Saturday, July 12, 2014

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (movie review)

I've been an avid Apes (Planet of the) since the first one, with Charlton Heston and Roddy McDowall. I've even been known to read the books.

This newest addition to the franchise is excellent in that it continues to give the apes real personalities, no less than it gives them to humans.  The camera / observer is perhaps an angel from another planet in the sense of its sympathies going both ways.

The movie might be construed as pacifist in its message, even while the inevitability of war is its subject.  Fear and jealousy drive both sides and the lesser characters, the non-heroic, are the first to succumb.  They spread the seeds of war to others, including through treachery.  An old pattern.  The analogy of the physical virus with the mental one is crystal clear.

The facial expressions of anger, giving vent to the inner demon, stir in both human and ape alike, a first symptom of the infection.  I'm thinking of Tich Nhat Hanh and his challenge to followers to foreswear anger.  One might imagine this movie on his syllabus.

The choreography and computer graphics (visual effects) are spectacular.

Flavors of 12 Monkeys, Jurassic Park, Cabin in the Woods and several others, which isn't to say anything pejorative, on the contrary.

That the movie was brave enough to use subtitles is a big point in its favor.  The movie takes itself seriously enough to make real soul searching possible.  There's not much gratuitous levity.  The situation is dire.