Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - 'Smart' Science Fiction at its Best | Fanboys Anonymous
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Caesar CGI monkey
The summer movie season is winding down now and we've seen some prime examples of two completely different film series in regards to tone and approach to movie making. One is of the most basic form of entertainment: crass, loud, and appealing to the lowest common denominator of the movie going public. It has revealing shots of girls in tight clothes, plenty of explosions, and stupid action scenes that do nothing to advance the plot and lots of noise. Wanna guess the POS I mean?

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The other is a film of genuine heart and maturity, done with storytelling and character development front and center, where the characters feel like real people (or in this case real apes), and their motivations are clear and concise and very understandable. This last point is important to repeat. Even when the characters are doing "bad" things, even when the antagonists are killing and maiming, as the audience you see where they are coming from and even want them to succeed because they are so well realized and compelling.

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These two films, Transformers: Age of Extinction and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, represent the sharp dichotomy of today's Hollywood film making. It's telling that I don't even have to say which film is which; I could just repeat those two above paragraphs and anyone that has any clue about summer movies would nod and say, "Yeah, Transformers is the first one, Apes is the second."

Since I don't wish to bash Bayformers and give them anymore of my time, I'll focus instead on the film that has given me hope in regards to the present state of movies. The Apes films, going all the way back the 1968 science fiction classic The Planet of the Apes, has always been more intellectual sci-fi compared to most franchises. Sure, there is plenty of battles if you are into that stuff, but the themes of social inequality, injustice, animal captivity, and the future of the human race have always been on the forefront of these films.

Dawn is no different. What I find so amazing is that, much like the Toy Story trilogy, the Apes films manage to instill a sense of reality into a potentially wacky premise. I mean, apes taking over the planet? C'mon, get real! But they make it work; and work so well you begin to care about these CGI creations, even forgetting that not only are they just apes, but fake, computer generated apes at that! It's a perfect blend of high stakes entertainment and heartfelt tragedy. I walked out of the theater stunned and with hope that despite the box office success of crap like Transformers, there's still room for intelligently made summer films.

Does everyone agree? Is there still hope for cinema, even with all the noisy crap out there? 

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