Last night my kid brother and me went to see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
“Hey Ben, I know you are moving back to Pennsylvania in two days. Do you want to spend some meaningful time together? Let’s go chew tobacco and see some fucking apes fight.” I’m sure at this moment he thought it was the shittiest going away present ever, but hey, we had fun.
As far as popcorn movies go it was really good. If you liked the first one you should like this one and vice versa. It was more epic and battle oriented, but it was tied together with a solid story. There is always a bit of ridiculousness when you see talking apes in a movie, and there were several parts where you could predict what was going to happen in the next scene, but overall it was done about as well as could be expected. The special effects were phenomenal. I hate when something looks like it was created with CGI and it takes you out of the moment. Other than one or two shots in the beginning of the film, there wasn’t a moment when a visual kept me from being engrossed in the story.
Let’s not kid anyone and pretend that a movie that features apes riding horses is Shakespeare, but these movies feature a degree of intelligence that most summer blockbusters lack. This movie, behind it’s summer entertainment factor, is a tragedy where we slowly see peace break down between groups over misunderstandings and rival factions. In each group there are those that seek peace and those that seek power. Much as in the real world, those that seek power rig the game so that the peace is lost. Yeah, yeah, I know, as I said there are apes talking and riding horses. But most of the time when a summer movie tries to be smart it only looks dumber. This was one of the few examples where, and don’t get me wrong this movie is entertainment first, where a small degree of intelligence actually manages to be a part of the proceedings.
As a final note, I had a friend with a child ask me if this movie would be OK to take him to. I think this movie’s PG-13 rating is earned, as it might be too intense for anyone younger then that. Also, I’m usually not a fan of anything rated PG-13, as it usually means that they take anything adult or interesting out of a film to appeal to the widest possible audience, without a film having the magical whimsey of a kid’s movie. However, I didn’t feel that this movie lost anything by being PG-13. In fact, despite the fact that there was no graphic gore or nudity, I just had to double check the rating to make sure I was correct.
If they can maintain this level of quality for a third film I would be happy to attend.