Steen: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
With its $73 million box office take, this film, like its characters, has come out swinging (oh sorry!) and is poised to set records this summer.
This sequel, which takes place 10 years after the outbreak of the ALZ-113 virus that killed millions, has the human survivors living in squalor in what is left of San Francisco and the Apes living in their natural habitat in the woods around the destroyed city—with neither ape nor human knowing the other is near.
Directed by Matt Reeves, Andy Serkis reprises his role as the ape leader, Caesar, the genetically evolved ape who was raised and taught by humans and is conflicted when faced with the reality that his loyalties may be divided.
What is quite incredible is the technology used to bring this to the screen and I can’t begin to fathom what filming must have consisted of. With the Tim Burton film, ape suits and make up was used, here it’s all ‘mocap,’ which means, motion capture technology and is the process of recording a live motion event and translating it to 3D digital performance now being used in law, medicine, engineering and more.
The first technology-based studies of motion were conducted in the 19th century, long before film came into being.
Serkis, who played Gollum in Lord of the Rings, is a leading mocap performer and he is awesome in this film, as is the whole cast.
This film takes us away to a place where we might all find ourselves and then find the need to ask “Who is the human and who is the animal?” or are we all really the same when given the situation and the provocation?
The box office revenues for some shows often don’t accurately reflect its quality and entertainment value. This one is a wonderful example of a show that’s a real blockbuster with heart and it’s well worth seeing—maybe leave the really young ones at home as there is violence. Do see this one!
I give Dawn of the Planet of the Apes five reels.