Tag Archives: Planet of the Apes

A sneak peek at Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to attend a sneak preview of scenes from the upcoming Dawn of the Planet of the Apes at the Soho Hotel. Not only was it exciting to get an exclusive look at such a hotly anticipated release but the scenes were introduced by the great motion capture performance pioneer, Andy Serkis, known not only for playing chimpanzee, Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes but also King Kong and Gollum in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit sagas. I only fangirled a little… I promise.

The story picks up 10 years after Rise, where Caesar is now the leader of a established society of apes living in the Muir Woods Forest as well as being a husband and a father. Small groups of humans have survived the devastating virus that ran rampant a decade earlier but are facing extinction largely because they will soon lose their source of power. When a group of human explorers hoping to reignite a hydroelectric dam in the forest cross paths with the apes Caeser is forced to decide between attempting to come to a peaceful resolution or an all out war to establish ape dominance. At the same time some remaining humans blame apes for the virus and are less than keen to coexist.

Serkis explained that director, Matt Reeves, chose a setting in the near future rather than decades ahead because he wanted to enable the audience to enjoy watching the evolution of the apes as well as Casear’s integration of some of the things he learned growing up with humans before the inevitable rejoining of the timeline with the originals and the future we all know is coming. He was also clear that he wanted to show both the humans’ and the apes’ side of the story exposing the strengths and weaknesses of both without the audience being given a “side” to root for. This vision came to life by presenting the story through the eyes of the journey of both a human and an ape family.

I was a big fan of Rise of the Planet of the Apes so I was particularly interested to see how the motion capture animation had come along since the last film and from the scenes we got to see I can’t say I was disappointed. The animation is lush and true to life creating a fully immersive experience, which I think will be added to by the fact that Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will be released in 3D. The realness of the visuals is also enhanced by the fact that every ape is played by an actor who has been motion captured and almost the entire film was shot on location in Vancouver and New Orleans.

Roll on 17 July because I can’t wait!

Film Friday… week 95

Brave

All Scottish princess Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald) wants to do is ride her horse, Angus, practise archery and explore the Highlands. All her mother, Elinor (voiced by Emma Thompson) wants her to do is behave like the perfect lady, after all, “a princess doesnae stuff her gob!” When Merida discovers that everything her mother has been teaching her is in order to impress suitors from three fellow clans, she rebels convincing a local witch to give her a spell to change her mother. However the spell doesn’t quite work as expected and rather than changing Elinor’s mind, it changes her into a bear. With only a day to spare before the spell becomes permanent, mother and daughter must rebuild their relationship and learn to listen to each other before it’s too late. While I normally really don’t “get” Disney, I loved the fact that Pixar went with strong female characters and no cloying love story. The animation is also glorious; Merida’s hair alone is worth the admission price and the ancillary characters in Merida’s loveably boorish father (voiced by Billy Connolly, of course) and her confectionary obsessed younger brothers are loads of fun. If you’re going to do animation, this year, do Brave. 3/5

The Glasgow Commonwealth Games were proving to be a challenge

Planet of the Apes

In this reboot of the sci-fi classic, Mark Wahlberg plays Captain Leo Davidson, a scientist who accidentally crash lands on a planet where evolution has taken a different path and humans are enslaved by genetically superior apes. Along with the help of human-sympathiser, Ari (Helena Bonham Carter), Leo must bring together the humans and stand against their monkey overlords. I’ve never seen the original so I have no basis for comparison but I really didn’t enjoy this version. I think the best thing that can be said about it is that the make-up is excellent. For the rest I didn’t find it engaging or thought-provoking and the whole concept just doesn’t work. Best avoided. 1/5

I know it was you who flung the poo at our guests. just admit it…

The Happening

On a random day in New York a group of people around Central Park stop what they’re doing and systematically commit suicide. As more and more similar incidents happen and New York is evacuated, panic sets in. High school biology teacher, Eliot Moore (Mark Wahlberg) and his wife Alicia (Zooey Deschanel) attempt to find their way to safety, with the young daughter of a friend in tow, as they try to resolve their marital issues. The concept of this film is actually pretty good but in the hands of serial flopster, M Night Shyamalan, it is absolutely disastrous. The problem seems to stem from a script so poor that it makes 50 Shades of Grey look like high art. With the cast apparently aware that the dialogue is laughable, they muster up what can barely be described as lacklustre performances. At best it is occasionally amusing, but for all the wrong reasons. 1/5

There’s a what in the middle of the road?

Fright Night

When Charley Brewster (Anton Yelchin) discovers that his mysterious new neighbour (Colin Farrell) is a vampire, he turns to TV mystic, Peter Vincent (David Tennant) for help with riotous results. This is a remake of an 80’s film and it really shows, being typically light on plot and high on cliché. With Farrell relishing playing a sleazy bad guy and Tennant basically playing the Doctor, very drunk, there’s a fair amount to enjoy but mostly I just kept wondering what the original was like. Watchable but nothing special. 2.5/5

Shot doooooown in a blaze of glory!