Movie Review: Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes(2014)

The preparation was laid in the post called Humans verse Apes and now the actual review is here.

I slightly miss the midnight showings and especially when they are over summer but I don’t miss going to bed at 4am and feeling dazed and confused the next day. Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes marks the second installment of this reboot( or maybe its called something else) and in the way that this film ended its possible that the Apes and the humans will go to war again.

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(Home, Family, Future!)

 Director: Matt Reeves

Written By: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver and Mark Bomback

Stars: Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell and Andy Serkis

Plot/Overview: Set in the distant future after the Rise Of The Planet of the Apes. Caesar, his son, his newborn son and his closest of Ape comrades have dominated San Francisco. The humans are left to bare minimum resources and are simply just trying to survive. When one of the idiotic humans(Kurt Acevedo) freaks and shoots an Ape Caesar( the fearless, yet empathetic leader) warns the humans to never return to their territory. Violence ensues and the Ape you hate the most, Koba, also makes it look like the humans are shooting Apes(after the humans gave the Apes all their guns). Koba becomes the most hated of the Apes standing not just in opposition to the humans, but also to Caesar and the other Apes. The conflict becomes about who will survive and how both the humans and the Apes misunderstand each other. Both seem to have the choice to do good or to do bad. Koba shoots Caesar and Malcom’s girl, Keri Russell, fixes him back up. Both species learn to care for each other while having the option of destroying themselves and each other. Spoiler: Gary Oldman dying was insanely insane and sort of sad.

The deeper meaning:

I think most of us, given that it is summer 2014, have seen it all. In films especially there is this unspoken notion that pretty much everything has already been done. However, in the midst of cliches and similar stories and settings we still pay to see some of the same elements repeated over and over with different actors playing the characters either with complexion and credibility, or totally bombing at superficial characters. Here’s five things this movie does that takes the cliches and really works it:

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1. Its not just an action movie. The action is sweet and so are the special effects. The Apes look very real and don’t look so fake when juxtaposed with the humans. This movie has a real conflicted story in the midst of action. Its more than action.

2. It is cliche to do a film about the extinction of the human race. How many times does that happen? But, this movie really makes you question the point of human surviving. Are human people that rule America really worth saving..I mean, if it came down to that? Yes and no. You hate the humans that hate the Apes and you also hate the Apes that hate the Apes. What you are trying to figure out is if its possible for both to exist and love each other.

3. Science does not outweigh the will to survive. In one sense you could say that it is genetic for us to kick in our survival senses if our bodies and minds are put in that situation. This film plays off this tension. What the humans did to the Apes was for the purpose of making more money off a product. Its possible that the Apes were already smart. I think that is the point. Without enhancing them to make them smarter, it is possible that they would be where you see them in the film. That is a very good way to create the conflict. It makes the war and the violence something to question.

4. Humans don’t always get to win or do they? The survival genre does usually end with humans getting the upper hand. Many die along the way. Oliver Stone’s war genre showcases this in the context to Vietnam and war, but this same device is all over films. When Malcolm and Caesar both acknowledge that they tried to reconcile this is also something to question and is another tension. Its evolution verses the dignity of people. Even if a person hates another person does that make killing okay? Even if all the Apes hate Koba is it right for him to die? Again, they use the tensions and not just the action.

5. Lastly, this movie is just super well done and super well played out by all the actors. I can’t help but think that Mark Bomback( who helped write this movie) is more than just an action guy and more than just one of those writers that is good at making the action awesome. I would like to believe that everything is intentional in what you see. And sometimes intention is a rarity.

So, go see it and add to the list..

Movie Review: Transformers: Age Of Extinction(2014)

When you are in New York maybe the last thing you want to do is see a movie because you could do that anywhere. But, seeing this film with my good, good friend Eric where he lives now makes it more worth it..no matter the film. I am still selective but also a believer in what even some people would call bad movies..I am still a believer even if critics rip something apart.

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Writer: Ehren Kruger

Director: Michael Bay

Plot..or whatever it is to be called..

No, I am not as harsh as the reviewers nor(as in all of these movie reviews) claim to really break down films necessarily. I just like movies and look a little deeper at most anything that people flock to. Transformers 1 and 2 were chalk full of nasty puberty jokes and near-death bathroom humor. High school-ers trying to be maybe adults running around with robots. However, the reason for so many movies is the undeniable and rather shallow expectation that most people have for ANY action movie. You cannot expect deep dialogue tested with twists and turns. This isn’t House of Cards or anything labeled not action. However, some plot is needed to at least keep you appreciating all the in between action.

Michael Bay proves his upward sunset shots and firework explosions over and over and has for at least a decade now. But the story in this fourth film is a little bit of a stretch, yet not as lame as everyone says.

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The Transformers are hidden and Frasier is looking for them. Maybe he wants to pycho-babble them to death or bring up their childish night mares that they keep having. Ceasar Flickerman has now shaved his head and is now the black ops version of Steve Jobs and Tony Stark. Technology is our biggest enemy. It is a weapon. It is entrusted to fallen people that can make bad choices and use it for murder and destruction. All along, Optimus Prime loves the humans and has a mysterious creator out there that would be his God. We never meet him, we just know we will in Transformers 5: Battle At The Equator.

I am teasing here a little and not really breaking this movie down. Sorry for that. I am fresh in the mood to say who really cares at the end of the day. I will always love Marky Mark(spellcheck) and I appreciate the rather less than crappy objectifying of women going on in this movie. And I did feel as if I was watching War Of The Worlds(summer 2005) in terms of really bad father/child dialogue. I am glad Hollywood still thinks most men are idiots and incapable of growing up.

In the end, I think what matters here is not war and not the power that technology offers. That is the subtext underneath the really bad emo music. I think what matters is that some things never change. The world remains what it is. Humans win. Humans are the essence of everything. Even greater then any machine. The machine only resembles what the humans tell it to resemble. Action will remain an ever increasing interest and violence will continue to get worse and worse as it is masked in a more “family action movie.” It is 2014 and things are rapidly changing in our world. I don’t consider it a waste to see that that is a reality. But what will be a waste is when reality clashes with what is not real. And to be able to see that you might have to not believe everything you see in the movies.

The irony, however, is that you are sitting in a electric building running off modern technology watching a movie about how dangerous technology can be. Its a mirror. And it always will be.

Take your chances. A much to long movie but not a complete waste. I love explosions! Happy Fourth Of July!