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Saturday, September 30, 2023

Life + Arts

‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ reigns supreme


“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” began showing everywhere July 11. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The sequel to the 2011 “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” reboot took the number one spot in its first weekend, topping “Transformers: Age of Extinction” with a $72.6 million haul. Now in its second weekend, it has made another $36 million – giving the still number one movie an estimated $139 million. The long-running franchise has proven once again that the “Planet of the Apes” franchise is still relevant and incredibly popular with new audiences.

From the director of “Cloverfield,” Matt Reeves completely redeemed himself with exceptional screenplay. Caesar, played by Golden Globe nominee Andy Serkis leads the world’s majority of intelligent apes in a post-apocalyptic San Francisco. When a small group of humans inadvertently threaten their way of living, the inevitability of war for Earth’s dominant species begins.

The film doesn’t offer anything new in the way of plot, being a slight remake of 1973’s “Battle for the Planet of the Apes,” but it does offer a refreshing scope of the familiar plot line. It’s better than the corny original film series because viewers are made to care for each side, both humans and apes. The apes are shown in their natural habitat with all of the values that humans admire and have lost sight of: home, family and future.

Leading the human resistance is Dreyfus, played by Gary Oldman. Though his decisions, like those of other characters in the film, spark drama, and as viewers get deeper into the plot they can understand each character’s reasons behind their actions. The prospect of apes on horseback gunning down humans becomes worrisome — viewers fear for that kind of violence once they understand both sides.

“Dawn” has every component of what makes an amazing movie — it is more than a summer blockbuster, and it is still as fun as a “Transformers” film. The cinematography, score (from Oscar winner Michael Giacchino) and performances (both ape and human, Serkis deserves a Special Achievement Academy Award) are all on-point. It has intense action, tear-jerking drama, romance, and comedy; the sci-fi element is not as prominent as in the original films.

The cast also includes Keri Russell, Jason Clarke from “Zero Dark Thirty,” Judy Greer, Kevin Rankin, and a very small part with James Franco. It is playing in theaters everywhere in 2D and 3D projections. The never-better CGI that has come incredibly far can be truly experienced and marveled at in 3D; it’s worth seeing.

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