Sunday, January 04, 2015

on Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

hi there

wow, i did it. i managed to get to watch a movie again. finding the time to do it is tough, look you see, and to watch Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes involved ignoring the fact that i was tired and pressing ahead with attempting to view it.

i was quite keen on watching this as Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes was excellent. a review of that from me is on this blog somewhere, done 3 or 4 years ago, whenever it was released. i am pretty sure my review mentioned that "professional film critics died today", for when that one was released the press slammed the film yet real people who actually saw the film were well impressed. i still maintain that John Lithgow should have had some recognition for his excellent performance in that film.

how, then, does the sequel compare? in direct comparison, very disappointing, to be honest. Rise was brilliant as it was effectively a thriller-paced drama film, featuring a plausible premise, superb acting and just generally top level film-making. here the focus is rather more on drama-paced thriller action stuff.

which, and sorry of this is confusing, actually  works quite well for the film in its own right, or if you like if you view it in complete exclusion from the film that it is a sequel to. it endeavours to retain the intelligence and dramatics of the original film, or if you like "first prequel", but throws an awful lot of action scenes into the mix. that the film scores quite high (at time of going to press) shows that i am somewhat not wrong to have this "mixed feelings" take on the movie.

the single biggest problem, or if you will issue, i and several others have or may well have with this movie is, strangely, the Gary Oldman factor. the film was heavily promoted as being "a Gary Oldman film". the DVD cover, the posters and the trailers all said that this film should have been released as Gary Oldman In Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, starring Gary Oldman.

it would have been awesome, indeed boss, if that is how the film went, but as it turns out he is in the movie for, give or take, 20 minutes. 20 impressive minutes, granted, but still, that leaves you with 100 minutes of film that is not Gary Oldman.

in the absence of Gaz action, how do the rest of the cast perform? well, Andy Serkis is OK in his reprisal of the role of Caesar. he was truly brilliant in Rise, but is limited to OK here more or less because of the weird limitations of his character in the story. a dazzling start and a brilliant conclusion to his story arc, but he seems to wander and plays it by the numbers in between.

the "lead male", as in the human that is not Gaz that actually gets most of the screen time, is someone called Jason Clarke. i do not like speaking ill of Australian things, lest Australians get all Australian about it, but he is something of a disappointment to watch. this i put down for the most part to the fact that he is not the Gaz we were all led to believe we would mostly be watching.

i bought the DVD for £5.99 off of an amazon "lightning deal" thing, and i would say that's the spot on value for it. as for the technical quality of the DVD itself, well, as you can see here it makes good use of a dual layer disc. this is nice to see; for in the last year in was in SA all new releases i bought tended to be issued on single layer discs and featured the quality you would expect (which is to say lacking). unless you really, really want to see CGI monkeys in the highest definition possible, i cannot really see a reason to go right ahead and buy this on blu-ray. i would imagine, more than anything, it would look rather plastic in any higher definition than what we watched it.

i mentioned that the film is rather high, and somewhat heavy, on the action sequences. well, suggested it more than mentioned it. do not believe that this film features some sort of "final battle" between man and ape. there are some impressive skirmishes, but the door is open for another sequel, one which i believe shall be with us at some point in 2016. that one "might" show the end of days, as it were. perhaps that one will address how come people all become mute morons in the Planet Of The Apes universe, for this one does not.

i fear or suspect that this review gives mixed messages about whether one should watch the film or not, although i would imagine that all who have an interest have now seen it. well, that's probably because i have some mixed feelings on it. the sheer brilliance of Rise is not matched, and yet this film is not an insult to the original.

hey ho, as the first film i watched proper in 2015, it could have been a good deal worse. if you are in a "should i or shouldn't i" frame of mind about the film, i guess i would go right ahead and say "should", as ultimately the two hours spent watching it does not feel wasted.

so, if you opt to watch it, hope my advice has not let you down and happy viewing!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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