No monkeying about in sequel

RUNNING WILD: The Rise of the Planet of the Apes is screening at the Sovereign Cinema.
RUNNING WILD: The Rise of the Planet of the Apes is screening at the Sovereign Cinema. Contributed

DIRECTOR Rupert Wyatt released a reboot of a franchise, in 2011, which seemed dead in the water.

After the failure of Tim Burton's 2001 remake, the Planet of the Apes franchise was something no writer or director wanted to approach.

For fair reason, Burton's remake tarnished the respect for this historic series of films.

That changed with Wyatt's Rise of The Planet of The Apes.

It was an intelligent, sophisticated prequel/reboot that contained some of the finest motion-capture filmmaking viewers had seen.

This time around, Wyatt's not in the director's chair.

But never fear, Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) has taken helm of the next instalment in the Apes franchise and he has crafted a thrilling and exciting sequel that exceeds the cinematic brilliance of Rise.

Set 10 years after the events of Rise, Dawn of The Planet of The Apes features a middle-aged Caesar as he struggles with fatherhood and keeping his hold as the alpha-male of his now, much expanded group of "super apes".

When their first contact with humans in more than two years ends up with a young ape shot, Caesar must make a decision on what to do with the group of humans living in San Francisco.

He doesn't want to appear weak but offers a deal of peace between human and ape.

But his general (or right-hand ape, if you will) Koba has other ideas.

He wants every human dead.

His decision comes from a dark place, having been tormented and experimented on in his early life.

The filmmakers were wise to make this film ape-centric.

In fact, the writing and performances by Andy Serkis (Caesar), Toby Kebbell (Koba) and Nick Thurston (Blue Eyes, Caesar's son) are so compelling this film would have worked without any human characters.

The script is full of tension, which builds naturally towards an inevitable attack.

The action sequences are well shot and the final showdown between apes and humans contains a brilliant shot on a moving tank.

But without the brilliant writing, these action sequences would be hollow if we didn't care for those we were watching die in front of us.

This film exceeded my high expectations.

This has been the best film to come out of the American summer blockbusters.

There will no doubt be a third instalment in this franchise, which is creeping ever-so-close to another remake of the original Planet of The Apes, so whoever's hands that ends up in, I hope they take a note from this film and come at it with a lot of smarts and attention.

Gympie Times

Topics:  film review

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