Skip

The Decade Between Rise and Dawn
July 2, 2014 12:44 AM   Subscribe

Three short films depict the spread of simian flu during the decade between Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes and Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes: Spread Of The Simian Flu: Quarantine (Year 1) [6m25s], Struggling To Survive: All Fall Down (Year 5) [5m10s], Story Of The Gun: The Gun (Year 10) [13m40s].

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is probably the best reviewed movie I've read about since Gravity.

Plus, it marks a huge leap forward in motion capture performance (filming in actual locations), as seen in this featurette.
posted by hippybear (23 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Well that's a pleasant surprise. I'd had this one pegged as another mediocre soulless CGI sequel crapfest. The short films are nice, too -- reminiscent of the one-shots made to promote 28 Weeks Later.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:27 AM on July 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


I only half paid attention to Rise when I saw it on a plane and it was OK but that makes it at least 100 times better than the Tim Burton crapfest.

This one looks pretty good but, at least in the trailer, the apes still don't seem to have escaped from the uncanny valley.
posted by octothorpe at 4:36 AM on July 2, 2014


The first reboot was a unexpectedly good movie, but I'm tempering my expectations for this sequel because the producers dumped director Rupert Wyatt and replaced him with Matt Reeves who specializes in Hollywood Productâ„¢.

As for being "the best reviewed movie" - - when it's still 10 days from it's release date, a studio only allows their most trusted reviewers to skip the NDA and publish glowing reviews - - almost all big summer tentpole movies have similar great reviews at this point in their trajectories.

And I have also seen the endless promotion about the motion capture, they've really got the hard sell going on that aspect! Personally, I wasn't particularly impressed with what I've seen in the trailers so far, although Andy Serkis seemed to be rocking the boat by referring to CGI as "digital makeup". (One thing is certain, I'll be seeing it in 2D. The settings appear dark already, no need to where sunglasses in the theatre.)

But enough of my skepticism, there's still a chance that Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes will turn out to be a great movie despite the odds. Goodness knows we need one, they're a rare commodity this year.
posted by fairmettle at 4:37 AM on July 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Damn you all to Hell !!
( I am trying to work and you post 30mins of short films that I absolutely have to watch right now.)
posted by Flood at 4:45 AM on July 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


I applaud your optimism; those are good reviews, though arguably "impressively un-stupid" (Telegraph) sets a low bar.

Ominously, the same paper suggested that reviews in the USA may skew depending on how they view its gun control theme. I can easily imagine Second Amendment types, seeing the dawn of apedom and the surrender by humans of their weapons, saying, well, . . .

P.S. That the humans may keep a few on hand will be cited, surely, as evidence that with a gun ban only criminals (humans) will have weapons.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 5:10 AM on July 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Flood, maybe you would be able to work even better if you didn't have the movies distracting you? Besides, you could just watch the first one, it's not like you're going to watch all three in a row. And if you fast-forward through the titles and skip the credits I bet they're only 15 mins altogether, tops.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:26 AM on July 2, 2014


Heads up that there are a ton of plot details in the Variety and Hollywood Reporter reviews. You can get the gist in the first couple of paragraphs but skip the rest if you'd rather not know the plot before going in.

when it's still 10 days from it's release date, a studio only allows their most trusted reviewers to skip the NDA and publish glowing reviews - - almost all big summer tentpole movies have similar great reviews at this point in their trajectories

I dunno, Variety didn't pull too many punches when reviewing an obvious smash hit like Transformers 4 ("So who cares if the human characters are even more dispensable and the plot even more scattershot than usual?") I tend to only check Variety for arthouse reviews, but it's rare in my experience for its reviewers to rave unless a movie is actually pretty damn good (unlike that guy at Rolling Stone, say, or anyone with "-TV" after their employer's name).

The true test is Joe Morgenstern at the Wall Street Journal. Best reviewer in the country right now. By which I mean, of course, "reviewer whose taste most closely approximates my own."

The first two shorts are pretty good, even if they rely too much on cute kids for their emotional weight. I like the lines "They trade things that they need for things that they want" and "And there's still so much left to lose" in the second one. I'm guessing that's gonna be less true in the third.
posted by mediareport at 5:32 AM on July 2, 2014


Ok, "Story of the Gun" is pretty good too (and just 10:44 before the credits), using a standard trope to tell a few more or less interesting stories, and evoking the original POTA movie nicely at the end.
posted by mediareport at 5:54 AM on July 2, 2014


Ok, "Story of the Gun" is pretty good too (and just 10:44 before the credits), using a standard trope to tell a few more or less interesting stories, and evoking the original POTA movie nicely at the end.

I just watched it. It was a lot better than I had expected and it served its purpose in that I'm now planning to see the movie.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:09 AM on July 2, 2014


The transformation of the aid worker was particularly effective; the ranting survivalist funny but clichéd, the urban black woman given not nearly enough time, I could go on. It was a nice short that sets up the movie nicely, yeah, but I kinda wish they all were a bit richer.
posted by mediareport at 6:13 AM on July 2, 2014


Eventually this all leads to That Awkward Time Around 4:00 When You Realize You Haven't Got Much Done And Probably Won't But Still Feel Like You Should Of The Planet Of The Apes.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:10 AM on July 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Is this going to be the movie where the maniacs blow it up?
posted by ckape at 11:02 AM on July 2, 2014


No, the world was destroyed with good intentions. Something that was supposed to be beneficial turned out to be a terrible evil.

Thanks for this post, hippybear! The movies and the behind the scenes feature are really interesting. The short films get progressively better. The first one is awful, like someone's self indulgent film school project. The second one is better, but it doesn't have much plot. The third one is the best by far, as it gives us a look at what it was like to survive in those ten horrible years.

SPOILERS for the short films

The nature of the apocalypse still confuses me. In the text at the beginning of the films it says that the virus killed nine out of every ten people in the first year, but that wouldn't be enough to destroy human civilization and lead to the desperate struggle for survival we see here.

Ten percent of seven billion is still seven hundred million people alive in the world. Now they would be traumatized and scattered, but certain places would have fairly high concentrations of survivors: isolated towns and islands, nations like China and India who would still have populations of over a hundred million people, government bunkers and the like, and so on. Those places would serve as nuclei of civilization, attracting other survivors, which would lead to a reboot of things like agriculture, science and the economy. After ten years everybody would probably be settled into ersatz city states or small towns, and probably dependent on 19th century style agriculture for survival. Technology would be more primitive because of the lack of oil and replacement parts, but you might even see those industries rebooting with enough time.

It wouldn't be like a zombie apocalypse movie, because the only threat is the virus. The apes are limited to the western hemisphere (spreading out from San Francisco), and from what we've seen it doesn't look like they'll be slaughtering every human they see. They're a nation trying to survive, but they can live in the forests and forage for themselves much better than humans can. So there shouldn't be any fundamental conflict between the two species at first.

So one in ten doesn't seem to be the case for long. What we see in the third film, where the US government just seems to disappear halfway through the marshal's story, and especially in the story of the crazy survivalist who outlives all his buddies, is a virus that is constantly changing, and finding new ways to infect the survivors.
posted by Kevin Street at 4:04 PM on July 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't try to think through the apocalyptic scenario too critically. From a macro plot standpoint the idea simply seems to be to whack the humans down to a point where a head-to-head fight against a much smaller population of apes appears credible.
posted by dhartung at 5:08 PM on July 2, 2014




This is great. Thanks, hippybear.
posted by Sleeper at 9:56 PM on July 2, 2014


Reminder: Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes Was Very, Very Bad

Y'know, I felt more betrayed by "Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes".

Rewind to 2001 and I remember leaving the theatre after seeing Tim Burton's "Apes" swearing I would never see another POTA movie again.

So when I heard of "Rise" I was sure I would not plant my butt in a theatre seat. Fool me twice and all. And then I looked at Rotten Tomatoes. I came expecting to see rotten reviews -- which would be great, they're fun to read! Instead I saw a 'Tomato rating' that was in the 90s (?!).

Now the thing to understand about Rotten Tomatoes is that the Tomato Rating is more or less useless on its own. I have a half dozen critics who I trust and when I looked at them, they all had the positive tomato 'splat' by them, supporting the overall consensus.

My 'go to' rule is that if there's overall consensus within that grouping of critics, chances are good I'll like the film. Under no circumstances will I read a review of a movie I plan on seeing though. If I see 5 or 6 tomato 'splats' by my top critics, I'll see the movie first and read their reviews later. So "Rise" was in!

I convinced my skeptical wife to go to the theatre to see "Rise". And it was... awful! She was embarrassed for me. And I was embarrassed for me. And that's when I went back and read the 'positive' reviews from my top critics. The reviews were marginal passes at best! Enough to earn an overall positive rating, but just barely. And the overall Tomato rating is just an aggregate of the splat ratings. So if 90% of the reviews are just marginal 'positives' the movie has an overall tomato rating in the 90s!

Of course I would have figured all that out had I read the reviews beforehand but, like I mentioned earlier, I don't read reviews of movies I think I'm going to see. It was the perfect storm of limited information. I was sucker punched by Rotten Tomatoes. It was a catastrophic failure of my movie screening system and it stings to this day!

</rant>
posted by mazola at 11:44 PM on July 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Do you go to the movies that seldom, mazola? I've seen some bad movies but there's always another one next week.
posted by octothorpe at 4:57 AM on July 3, 2014


I've always disliked Rotten Tomatoes for that reason, mazola. Their method is blunt to the point of uselessness -- convert each review into a binary like/dislike, then give the overall ratio of the two. It completely fails to capture any nuance, and browsing their dozens of review snippets is a chaotic mess.

Metacritic (despite its lackluster redesign) is much better, IMHO. Each review is converted to a score out of 100, with all the results averaged into a precise metascore. You can easily evaluate the spread of criticism with simple bar graphs -- Universally acclaimed? Polarizing? Solidly mediocre? -- and the inclusion of averaged user reviews in a separate score offers another perspective. That they do the same for music, TV, and games is a big plus, too.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:14 PM on July 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


Do you go to the movies that seldom, mazola? I've seen some bad movies but there's always another one next week.

I'm not sure I can adequately convey my "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" experience. It's not really rational. But it's deep. And raw.

And don't get me started on the time I rented "Spanglish".
posted by mazola at 11:18 PM on July 3, 2014


The true test is Joe Morgenstern at the Wall Street Journal. Best reviewer in the country right now. By which I mean, of course, "reviewer whose taste most closely approximates my own."

Well, here is Morgenstern's review of Dawn.

Metacritic now lists 45 reviews. Enjoy.
posted by hippybear at 11:55 AM on July 11, 2014


Saw it today. Keep your expectations in check; it's a standard stupidly-male-dominated, explosions-in-the-third-act, predictable blockbuster, with a terrible ending. I honestly have no idea where the critical acclaim is coming from, except for the technical achievements. Shockingly, Joe Morgenstern has failed me.

It's fun to watch during the first half hour, but there's not much plot-wise for fans of smart sci-fi. It feels like an expensive remake of the worst of the original series of films, Battle For the Planet of the Apes, with every plodding development telegraphed a mile away, one of which becomes so utterly absurd that it completely ruins the last half hour of the movie. You'll know what I mean.

Why is it so hard to make mainstream sci-fi movies that don't use ridiculously lazy and insulting storytelling?

Great effects, though. Too bad they're used in the service of such a surprisingly pedestrian film.
posted by mediareport at 9:03 PM on July 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


I honestly have no idea where the critical acclaim is coming from, except for the technical achievements.

That was my exact reaction as well. Did the critics see a special prerelease version that was better in every way? What a let down.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:22 PM on July 14, 2014


« Older "Daddy is exercising his demons."   |   "Iconography" Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post