilery discussion of DAWN and future installments of what is suddenly the most interesting franchise in Hollywood right now.

Because DAWN was...excellent, and so unlike most anything else Hollywood churns out this time of year. I mean, if you took out the hundreds of millions of dollars worth of CGI, it could've almost been a play. All the action takes place in basically two locations, and it's all firmly rooted in character. Everything that happens is the result of plausible, sensible character motivations and understandable misperceptions based on limited information. It's classical storytelling in a context where, sadly, you don't see it much anymore.

I can't tell you what at breath of fresh air it was to see a big summer blockbuster franchise where the plot wasn't some variation of "We've got to get the Magic Thing from Wherever" or "We've got to stop Evil Man from using some preposterous means to destroy the City/World/Universe." DAWN, at its heart, is a simple story of two disparate groups of people (well, in this case, a group of people and a group of apes) who have to figure out how to live with each other, if they can at all. Things certainly get small-scale apocalyptic for them by the end, but even once the CG has kicked into overdrive and shit is blowing up, it never stops being about people (and apes) making weighty choices regarding how they're going to live.

It's a shockingly adult take on monkeys riding horses and firing machine guns.

This was probably the best melancholy ending to a summer blockbuster since Batman and Commisioner Gordon agreed to lie about Harvey Dent at the end of THE DARK KNIGHT. Several movies of this sort have tried to pull the "hero has to make a moral compromise" ending in the wake of that, but none have really earned them the way DAWN did.

I haven't seen more than 15% of RISE OF...(basically just the rampage at the end), but after this one, I think I'm in for whatever comes next.

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Oh my god, I was wrong. It was Earth all along. Yes, you've finally made a monkey out of me.

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Well, damn, now I know how Niners felt last weekend. Nobody wants to talk about this awesome movie. Which leads me to believe people haven't seen this awesome movie.

More people need to see this awesome movie.

Meanwhile, DAWN only dropped a flat 50% in its second weeekend, which is the best hold for one of these types of movies all year. I'll be interested to see how it does against HERCULES and LUCY next week, two movies which could go either way - both look like trash that nobody would give a second thought to if not for the hot stars in the lead.

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I still want to discuss it. The CGI was fucking incredible. I'm not sure I touched on that. It's what makes this all the more amazing because it was the perfect combination of summer blockbuster and legit drama. The Apes had discernible personalities and both the humans and apes were kept from being black and white...  they had their motivations based on survival and they all reacted logically to the given situations. I'm trying to pay attention to Battleground so maybe I'll discuss it further later on but what a great fucking movie it was. I have RISE on Blu Ray, I might fire it up again later this week. This franchise has so much potential now.

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I loved this film. It was completely engrossing from beginning to end. The time just flew by and every transition was seamless. Just a wonderful movie and I'm really just so locked into the series. Couldn't agree more with the rest of y'all.

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Over all I think it is a good movie, but it was very frustrating in the second half.

From the omnibus 

I think the Apes movie fell apart after Ceaser was shot. After that there was way too much stupid shit. From why nobody even attempted to find Ceaser's corpse, to how the apes were instantly able to use guns as effectively as the humans who were trained to use them. Koba just had that Max Cady is Magic writing in the last half. Meaning he accomplished stuff just because the writer needed him to. When he took down the tank, I wanted to start booing. Even the way it was shot, exposed how it could not work. 

There was also the issue that Koba (or is it Kobo) would have been the only suspect after Ceaser was murdered. I don't think the writers wanted the apes to be portrayed as idiots. 

The human characters were universally worthless. The doctor holding the gun on Gary Oldman without even attempting to explain his plan stands out as nearly Transformers stupid. Oldman never felt like a military veteran. He seemed terrified of the gun he was holding. Like it was fine china and would break at any second. 

It is not a bad movie, but the Ape invasion could have been handled much better. Them using guns introduced too many logic problems that could have been avoided. 

I think Ceaser and Maurice being taken off the table for most of the second half hurt, because they were the only real characters.

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I wish I could be friends with Maurice in real life. He's up there with The Rock and Adam Richman pre-Instagram rant as the celebrities I most want to hang out with.

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Before getting his name, I called him Kelsey Grammer. 

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Rocket also had very little to do with the story.  He was supposed to be Caesar's right hand man but was essentially just a glorified extra and had no reaction when finding out that his son Ash had died.  They should have it where Rocket was the one to kill Koba.

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was fucking awesome.  The reboot with Marky Mark really sucked so I was rather hesitant when i heard about the sequel.

 

Foolish me.  This is the only franchise in history that gets better exponentially with the release of every movie.

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I've only ever seen the 1968 original, though I plan to check out the two new ones.  They look pretty good, and I'm glad to see EVA's review in the OP since I liked the first trailers for DAWN, but more recent ones made it look like a lame shoot-em-up film.  I guess they felt like they had to dumb down the advertising.

Deep thought: Shouldn't something DAWN before it RISEs?  Weird choice for titles.

 

Here's a fun read: the Development section in the wiki for the 2001 remake.  At one point the human protagonist was to have the same name as a pretty well-known character from a different sci-fi franchise, and one writer got fired for refusing to include an exec's completely stupid idea into his script.

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So is this a prequel? Or a reboot? Or a re-imagining? Or a re-imagining prequel with a reboot?

 

It's difficult to keep track of this stuff anymore.

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Its a reboot but these movies are leading up to I guess a remake of the original. Either way, they've been awesome.

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Another remake of the original?

The first remake had an Aperaham Lincoln reference maybe the next one will have an Ape Ruth or Apeolf Hitler.

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Another remake of the original?

The first remake had an Aperaham Lincoln reference maybe the next one will have an Ape Ruth or Apeolf Hitler.

 

 

They're taking it a little more seriously this time. More science fiction and less "sci-fi."

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Its a reboot but these movies are leading up to I guess a remake of the original. Either way, they've been awesome.

Well, I think another one of the things that makes this the best franchise going right now is that they don't seem all that concerned with hitting the expected plot points or rushing to the next thing that's supposed to happen. I mean, obviously, we know this is all heading toward a planet ruled by talking apes, but they don't seem to be in a tremendous hurry to get there and are instead content to tell whatever story they find interesting along the way. Like, you don't watch DAWN and get the sense that it's just killing time until an astronaut shows up and says get your stinking paws off me yadda yadda yadda.

In fact, I bet we never see that story in this franchise. I get the sense this production team would rather tell you a story you don't know than just retell the same old story everyone knows by heart.

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Okay, let's talk about some of this, at last.

Over all I think it is a good movie, but it was very frustrating in the second half. From the omnibus I think the Apes movie fell apart after Ceaser was shot. After that there was way too much stupid shit. From why nobody even attempted to find Ceaser's corpse,

I'm not sure when anyone was supposed to be doing this. After Ceaser was shot, the village was set on fire, the apes were in a panic and the women and children were immediately sent into hiding while Koba hustled all the males off to war, and the humans were running for their lives. Even if someone had a thought to spare for Ceasar's body in the aftermath, they would have to assume it had burned up with the rest of the village.

to how the apes were instantly able to use guns as effectively as the humans who were trained to use them.

Okay, first, on the subject of apes learning to shoot guns in general: This is what folks in the screenwriting biz call a "buy-in." It's just something you have to be willing to accept within the context of the story, and either you can or you can't. They're not going to waste time trying to convince you of something preposterous. Buy it and come along on the story, or don't. For me, I was so invested in the story they were telling at that point, I was more than willing to go along with monkeys shooting guns while riding horses (and I was NOT AT ALL beforehand). As implausible as it was, "apes with guns" seemed necessary to the themes of the story.

Secondly, I don't think there was any implication that the apes were instantly as effective with guns as the humans. In fact, they didn't seem all that accurate with them at all. They really only seemed capable of pointing them in a general direction and spraying. Which was lethal up close, but not all that effective from a distance. The humans were lighting their asses up (recall the brutal scene where Blue Eyes looks on in horror as Ceasar's promise that many apes would die in a war comes true) and winning the battle handily until the apes took down the tank and breached the wall.

Koba just had that Max Cady is Magic writing in the last half. Meaning he accomplished stuff just because the writer needed him to. When he took down the tank, I wanted to start booing. Even the way it was shot, exposed how it could not work.

Koba definitely turned into Super Ape at the end, there's no question. Maybe it could've been toned down in spots, but I don't think it was a dealbreaker for the movie or anything.

 

There was also the issue that Koba (or is it Kobo) would have been the only suspect after Ceaser was murdered. I don't think the writers wanted the apes to be portrayed as idiots.

This is just wrong, though. Ceasar was shot with a gun. We're given no indication up to that point that the apes have ever seen another ape use a gun. Who else would they suspect but the humans, whom they are generally distrustful of and have done some sketchy things of late, including smuggling a gun into their territory?

And again, it was a mass panic situation being orchestrated by Koba. Even if Maurice or Rocket had been like, "Hold up, y'all, Koba been acting crazy lately," nobody was in the mindset to listen to them and parse out the evidence (not that they would've had any evidence as powerful as the gun anway).

The human characters were universally worthless.

I disagree with "worthless," but I would say there was a dropoff in characterization after Malcolm and Dreyfus.

Kirk Acevada's character was just an asshole with no redeeming qualities, and Malcolm's family were just there to be saintly. Although I did appreciate that his son wasn't written to be an obnoxious brat or an idiot who constantly fell into danger.

The doctor holding the gun on Gary Oldman without even attempting to explain his plan stands out as nearly Transformers stupid.

He didn't really have a plan beyond giving Ceasar a chance to take down Koba and get the apes under control. Which is exactly what he said to Dreyfus.

Really, the bad thing about that situation was that the explosion didn't actually take down the tower and kill all the apes. It was not very effective at all. So it kinda made him look bad that he almost ruined everything with a half-assed plan.

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Also, while Koba was acting crazy and had it out with Caesar he was also respected. He wasn't just some no-name ape. He was very intelligent and had his followers. Some of the apes shared his overall hatred for humans.

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Also, while Koba was acting crazy and had it out with Caesar he was also respected. He wasn't just some no-name ape. He was very intelligent and had his followers. Some of the apes shared his overall hatred for humans.

 

Caesar's son being among that number for a time.

 

And IMO Caesar wasn't pro-human as Koba insinuated.  Caesar was anti-conflict, and was only anti-conflict up to a point.  At the end of the movie, Caesar, albeit reluctantly so, seemed willing to fight a war with humankind that he personally did not start even though the surviving members of the human colony can personally testify that the Apes were tricked into starting the conflict.

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War of the Planet of the Apes starts shooting this fall.

 

Woody Harrelson is signed to be the main villain, Gabriel Chavarria is signed to play an unknown human role, Andy Serkis will return to do the voice and mocap for Caesar, and Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) is returning to direct.

 

I was kinda hoping that Rupert Wyatt would come back to direct.  I like what he did with Rise more than what Reeves did with Dawn.

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Hopefully in this new one most of the apes have developed speech so you aren't stuck watching sign language with subtitles for two hours.

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War of the Planet of the Apes starts shooting this fall.

 

Woody Harrelson is signed to be the main villain, Gabriel Chavarria is signed to play an unknown human role, Andy Serkis will return to do the voice and mocap for Caesar, and Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) is returning to direct.

 

I was kinda hoping that Rupert Wyatt would come back to direct.  I like what he did with Rise more than what Reeves did with Dawn.

 

I had such high hopes for Dawn and want to like it so bad, but I've nodded off everytime I've tried to watch it. I don't know if it's purely the director, but the fact that it's so self-contained doesn't help either.

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