Monday, September 29, 2014

PCP in Theaters - Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

I've been so swamped lately, as you've probably heard me lament a few times on the blog now, that I haven't been able to write a review of a movie I saw in theaters in July, until now. It might still be in theaters, at the cheap ones, by the time this goes up, but otherwise it'll probably be out on home video soon.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - 2014, rated PG-13. My rating: 9 out of 10.

The sequel to the prequel that doubled as a reboot of a classic franchise hit theaters earlier this summer, an event that would probably be considered unbelievable to the stars of the original Charlton Heston classic, but obviously Hollywood works way differently these days than it did 45 years ago. The reboot/prequel Rise of the Planet of the Apes was actually a pretty good sleeper hit 3 years ago, but it was dwarfed at the box office by that summer's biggest hits, finishing in 11th that year in total box office behind Harry Potter 8, Transformers 3, Twilight 4, Hangover 2, Pirates 4, Fast & Furious 5, Mission Impossible 4, Cars 2, Sherlock Holmes 2, & Thor 1, and finishing a mere 100 grand ahead of Captain America 1.  <side note - wow, that was a lot of sequels that summer> So, if you missed Rise 3 years ago, you weren't alone, but it is still a good film that I encourage you to check out. (I gave it an 8/10).

Fortunately, even if you never saw Rise, you can still check out Dawn without being too lost. It's set a few years after a plague released at the end of the previous film has wiped out a majority of humanity, and the group of Apes living in the mountains outside of San Francisco has grown tremendously. Meanwhile, there is a small band of humans living in San Fran, and everything is quiet until the two groups encounter each other. Problems ensue, obviously.

I don't want to say too much more without spoiling the plot, but the film is quite fun and filled with some great action scenes. It also has some incredible motion-capture work and some of the best CGI I've seen in a film. The various primates are so well rendered, they come across as completely believable on the screen. No lame rubber masks like the prior films in the series, here the technology is seamless and gorgeous. The film is also pretty touching and has a lot of heart. Overall, the film is very enjoyable, and I am already looking forward to the next one in the series. Already, the reboot series has already surpassed the original series in terms of quality of storytelling. If they keep it up, they can keep making Apes films as long as they want.

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