Monkey Business – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
The acting community better shape up. If the new movie Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a sign of things to come human actors might all soon be out of work.
This prequel to the great Planet of the Apes movies from the last century is also a sequel to 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes. It takes place years after apes have gained intelligence and humans have died from a plague. You’d figure by now apes would be running things, but they’re living in a Northern California commune until humans show up and all hell breaks loose.
This edition is more flawed then it’s predecessor. While Rise of the Planet of the Apes was focused in showing how apes end up being so smart in those great 1960’s movies while having a fun time doing it, nothing really gets resolved in this chapter. This movie’s only purpose seems to be biding time to set itself up for more warfare of ape verses man in the inevitable sequel, Lunchtime at the Planet of the Apes.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes worst crime though is how seriously it takes itself. The 1960’s version always had a serious undercurrent of how humans were messing up the Earth, but it wasn’t so heavyhanded in expressing it. In Dawn of the Planet of the Apes except for one scene where a mean monkey acts like a goofball, there is no sense of humor. Instead it fetishizes warfare and gunplay and is more worried about how big an explosion can be than telling an interesting story.
That being said the monkeys in this movie are really cute and emotive. The masterminds who generated their computer images perfected the simian movements and characterizations. Whenever monkeys are on the screen interacting with each other, the movie earns your attention.
The problem is the humans keep showing up with uninteresting plot lines and there’s not one Charlton Heston or Marky Mark, or (God help us) James Franco among them. Speaking of which what happened to Franco’s character, was Spring Breakers the continuation of his story?
But a lot of the stinkers I’d seen recently would have improved if they cast apes, computer generated or otherwise, instead of movie stars. It would have been a lot more heartwarming and less narcissistic if in the movie Her a monkey fell in love with his computer instead of a pleased with himself Joaquin Phoenix. If a monkey Captain America had to fight an evil monkey in a suit instead of Robert Redford, it would have had me a lot more involved.
They already have the monkeys writing too many of the scripts Hollywood releases these days, might as well put them in front of the camera too.