Bullet Points: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
After we saw Mark Wahlberg as an astronaut and James Franco as a scientist I was fully expecting them to have Channing Tatum playing a brain surgeon who was studying the intelligence of the apes. Or maybe Zak Efron would be playing some sort of rocket scientist. The Planet of the Apes franchise was built off the back and hairy chest of legendary badass Charlton Heston and I’m sad to say that in recent years it has been in the hands of numbskulls like Marky Mark and the acting equivalent to John Mayer, James Franco. Luckily, the studios or Franco, himself, decided that this new movie needed to go a different direction and the role of the leading human reverted to the Hollywood default at the moment. A default by the name of Jason Clarke. There’s no way that Jason Default can be as bad as Wahlberg or Franco, is there?
Synopsis: A group of humans living near San Francisco stumble upon the city of the evolving apes lead by Caesar (motion capped Andy Serkis). The humans and the apes make a shaky peace, even though the only two that actually trust each other are Caesar and the human spokesman Malcolm (Jason Clarke). Despite what pretty much 98% of the apes and humans are thinking, the two groups try to stay away from conflict until one very angry bonobo leads a group of apes against the human city and starts a war that could end both civilizations.
- National Geographic- The Hunger Games: The opening scene showing the apes hunting a massive group of deer only to have a bear pop out of nowhere and face off against some chimps was like watching the diabolical schemes of one President Snow. Not surprisingly, all of the animals showed more emotion than Jennifer Lawrence and instead of watching an attempt at a love triangle between her, that short kid, and Thor’s brother, we’re instead treated to a triple threat match between an ape and the sigils of House Baratheon and House Mormont. So far this movie is appealing to fans of The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones as well as furries. What more could you ask for?
- The New Generation of Ape: Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes have both been very enjoyable to me. I’m a sucker for the original POTA movies; especially the later two in Conquest and Battle for the Planet of the Apes but these two new ones directed by Rupert Wyatt and Matt Reeves, respectively, have created a whole new world compared to the dumpster fire that Tim Burton teased us with 15 years ago. The most positive change in the new films compared to that weirdo Tim Burton’s flick is that these new attempts, while motion-captured CGI, they aren’t trying to make the apes look sexy or “bangable” in any way. Burton did his best to make every man in America get a hard on for Helena Bohnam Carter as a chimpanzee and that is just not cool. Sometimes change is good.
- Koba needs a Vegas show: The hate mongering Koba, the same ape who would attempt to steer Caesar and his crew into a new war with the human settlement, gets caught trespassing in the human city and does his best to pretend to be a silly little monkey at the zoo. The kind of monkey that you just laugh at and snap photos of on your phone. What they didn’t know at the time was that an hour later Koba would be beating them to death with his ape strength but for just a couple of minutes they got to see one hilarious bonobo perform for them like it was his final night in Hamilton.
- Are you with US or against US?: I hate to say it but this movie doesn’t exactly show the humans in a positive light. None of the POTA movies have ever had much good to say about humanity but in most of the films there is an equal amount of animosity and violence coming also from the apes. In this one, the humans are all about getting power from the nearby dam. Apparently they never figured that they could use wind or solar power. I would assume that the Bay Area would be a great place for some solar panels but what do I know? The film certainly portrays that charisma-less mannequin Jason Clarke as a good guy. It also gives a few lines to Keri Russell, but other than that most of the humans are just stereotypical humans who are afraid of the ape culture and want to destroy it only to get to the fuel.
- Oh yeah, Gary Oldman is there too: You’ll hardly notice it since he doesn’t really do much but it’s good to know that Gary Oldman also got paid a bunch of money to be in this movie.
- We’re not ready: When the apes finally do attack the human city there are either no guards posted or the ones who are there don’t notice the dozens of torch-wielding, horse-riding apes approaching. The humans already know that there are possible enemy outside their walls so the fact that they’re caught unaware is pretty bad. They can’t even claim ignorance because at two different points we see a couple of guys testing the machine guns by firing hundreds of rounds into an old military truck. Yes, they’re living in a post-apocalyptic world and they’re testing their weapons by firing their precious ammunition at random trucks by the hundred. Very dumb.
- I love the smell of bananas in the morning: Bad jokes aside, the attack by the apes on the human compound is pretty awesome. It’s incredibly gruesome; I’ll call it Saving Primate Ryan, only this time there is no Matt Damon or coked out Tom Sizemore in sight.
- Final Round. Fight!: The final showdown between Caesar and Koba turns into something out of one of the Ip Man movies. I wasn’t sure what they were trying to do with this final fight other than to try and make a spectacle out of it. It reminded me of the end of Jurassic World when all hell breaks loose and we’re given a 15 minute video game sequence with a bunch of dinosaurs fighting like its Mortal Kombat. Caesar does everything except for break out the ninja throwing stars against Koba and its a fight that I could have done without. It was too close to the Anakin/Obiwan fight in Episode 3 instead of the Vader/Obiwan fight in Episode 4 that it should have been.
Quit monkeying around and read these bonus Bullet Points!
- How did the whole world get so overgrown in only 10 years?
- Jason Clarke is my new metaphor for when something is extremely mediocre or totally lacks charisma. This guy is the most average dude to ever get starring roles in two massive franchises in the same year.
- Shoutout to the awesome song from The Band that plays in the abandoned gas station.
- Apes learn to use rifles but they never learn to change magazines. Good for them that this is a movie cause I watched Koba fire like a thousand rounds from that 30 round mag.
The Verdict: I’m a certified Planet of the Apes freak. I even own the entire animated series! Most of you probably didn’t even know there was an animated series. It was very weird, I must say, but I’ve never been able to get enough of this crazy future where apes are riding around on horses and hunting humans. I also really liked seeing Linda Harrison in that little loin cloth bikini from the original two films. The fact that I’ve enjoyed the two most recent POTA movies has me excited for the future of the series. The Tim Burton film had awesome prosthetic work and I really liked the casting (except for Wahlberg) but the film itself was a turd sandwich and it needed to be rebooted with the utmost haste. Matt Reeves has made a really good POTA movie here and I would recommend it to fans of the series as well as those few who have yet to experience Charlton Heston in a thong for two hours.