By Matthew Turner (Birmingham)


What to Expect in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

I remember as a young boy settling down with my mother to watch an old movie called Planet of the Apes. Normally my mother would watch Calamity Jane (which I also quite enjoyed) and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (another guilty pleasure to this day), but this film experience was different from any other. I waited eagerly to see the apes come on screen and as I was just a young boy (11 years old) I thought the movie would just be a whole lot of monkeying around, but it was a lot deeper than that. The movie asked questions on how the world could evolve and how weak us mere humans really are and could be, and the relationship between Heston’s character and Zera was a very emotional and significant one. The story of that is very underappreciated as I believe that was one of the main crux of the story as well as the overall plot. Once we were faced with the prospects of what this planet inhabited I couldn’t help but think how alike these apes were to us by the way they walk talk and mannerisms, scarily I still as well as many others still see the likeness between us and them even in today’s world. Charlton Heston played his part with passion and dedication and the immortal lines of “Get your hands off me, you damn dirty ape!” has gone down in history as one of the best lines in cinema moments ever.

The classic shot of the Statue of Liberty on the beach at the end of the movie also represents iconic and classic cinema and the truth of what happened was a great moment and great acting from Heston. The sequels and TV series that followed never once measured up to the original and in my opinion the third installment Escape from the Planet of the Apes was fairly enjoyable as a novelty to see how the few apes that traveled to present day would cope in our world. Tim Burton’s reimagining failed to register with me and audiences alike as it seemed a bit too camp and an inconsistent flowing story (as well as Mark Wahlberg sleep walking through the movie). And the twist finale didn’t do much to lift eyebrows just as the original did so well.

Over the next few years nothing was mentioned about a possible follow up to Burton’s franchise killer, however, eventually word spread that there was another apes movie in the pipeline and it would start from the very beginning and focus on how the apes uprising began. I for one was not over excited or disinterested, but I couldn’t possibly see where they could go with this story that they haven’t been before. I went to the movie theater open minded and just took the movie for what I thought it would be, A POPCORN NO BRAINER MOVIE!!! But I do not mind admitting when I’m wrong. SO SO WRONG! RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF MY YEAR. James Franco played his role beautifully and Andy Serkis was immense in his stop motion performance as ape leader and all round badass Caesar. The story flowed brilliantly and the tense build up had me on bated breath as we all knew where the story was going, but we were not entirely sure how we would get there.

The ape sanctuary scenes are as good as any prisoner movie I’ve seen and the score was excellent with the last piece as Caesar climbs the high trees to overlook San Francisco was upbeat and equal to the moment of the scene. John Lithgow’s role as the father was also a pleasant surprise as I honestly thought he would be the comic relief of the movie, but I would say that role was adopted by Harry Potter star Tom Felton. Granted he wasn’t the stand out funny guy, but I couldn’t help raise a smile when Caesar disposed of his character, Dodge Landon, so effortlessly, for what it’s worth I believe he’d done everyone a favor, but I do believe Tom played a good but run of the mill part of resident bad guy. Finally, I would like to say I will be heading to the cinema in great anticipation of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the first movie did end on such an abrupt note that I would say the running time was its only downfall, but I hope the director and producers of dawn at least give us a 2 hour rollercoaster ride and maybe longer so we can truly explore the rise of those damned dirty but clever and intensely entertaining apes.

I would gladly give it a big 10 out of 10!

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