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Apes June 11, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Finally got to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the second film in the rebooted franchise. I liked it quite a lot, just as I liked the first film, particularly the way that the focus remained on Caesar and the uplifted simians rather than on the human characters. What was also refreshing was the sense that simple bad, paranoid, hostile and other decisions resonated out through the length of the film, leaving a legacy of distrust that will clearly echo into the next instalment. No one was entirely bad, though they could be bad and worse act in bad ways.

It was also an instructive overview on what resource wars mean and how communities who, theoretically, might not be in conflict could come to war over such simple things as access.

The effects were good and unshowy, though one or two may look a bit bockety (the technical term!) sooner rather than later. A world where only one in 500 humans survived was sketched out well, again unshowily but with some nice subtle touches – though one thing that struck me was that looking at the first film the speed at which the disease would burn through populations wouldn’t leave much time for the erection of quarantine zones and such like before society collapsed entirely.

Perhaps best of all was the sense that this was a small story – geographically speaking, but one which was pivotal in relation to intelligent life on the planet. So the individual actions and events were limited to two communities, one simian, one human, but the significance of them was much much greater.

It wasn’t perfect. Women? What women? Jason Clarke might provide a fantastically humanist lead human character, but what about the woefully underused Keri Russell (from the Americans, a TV series we’ve never discussed here), an actor with particularly interesting range. It was worse in relation to the apes, which is saying something, with Caesar’s wife a cipher for the entirety of the film.

Then there were plot oddities. A fair few of them too. Much was made of the need to have a dam up and running generating electrical power in part to assist a human community and also to contact other possible communities by radio. But that made literally no sense since they presumably had fuel powered generators which could do much the same thing. Or treadmill powered ones, or… And speaking of which a couple of electrical cables cut at various points would have had an interesting effect. Then there was a cameo by someone who had appeared in the first film. All very nice but, time wise, it made no sense. It was put to me that character development wasn’t great, and there’s something in that too. It zipped along, perhaps too fast for the tale it had to tell.

Still, it was intelligent, understated and affecting. The sense of a world utterly devastated by disease and what that would mean in practical terms… well, it was far from comfortable.

Further oddities. It had a different ending originally, one hinted at in some of the trailers (although the CGI ship was specifically done for the trailer and wasn’t intended to be in the final product).

And speaking of which there was also an alternate ending for Rise of the Planet of the Apes which was mapped out in concept art. Here’s a rough YouTube animation of same.

Trying too hard, I’d say, to get the feel of the original of the…er…species, that fantastic climatic scene in the very first film.

But wait, there was another alternate ending too, according to io9. It never ends.


1. gendjinn - June 12, 2016

It’s got it’s limitations but taken as an action yarn it’s great. Regarding quarantines – this virus has a short incubation period, short time to death and a >99% mortality rate. Those are pretty easy to set up quarantines for and let the burn out – it’s just not going to happen in the epicenter.

But there are a lot of cities, towns and villages within hundreds of miles that could weather the plague whose surviving populations would relocate to SF because it’s got a gravity fed water system all the way from the Hetch Hetchy reservoir, it’s 7×7 miles and surrounded by water on three sides and some rugged terrain to the south.

Regarding the dam I believe they were running out of fuel for the generators and needed to get the hydro online.

Speaking of sci-fi in San Francisco “Ever Since the World Ended” (2001) is a documentary that takes place about a decade after plague wipes out most of humanity. It’s the very opposite of Rise/Dawn.

War for the Planet of the Apes is out next year.


WorldbyStorm - June 12, 2016

Yeah, it is a good action yarn. Great way of putting it. Thought there was a fair bit of hand-waving re the virus wasn’t there.

I have never heard of that doc, sounds great. I’m going to go looking now!


gendjinn - June 12, 2016

It’s a beautiful little gem filmed just as the mass exodus from the dotcom crash. I remember every other week was a going away party for someone – about 80% to 90% of the dotcom employyes living in SF left between in about 18 months.

Twas our very own mini-collapse of society.


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