Dave’s 3-Word Review:
A worthy sequel.
This film was selected from ‘The 250’
I had my worries about the sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and I’ll tell you why. It’s not that I didn’t want the thing to succeed, I had fears about the direction of the series based solely on how the old movies did it. The thing is, the first film did a really great job at centering the focus on humans, and making a very believable, different, and exciting origin story that is unlike anything you have ever seen. It put a new spin on the Planet of the Apes universe, and it was just a phenomenal film. I knew a sequel meant more talking apes and more apes doing human things…and that really worried me, because the entire tone would feel significantly different, which is clearly a huge risk. I’ll tell you right now that Dawn of the Planet of the Apes definitely took a big risk, and got a big reward in return.
So, the setting of this sequel was what surprised me the most right away. You would be surprised just how post-apocalyptic this film really is. The world is dying, humans are practically going extinct, thanks to the same virus that evolved the apes ten years before. So now, you can basically guess that the amount of apes and humans in this film are just about equal. The humans basically want to get to a dam working in order to sustain power for their city, but the apes aren’t really happy about that, but they allow a few good humans to do their human work and leave. Problem is…there are members of both groups that hate the other species and are willing to wage war.
I’ll tell you right off bat that one of the best literary devices that this film uses is a form of mirroring, and you’ll be able to tell this right away. The whole film’s message, or at least part of it, was equality and how much we aren’t very different from one another. Caesar and his son can most definitely be compared to Malcolm and his son. The militant and judgmental ape, Koba, could be compared to the militant and judgmental man, Carver. Caesar and Malcolm both want peace, while their sons need to learn what’s right and what’s not. This actually had me thinking. If the first film was centered on human dominance and animal abuse, and the second film was about an equal balance, then the third movie would most definitely be the dominance of the ape and the transformation of the animalistic humans. Which of course, would make perfect sense.
I was so worried about the continuing advancements in the apes knowledge, but I can say now that it’s not something you need to be worried about. The way they handle it is very cool, and there’s even more shout outs to the older films, primarily – Beneath the Planet of the Apes if you really think about it. The apes are still struggling with speech and only have a limited vocabulary. Most of them just talk with American Sign Language. The main ones that talk are Koba and Caesar. They are also learning how to read, write, hunt, etc. It is still done very differently from the classic films, but after ten years…I would honestly think Caesar would at least have an easier time speaking than he does here. A regular ten year old kid does… but fine fine, he’s an Ape.
As for everything else – I’ll just wrap this up nice and tight by saying the action is intense, the graphics are insane, the acting is amazing, and the ability to differentiate between characters of the apes is really awesome. Think about it, they are apes, and you can tell the difference between every last one. That is unbelievable distinction.
There’s really not a whole lot you can complain about in this film. It does almost everything perfectly. I’ll just say that it’s a lot of fun, and that feeling of excitement just keeps building as you keep watching.
The only thing I can really think of is I do wish James Franco showed back up, other than a clip of the last movie. Other than that, I truly believe Caesar should be able to talk better than he does…it’s like he struggles so much with everything that he does. Ape………………….not………………kill………………..ape. Breathe, man, breathe.
This is the first 3D Planet of the Apes movie, and what a spectacle it was.