Chimpan-A to Chimpan-Z

Sadly I wasn't able to give you a review sooner, but as you all know I'm always a proponent of the phrase "better late than never." Last Friday Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (yeah...I don't think I'll ever approve of the mouthful of a title that this and it's predecessor have...) hit cinemas. Dawn is the follow-up to the 2011 Rise of the Planet of the Apes that acted as both a reboot and a prequel to the original Planet of the Apes series (Read my original review of that film HERE.) Rise caught me completely off guard as an incredibly entertaining and somehow uniquely feeling summer blockbuster. But was it merely that I, as well as so many others, had zero expectations for the film that it became such a surprise hit? Now with expectations in place for its follow-up, the pressure was on Dawn to prove that the success of this reborn franchise wasn't a fluke and that it could continue.

I purposefully avoided trailers as much as I could for this movie and tried not to let the hype influence my expectations toooo much. But that's a hard thing to do when you reach 24 hours before a movie opens and its score on Rotten Tomatoes is at 97% (it has since dropped to 92%, but that's still is nothing to sneeze at.) So, whether I liked it or not, this movie had great expectations riding on it....and couldn't pull off the same come out of nowhere and surprise us all feat that Rise did. Instead, it had a tall order to fill. And I have to say, this customer was more than satisfied. This movie wasn't quite perfect (tiny holes here and there and containing some human characters that definitely could have used more depth...,) but I think it was my favorite summer blockbuster of the season.

What's impressive here, and what was impressive about Rise, is that it's really the story about one ape that this whole thing hinges on. The humans in both films are fine enough though I must say this movie could have used a lot more Gary Oldman...but it's never really been their story. This tale has always been about Andy Serkis' chimpanzee Caesar, and his character remains just as fascinating, if not more-so than he was the first go around. Serkis brings him to life in a way that's truly remarkable (and honestly, I can't wait to see his contributions to Star Wars Episode VII...) and the visual effects that accompany him, are truly some of the finest I can think of in all of film history. The level of detail here is just incredible....so lifelike that you almost forget what you're watching. But Caesar isn't the only fascinating ape visually or character-wise. The tortured lab ape first seen in the last film named Koba, gets a much larger role in this film and it wouldn't be the film it is without him.

Dawn and Rise are very different films tonally and structurally, yet very much intertwined. After watching them, side by side you can definitely see how one led to the other....almost like it couldn't have been any other way. I'm very excited about the possibilities this sets up for the future of the franchise. There's so much potential and even if it pulls a Dark Knight Rises in terms of third installment quality that can't quite live up to the standards set by the second, I think the world can still be satisfied. Just no Terminator Salvation franchise killing films, okay? EMILY RATING: 9/10. 9.5 on a good day!


Sarah said...

I still need to see the first movie! It is on my "need to watch" list. These movies sound great. The special effects look awesome too.

Johanna said...

But would I like it? :) Sounds interesting enough.