Planet Of The Apes Rewatch: Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

Once again, Ryan, Jimmy, and Tom are discussing a Planet of the Apes movie.  This time, in another SPOILER FILLED chat, the guys discuss the second film Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

 

tomk:  I was going to just do a digital rental from Amazon for this one, but to buy it digitally was only an extra dollar, so I went that route instead.

Looks like it’s starting where the post-credits scene from Rise left off.

#ThanksObama

Nice fake out with the elk hunt.

Man, apes are awesome.

Gary Oldman checks in for yet another geek franchise.

Trouble brewing. Looks like more misunderstanding between species, but it feels different this time.

There’s always that one jackass who packs a shotgun in his toolbox…

I gotta say, I’m an hour in and this is good stuff, but this some seriously slow burn material. I appreciate that.

Oh. Here we go. Apes on horseback with machine guns. Watson was so exuberant about this scene. It is not what I expected since Koba started it.

Man, Koba sure has some rage issues. He must have been upset over the lack of ape action figures at Target.

Bright Eyes is incredibly expensive.

Man, that was good.

jimmy:  It was good, but I did find the slow burn just a little too slow.

tomk:  Yes, but it wasn’t what my recollection of the trailers led me to believe it was. I thought it would be something along the lines of the first movie, but the apes, led by Koba, were the true aggressors this time around.

jimmy:  I told you they were evil!!!!

tomk:  Koba is no ape. Autocorrect wants to refer to him as “Boba” for some reason.

jimmy:  Koba Fett

tomk:  Actually…Koba was played by actor Toby Kebbell, and he’s done his fair share of motion capture performances seeing as he was Doom in the last Fantastic Four movie, the most prominent orc in the Warcraft movie, and he did some facial work for Kong on this year’s Skull Island. He’s not Andy Serkis, but he’s done his share.

Kebbell as Doom.
Kebbell as an orc.
Kebbell playing Koba.
Kebbell in that one episode of Black Mirror he did.

jimmy:  Cool. Maybe if he was Kong, he might have won this one.

There was one thing I found a little odd. Near the beginning, the apes are speculating if the humans have become extinct as they haven’t seen any sign of them in two years. Yet just over the bridge, which is within walking distance, there is a community of hundreds of people.

tomk:  The apes had no reason to go there, and the humans have only gradually been moving back to the city is how I understood it.

ryan:  I thought the humans had been there for a while–they mention how the city had nuclear power which stopped working (yay for effective failsafe measures that didn’t contaminate all of California, hopefully!) and then they switched to generators–all of that implies time and probably no reason to visit the forest north of the city. And Oldman said some line about having less people now but more firepower, so the stockpiling effort took time as well. All of that could easily be 2 years of not visiting the redwoods.

I love the visuals of Apetown. So alien, but identifiable. Caesar’s tree house is stunning, scary yet authoritative. His old window as a continued symbol of his rule. The wall of commandments. None of this is explicitly pointed out but we’re in the middle of it. Fantastic visual storytelling.

I forgot from previous viewings how much sign language there was as well–I liked it, but it also meant I had to read a lot of it to Isaac. I wonder if that will be true for War as well–people in the Drafthouse might not like that.

tomk:  The wall reminded me a little of the tenets of Animalism before the pigs modified them in Animal Farm.

jimmy:  Like Ryan said, it sounded like they had been there a while, and with power. So even if the apes never ventured out and the humans never ventured in, you’d think the apes would have at least heard or seen some sign of them. It’s been 8 years, and only the last two apparently human free, so they knew they were out there previously.

Agreed on the window and the commandments. And Maurice teaching school.

tomk:  The apes didn’t appear to want to see any humans. Humans were bad news. Best to avoid them. The humans, meanwhile, had no reason to go into the woods. They probably suspected the woods were full of potentially hostile apes.

 

jimmy:  Sure. Both make sense. But the apes should have seen signs that they were there. It’s not a big deal, just felt a little sloppy. And if the expedition just showed up, fine, that works, but to go back to this huge community…

tomk:  Maybe Caesar knew there’d be an ape war if Koba knew there were humans out there.

I mean, were we ever told the purpose of the weapons stockpile the humans had?

ryan:  10 winters in the forest and they’ve been busy building a life while the world crumbles around them. I have to think there were some nasty encounters in the early days but they probably became few and far between as time went on. I could see them not wanting to visit the city–some apes like Koba purposefully don’t want to encounter humans, while others like Caesar just want to build their own community.

The purpose was never spelled out but I think we can guess it, mostly based on the two guys that Koba took out (which, by the way, is one of the greatest scenes ever…funny and terrifying all at the same time). Since those guys are testing all these guns it means one of two things. First, either the stockpile was newly acquired and they are figuring out what equipment works and what doesn’t; or second, that they have experience with weapons malfunctioning so they’re constantly testing the gear on a rotating basis so that doesn’t happen. Either scenario could have a backstory that feeds into their paranoia combined with the world they lived in. That’s another thing that felt amazing about this story, we really get a sense of how neither side wants the conflict but because of their history and a few individuals making it bad for everyone, the conflict emerged.

jimmy:  I think they said they had found/acquired the stockpile and were testing if it worked.

tomk:  Right. And even if they aren’t specifically looking to go ape-hunting, they probably want a stockpile of something against any potential threat, human or ape. They just found the apes first.

jimmy:  If Walking Dead taught us anything (well, not Tom), it’s that in the apocalypse the biggest threat is the other communities.

tomk:  So, really, Jimmy wants some ape on zombie action, and not the half-assed one Marvel produced once.

jimmy:  I wouldn’t complain.

And I know the apes are super-smart and can wear business suits, roller skate and do that peg puzzle I could probably never figure out, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that they could never reload any of those guns.

tomk:  Watch humans do it enough times and it’s probably not too hard.

ryan:  The trailer to War shows they can totally reload weapons.

tomk:  They have opposable thumbs. I would think so. I’d be more concerned that they can fit their larger ape fingers inside a trigger guard.

jimmy:  Ok, ok, the apes got it all figured out. 🙂

And it would have been a very different movie, but what would you have thought if Franco had shown up as a survivor? Pushing the realm of believability in this movie about talking apes on horseback with machine guns too far?

tomk:  Maybe. He was at Ground Zero for the plague, so he may have gotten sick sooner or developed an immunity.

ryan:  I like to picture him dying instead. Not because of Franco, he’s fine, but more because of the horrible, horrible science.

jimmy:  Lol

tomk:  You’d think a movie series with quick-evolving apes would have a better grasp on the scientific method.

jimmy:  Back to one of Ryan’s earlier points, I was surprised by the amount of signing and subtitles. I figured the apes would be talking up a storm by now.

tomk:  They’re three different apes species at least. Do all their throats work the same way?

jimmy:  Probably not. And they’ve all had different levels of exposure to the ALZ112/113.

tomk:  The virus would probably affect them in different ways as well.

ryan:  I never thought of the exposure being a matter of degrees though. I always thought you were either exposed or not. I don’t think Caesar is a super genius because he had it genetically and stood in a giant cloud of the stuff later.

jimmy:  Do you think the subsequent exposure to the 113 further affected Caesar?

tomk:  Exposure, no, though apes not born with it may get smarter over time. But chimps, humans, gorillas, and orangutans are all different species. The virus should affect each one differently.

ryan:  Not the virus, the gene therapy. The virus was just a delivery mechanism–once the apes were exposed it changed their DNA and passed on. That’s how Caesar got it the first time. The rest is just experience and age.

tomk:  Yes, but I think my point still stands. The virus could have done all kinds of things to the apes that weren’t chimps. If it kills humans and makes chimps smarter through gene therapy, it should have done something else to Maurice and the gorillas up to and including nothing at all. You don’t see the horses developing complex language skills.

jimmy:   Well, there was one…

ryan:  Well, there’s applying real science and then there’s movie science. At least the science in this movie series seems to be: the gene therapy works on all apes but the effect is binary rather than additive. What that effect is, or how effective, is potentially varied but hard to say.

jimmy:  Ms Impossible asked me last night when we are seeing the new one. I guess she’s liked them. 🙂

tomk:  They aren’t generally what they appear to be. Even Watson’s enthusiastic glee over apes on horseback with machine guns hides the fact that the apes weren’t acting in self-defense at the time, a good assumption to make after Rise.

ryan:   Rise had a great juxtaposition of the first shot and the last. Same with Dawn. It opened with Caesar in warpaint but we quickly learned it was just a hunt. But the movie closes on Caesar without warpaint, forced to lead a war. The first movie was about captivity versus freedom, the second about living in peace versus fighting. And now we have the War.

I. CANNOT. WAIT.

jimmy:  Ms. Impossible said again tonight how she couldn’t wait to see the new one. Seems like only last week I had to talk her into watching the first two at all. 🙂

ryan:  Can you have her talk some sense into Jenny?

jimmy:  That might be a lost cause.

I’m surprised she likes them so much all the same. She generally tolerates super hero movies, and is not big into sci-fi, so this seemed very much out of her wheelhouse.

tomk:  Most people love apes

ryan:  Not Gary Oldman.

tomk:  He has his reasons.

ryan:  I always wondered if the “army base to the north” was a lie. Because if not, why would he think blowing up the tower would save the human race?

jimmy:  He seemed pretty crazy by the end.

tomk:  Apes had taken over his city, and someone was arguing they had a society. You’d look crazy too if your home town was suddenly ground zero for Planet of the Mooses.

jimmy:  Was? Suddenly?

ryan:  Yeah, you just described 1998 for Jimmy.

tomk:  Well, I don’t know Canada as well as Jimmy does for obvious reasons.

jimmy:  Were there any homages to the original films here like there was in Rise?

tomk:  Well, I’ve only seen one of the original films, the Heston one obviously, so I can’t say.

jimmy:  I didn’t notice any, but I half missed the meaning of the Mars mission in part one. It of course had the “damn dirty apes” line. Perhaps they felt it unnecessary here and let it stand on it’s own.

tomk:  It’s like when John McClane wishes you a “merry Christmas” in his own special way for a Die Hard movie…it just isn’t a Planet of the Apes movie without that.

jimmy:  Yippee Ki Yay, Mr. Falcon.

tomk:  Get your hands off me you damn, dirty thief pretending to be a terrorist!

ryan:  Did either of you read the comic book that the teenager is reading? Black Hole I think.

tomk:  Doesn’t ring a bell.

jimmy:  Is it a real comic?

ryan:  Apparently so. About a bunch of teenagers who contract an STD that horribly deforms them.

jimmy:  That’s more in Watson’s wheelhouse.

ryan:  Also, we need to take some time to acknowledge the awesomeness of the Dawn soundtrack. While the Rise soundtrack was your standard scored movie track list, Dawn is something special. Here’s the full track list.
Level Plaguing Field
Look Who’s Stalking
The Great Ape Processional
Past Their Primates
Close Encounters of the Furred Kind
Monkey to the City
The Lost City of Chimpanzees
Along Simian Lines
Caesar No Evil, Hear No Evil
Monkey See, Monkey Coup
Gorilla Warfare
The Apes of Wrath
Gibbon Take
Aped Crusaders
How Bonobo Can You Go
Enough Monkeying Around
Primates For Life
Planet of the End Credits
Ain’t That a Stinger

tomk:  So. Many. Puns.

ryan:  They didn’t save any for War, that’s for sure. (I’m not posting that list because it may have spoilers)

The last track is also amusing because there was allegedly a post-credits scene that was cut at the last minute.

tomk:  Well, War is in theaters as I type this, gentlemen. Any last thoughts? Beyond, “What’s wrong with Jenny for hating this series?”

ryan:  That’s a good one. Isaac and I are headed to the Drafthouse in one hour! ONE HOUR!!!

tomk:  Tomorrow for me. I have other plans for today.

jimmy:  Not sure when I’ll see it. *sad Ape face*

COMING SOON (hopefully):  We’ve seen good chats for good movies.  Will the pattern continue when Jimmy finally sees War for the Planet of the Apes?  Be back soon to find out.  In the meantime, go see the new movie.  If you read this far, you must be a fan.

tomk74

Defender of the faith, contributing writer, debonair man-about-town.

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