Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
2014 Twentieth Century Fox. Directed by Matt Reeves. Running time: 130 minutes. PG 13. Starring: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, Gary Oldman
Mathew: Wait! Wait! Let me go first! Here's the review! More Monkey Mayhem!
Helm: Do you think you are clever?
Mathew: Well... yeah. That was sort of the point. You know, a clever, one-line review.
Helm: Your clever review tells me nothing. The movie deserves better. The apes deserve better.
Mathew: Wow. Who put the bug up your butt today?
Helm: There is no bug and I have no butt. You, on the other hand...
Mathew: Fine. Whatever. Let's just review the movie here, Helm, not our relationship.
Helm: Agreed. Let me show you what a proper review looks like. I enjoyed this movie significantly more than the previous "Apes" movie, although it was not necessary to have seen the first to enjoy this one. The movie delivered a solid story, good pacing, rousing action, moving performances. I found it an enjoyable and meaningful exploration of the breakdowns that occur in society and relationships.
Helm: Your sparkling and witty repartee is a constant delight.
Mathew: You thought the movie was meaningful? The first "Planet of the Apes" movies, now those were meaningful. They were super allegorical and touched on massively important topics like racism, classism, inequality and the threat of nuclear war. This one was fun to watch, but it wasn't nearly as symbolic as the Chuck Heston classics. There weren't any awesome shots like when Chuck finds the broken Statue of Liberty. Now that's symbolism!
Helm: You are an imbecile. I will concede that this film was more nuanced and layered than those earlier films (which I enjoyed). But they were ultimately ham-handed and cartoony. This is a more mature take on the story. It is not tremendously deep, but it is clearly already over your head.
Mathew: You're saying that a "Planet of the Apes" movie is over my head? It's monkeys fighting humans for control of the planet. It wouldn't go over the head of a chimp.
Helm: It was a meditation on the origins of war and the concept that no group is naturally good or evil but is swayed by individuals who lean toward light or darkness.
Mathew: Well... sure... but it was mostly about monkeys riding horses and firing guns and blowing things up.
Helm: I am unclear about why I continue to watch movies with you.
Mathew: Because you couldn't get to the movie theater without me.
Helm: Ah. There it is. The crux of my dilemma.
Mathew: And mine.
Helm: So. What did you think of the film?
Mathew: More Monkey Mayhem!
Four Flaming Swords!!
Four Flaming Swords!!
Mathew: Why only four flamers if you liked it so much?
Helm: You know, the film still suffered from the same kind of logistics problems that plagued the first.
Mathew: Such as?
Helm: Such as, who explained to the monkeys about reloading ammunition? Who trained them to anticipate the kick of firearms? Who gave them a course in how to assemble weapons retrieved from long-term storage? And who gave them the kind of massive fertility drugs required to breed in such astounding numbers over such a relatively short period of time?
Mathew: Oh. That.