Tag Archives: Rise of the 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 #129

Iron Man 3

In this third (and possibly final) chapter in the Iron Man trilogy, we find Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) tortured and sleepless after his recent battle with aliens. With all his energy focused on making new and better suits, his relationship with Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) is suffering along with his mental state. When a new villain in the form of terrorist The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) takes responsibility for a series of mysterious explosions, one of which has almost killed Pepper’s bodyguard (Jon Favreau), Tony makes an angry threat that results in the destruction of his mansion and most of his equipment. Forced to go to ground, he employs the help of a small boy (Ty Simpkins) to rebuild the one suit he has left. At the same time Pepper comes under threat when she rejects the potentially unethical plan of a former colleague (Guy Pearce) to rewire people’s DNA in a way that makes them “better”. Could these two things be connected? Well… duh! I am somewhat agnostic about superhero movies. Some are great some are absolute tosh. This one is somewhere between the two. The middle third drags rather a lot and while it is nice to see more of “Tony the man” than “Tony the suit”, the best part of this film is the ass-kicking final third. Whether you enjoy this or not will probably come down to how much you believe in the cult of Tony Stark. If you love the character, you will love this. If you’re less bothered about him then you’ll probably find this much as I did… a middle range superhero movie with some fun bits. One this I will say though is don’t bother to see it in 3D, there is no point, the adaptation is barely even noticeable. 3/5

Oh Iron Man, what a big slit you have!

Oh Iron Man, what a big slit you have!

Silver Linings Playbook

Shortly after Patrick (Bradley Cooper) is released from a court ordered stint in a mental institution he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a widow who has been dealing with her grief by sleeping with everyone she meets. As both of these damaged individuals lack any kind of social filter, the meeting is explosive but it doesn’t take them long to form a fragile friendship and for Tiffany to convince Patrick to enter a dance competition with her. Patrick sees this as a way to convince his estranged wife, Nikki (Brea Bee) that he is a changed man, while Tiffany sees it as a way to connect with a potential kindred spirit. It’s a relatively odd yet simple plot but the joy in this film is more in watching how two very strange individuals fit together so perfectly – it kind of made me think of Harold and Maude. The other interesting thing is coming to the realisation that everyone around Patrick and Tiffany is more than a little crazy themselves. Sweet, funny and more than a little weird this is an excellent vehicle for both Lawrence and Cooper’s not insubstantial acting talents. 4/5

look, ignore the garbage bag, I AM your postman!

look, ignore the garbage bag, I AM your postman!

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

After scientist Will Rodman’s (James Franco) research into an Alzheimer’s cure is shut down, he takes matters into his own hands by sneaking home the baby of one of his chimpanzee test subjects, who he names Caesar (Andy Serkis). Caesar’s mental development is beyond anything could have imagined and he becomes like a son to him and a grandson to his Alzheimer’s afflicted father, Charles (John Lithgow). But when Charles is threatened and Caesar loses his temper, he is locked in an ape sanctuary tormented by his sadistic keeper (Tom Felton) and unable to understand why his “dad” won’t get him out. Soon Caesar realises he is not like humans but not like other apes either and must decide who he really is, with devastating consequences. I expected to absolutely hate this, so I was pleasantly surprised to find the story engrossing. It has some pretty big plot holes but I think it got a bad rap at the time of its release. The star of the show is indubitably Serkis, who has a true gift for performance capture roles and manages to be recognisable despite not being visible. Worth a watch. 3/5

We have got to stop monkeying around like this

We have got to stop monkeying around like this

Swinging with the Finkels

London couple Alvin (Martin Freeman) and Ellie (Mandy Moore) Finkel have been together for nine years and the excitement has gone out of their relationship. Mostly because they are a pair of useless tits. They come across the genius idea of trying swinging to spice things up but their one foray into partner swapping leads to even more “weirdness” between them and Alvin moves out. But is the grass really greener on the other side? I have to admit that I picked this film of my Sky On Demand because it was only 85 minutes long and I was running out of time to get through four films for this blog. I almost instantly regretted my decision. It was one of the longest 85 minutes of my life. If the major talking point of a film is whether Mandy Moore removed the plastic covering of a cucumber before magically seeming to come to orgasm simply by shoving into her vijayjay along with whether you’d bring pajamas to a swinger’s party, something has gone wrong. This film manages to be crass, vulgar, cheesy and completely unfunny all in one go. It’s so full of first world problems that it makes you want to punch all of its smug, W1 living characters in the face. Avoid at all costs. 0/5

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Bilbo couldn’t help wondering what would happen when the manicurist saw his giant hobbit feet