Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Or DOTPOTA as I like to call it. I've never watched the first one but I do know the general gist of the whole Planet of the Apes storyline. Finding it believable however is another thing but eh, movies right. If young kids can hack into the FBI servers with an IBM laptop, I can believe apes can start speaking. 

Anyway, the film takes place 10 years after the events of the first movie; ROTPOTA. Which is interestingly one of the issues I have with the film in that it takes place way too soon after ROTPOTA; where the apes gain sentience for the first time ever, for the apes to have made such a huge change in their culture/way of thinking. Some things just don't make sense to me anthropologically speaking, like the fact that for some reason, some apes and females have started wearing jewellery. Uh...why? What reason could there have been for them to start wearing jewellery? They have also started building what seem like guard outposts with fetishes/skulls hung up on pikes, which makes no sense because there doesn't seem to be anything around to threaten them which requires the use of guard outposts far from the main habitat. Also the whole issue of hanging up skulls/fetishes is to serve as warnings to other tribes/sentient beings that this is dangerous territory and not to come around. But in the film most of them hadn't seen a human for close to 10 years, they even think the humans are extinct.

But I get it, they want to parallel the apes development with human development even if there's no reason why such rapid development would have taken place within the span of 10 short years. Especially with little to no contact with the outside world. It just feels like this film rushes a lot of plot points just because. Like the fact that Caesars new son is born and then 1 day later, the little baby chimp is able to climb about by itself. Wtf? Chimps must be way different than the baby cats/dogs that I've taken care of then because there's no way they'd be able to climb around by themselves 1 day after being birthed. 

Anyway, the film depicts the first encounter between humans and apes after that 10 years where the humans need to go into the forest the apes are living for some macguffin reason and they need to negotiate with the apes. Some just want to kill all the apes; and honestly, with guns they could, while others want peace with the apes. Meanwhile, there are similar factions with the ape community; which Caesar is blind towards because he believes apes are better than humans and could never squabble among themselves like that, and eventually war breaks out when Caesar appears to die from being shot by a human gun. 

While the fight scenes are cool, they are also extremely extremely dumb. In a show of force, Caesar decides to march his army out to intimidate the humans outside their fortified city. Meanwhile, his army is...equipped with spears and horses. While the humans have machine guns and m16s. Yeah...last I recall, the native americans didn't do so well when they had to go against guns of any sort, let alone modern firepower. The humans in the POTA series must be more pacifistic than I thought because it just seems like they could have easily wiped out Caesar then. Even later on, during the war when the apes are charging the bunker, with the way they're shooting their ammo, they should have been empty 30s into the fight. And yet they have unlimited bullets and never seem to need to reload. Plus, they're charging on horses and shooting with one hand and you can visibly watch the gun jerk up and down while they're holding onto the burst fire, which means they really should have shot their own front line to death first. 

That's not even getting into the whole debate on how many apes there are. Caesar has 2 kids during the span of 10 years. Koba has none. Rocket has 1. Let's say on average they have 3 kids each for the monkeys, that's maybe at most 3000 if I'm being generous since i doubt the original research lab had more than a few hundred chimps locked up. Anymore might possibly had totally wrecked the eco system of the forest they were staying in, especially since they're meat eaters and hunt deer and the like. Yet they never strayed out of their territory so obviously they were somehow able to sustain themselves on whatever a natural forest could provide. Of those 3000, obviously not everyone is going to be able to fight so maybe 1000 females/children/elderly? So 2000? Yet, we see apes die like flies in the war and somehow their numbers seem undiminished. 

Overall, I think the film is decent and probably slightly above average. Although it probably helps that the last film I watched was Age of Extinction so perhaps subconsciously, I'm comparing it to that piece of garbage. However, it seems like the problem with the film series is that it really has a set ending in mind (hence the planet of apes moniker) and that really kills a lot of the suspense in the film because you know what's eventually going to happen. Hint, it's called PLANET OF THE APES for a reason. And it also seems like writers are trying to rush towards that ending as much as possible while forcing in plot points/contrivances into the story to help it along. The third film is probably going to star Caesar as well and be the finale to the trilogy which means that the apes will win. All within the span of one chimpanzees lifetime. That's just horribly rushed by any account. Also, the human characters are horribly worthless in this film, except for Commissioner Gordon. The main human is just a talking mouth piece with almost no real character of his own, as is his girlfriend, his son and the obligatory antagonistic human who hates apes.