I am not a fan of the concept of the Planet of the Apes films. It’s not the thought of monkeys taking control of the Planet that bothers me, but the thought of talking apes.
This was definitely my impression when I first saw a trailer for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. At the time I had not seen the first one (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) in the series reboot. I was not in anyway interested in watching films with CGI talking monkeys, it looked to be rather ridiculous.
This all began to change when I heard an interview on the Radio with the amazing Andy Serkis. He explained how careful they had been in making the movie to ensure it didn’t make the audience feel unconfortable for the wrong reasons.
Having heard Andy speak so passionately about the movie I decided to watch the first film, I was very, very impressed.
The sequel picks up years after the first, humans have been gradually wiped off the Planet by the simian flu that is hinted at in the first. The Apes, led by Caesar (played by Serkis) are living in the forest having built up a large and fruitful community and haven’t seen a human for years, presuming them all dead.
Of course it’s not long before the Apes run into some humans and then the film slides into a wonderful thriller as humans and apes struggle to coexist.
From here on differing beliefs held by individuals on both sides play their part and as the story progresses family and friends are pushed to their limits.
The filmmakers have done an unbelievable job of making the relationships between characters believable. The apes rely on sign language for most of the movie to communicate and it is easy to tell which monkey is which. It is stunning how natural it feels to have apes riding horses, hunting and communicating with one another. It never feels uncomfortable, it looks and feels amazing.
Aside from the fascinating conflict between the apes and humans it is also necessary to praise the incredible design of the world the movie takes place in, most noticeably the post apocalyptic San Francisco. The city has been reclaimed by nature after years of no humans walking is streets and it looks amazing. It is a character in its own right. If anyone had played The Last of Us they will know what to expect.
Having previously not in any way looked forward to these films I have to say I really, really enjoyed them. They take a hard to film plot and make you really care for the characters and their motivations. It is incredible!
I saw Dawn of the Planet of the Apes at the stunning Regal cinema @the_regal, Evesham.