Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

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I am 99% certain the impetus behind my high school Barenaked Ladies fanaticism was the lyric in “If I had $1,000,000,” where either Ed or Steven counters with “Haven’t you always wanted a monkey?!?!” because YES…YES I DID WANT A MONKEY…and frankly, I still do!

Due to this chimp adoration, and because I loved the original 1960’s classic (and dystopian fiction in general) I have been pretty excited about the reboot of the Planet of the Apes franchise.  In 2012, I loved the James Franco edition  aka Rise of the Planet of The Apes and was beyond ecstatic to see the 2nd in the prequel series, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes a few weeks ago.   

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Despite being on excitement level 11 for this viewing, I was worried it wouldn’t live up to my lofty expectations for a variety of reasons:

1.     I am always a little dubious when a movie’s runtime is well over 2 hours. Is it going to be too much filler and veer in too many directions? How many times I am I going illuminate my phone to check the time?

2.     Aside from Kerri Russell and Gary Oldman, there were really no major names in the human roles.

3.     The trailer was filled to the gills with images of apes riding on horseback whilst double-fisting machine guns. WHAT WAS THEIR ARTILLERY TRAINING!?!? I laughed when I originally saw it in the preview, and worried this movie would be a mockery.

Thankfully, I was pretty damned wrong…on all counts. The runtime worked perfect to tell a fully formed story and my self-diagnosed ADD didn’t kick in at any point.  This is major.

The major movie stars you’d come to expect weren’t needed, because Andy Serkis KILLED IT as Caesar and the actor, Toby Kebbell, who motion captured Koba was horrifyingly brilliant. There should be an Oscar category for “Best human who dons a suit of balls to portray a primate!”  [And if it doesn’t win for best visual effects, I am crying BS!]

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And as for the images of chimps with military grade weapons…I didn’t mind it. It worked for some odd reason, and this coming from someone who is completely anti-gun. [Tangent: I guess I make allowances when the assailant is a talking monkey.  So with this logic, I am totally okay with Magilla Gorilla or Mojo Jojo packing heat.]

I will try not to give too much away, even though it is a prequel, and if you know anything about pop culture, you know how this is going to play out.

It is exciting to watch these furry characters (Maurice especially…I love an organgatan.) go from being imprisoned in a human world to being the badass rulers of the free world.  There was a moment when Koba was perched on a tattered American flag where I was even reminded of the iconic scene from the original.

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So, I guess what I am saying is GO SEE THIS MOVIE!  And on a personal level, even after knowing that genetically altered, computer generated primates have the capability to rise up and overtake humans as some new master race, I still really want one. How can you forget how cute baby Caesar looked in little ape jeans in Rise? AND THAT MONKEY HOODIE??? Don’t even get me started!

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