Sunday, October 12, 2014

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is the worthy sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  Both are surprisingly great dramas, but the second film is also a really good action film.

After the fall of humanity due to a man-made virus designed to cure Alzheimer's Disease, the apes made intelligent by the virus have settled into the forest area north of San Francisco.  The apes believe that the humans have died out, but a few surviving humans have a small community in San Francisco.  When a couple of humans accidentally encounter the apes, they become frightened and shoot one of the apes, which leads to escalating tensions.  Hotheads on both sides push the two groups toward war.  A few individuals on both sides want to broker a peace, but the hotheads prevail.

The computer generated apes are amazing to look at.  My only complaint is that the apes facial expressions seem a little too human.

It seems obvious that the movie is an analogy for any human conflict.  The conflict started because the humans wanted to restart a hydroelectric dam, i.e. the war starts over energy, or more generally, over resources.  The movie shows how conflict develops from fear of  "the other" or "outsiders".  The fact that the two groups are so different is what helps drive them to war.  This gives the movie a certain noble message that stays with you for a long time.  It feels like an anti-war film that delivers its message better and more subtly than any human versus human conflict could.

This is filmmaking, science fiction and special effects at its best.  Rating:  * * * *

The Salt Lake City, the movie is playing at the dollar theater in Sugar House.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Richard Roeper gives the movie an "A".

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