Animal’s Movie Reviews

dawn-of-the-planet-of-the-apesLast weekend, along with a few million other people, we went to see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Before discussing this particular installment:  So far this reboot (unlike the unfortunate Mark Wahlberg effort) has been brilliantly handled.  The CGI/motion capture technology has worked movie magic that was not dreamed of in the times of the Charlton Heston/Roddy McDowell originals, and where it would have been easy to turn the new Apes franchise into a special-effects-fest (Michael Bay, are you listening?) the movies have not gone in that direction.

Now, on to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes:

Technically, the film is brilliant.  Andy Serkis’ motion-capture performance made the character of the ape’s leader, Caesar, a compelling and powerful presentation.

But there was one jarring flaw in the penultimate fight scene:  The defense set up by the human leader, portrayed by Gary Oldman, was simply awful.  Oldman’s character was supposedly a military veteran of some unstated sort – but who, with any modern military training, would:

  1. Facepalm-bearSet up a compound with no defense in depth, no fallback positions, no prepared firing positions, no interlocking fields of fire?
  2. Store almost all of the weapons and the sole functional armored vehicle outside of the compound?
  3. Mount a defense on one line, and from on top of a wall?  What did they think this was, the Middle Ages?

Aside from that rather distracting series of mistakes (seriously, how hard is it to hire a military advisor?) though, the movie was enjoyable.  It had good character development, a noble, well-intentioned leader (Caesar) who comes to a realization that his own prejudices have endangered his people apes, and a rather ominous ending leading us right at the next film, which presumably will be Battle for the Planet of the Apes.

All in all, three and three-quarters stars.  It’s worth the price of admission.