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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

After a wonderful quick vacation getaway to Chicago, I returned to my usual movie theater for the latest Apes installment. I actually had a chance to see this while I was away, but the exhausting events of the day didn't make me optimistic about being awake and alert. Also, I had to come back to pick up the "Hakuna Matata" shirt I'd forgotten the last time I was there from the Lost and Found. So I rewatched Begin Again (since I correctly guessed my buddy would absolutely love it) and returned home for Apes. It was a solid plan.

Solid movie too. We pick up exactly where we left off with Rise. The end credits virus sequence opens the film with a bit of an upgrade. More detail and insight into the devastation of the world and a peek further down the timeline. Then we jump ahead about a decade. While the human world is now desolate, the apes have thrived. They live a blissful and peaceful life that is threatened when the surviving humans find them.

There was one thing that stood out to me as truly incredible. Caesar is a wonderfully complex character, among the best we've seen on screen in recent years at least. I'm not even qualifying that with "for an animal" or "for a CGI" charcater. I mean at all. Certainly more than any character you'll find in a summer blockbuster. Andy Serkis breathes such life into him with a technology that is so advanced that you don't think of him as an ape, but as a fully fleshed out being. The internal conflict, the pressures of leadership, the familial obligations, everything is there. I'd say that other summer films wish they could hit that level, but the truth is few even bother trying.

The main theme seemed to be the duality of man. And of ape for that matter. You can't classify all men as purely good or purely evil. One person with bad intentions can offset the balance and destroy everything. The apes learned this and the humans learned this.

All that weight PLUS the suspense you'd expect from a popcorn film. My heart was nervously pounding in my chest, particularly thru the last act. I didn't always know where the story was going to go and that excited and even scared me. I've become jaded by predictable action sequences, but these were stunning. Sure, my general love of primates may have had something to do with that, but it felt like each shot was carefully thought out and not just thrown together to look cool.

We're certainly progressing the prequel story in a very consistent manner that's exciting to follow. While I know where things will ultimately end up in the far far future, I can't wait to see the next few steps in getting there

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/
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