So, Prometheus…

 

It’s kind of weird being a fan of the Alien franchise because while even though it’s not exactly obscure, and even though it is a well-known and notable series of films, it’s not exactly as popular as other science fiction franchises such as Star Wars or Star Trek. And even taking into consideration the expanded universe of the Predator films it’s not exactly prolific. And if you want to get really technical and down to the nitty gritty the series only really has two good entries. Alien and Aliens are perfect films in my opinion.

If you want to compare it to something like Star Wars it would be fair to compare the first two to the original trilogy and the other two, Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection, to the prequels. They are flawed but there are those who can find the good in them. Alien 3 is widely considered a “flawed masterpeice,” whatever that means, and while Alien Resurrection is silly as fuck I do have an affection for it.

You can compare the AVP movies to the Holiday Special. They are embarassing.

So especially in the last, um, you know, 2 decades or so, it has kind of sucked to consider yourself a hardcore fan of all things Alien. I went to see both AVPs in theatres, all the while my internal monologue was chanting “please don’t suck, please don’t suck” but all in vein because I guess sometimes that’s just asking too much. But Prometheus is forthcoming and I am beyond excited, and grateful.

I think one of the main problems of the series is that instead of moving forward towards fresh, exciting new ideas it just constantly kept on building on one old idea. Like with any sequel it’s always a matter of trying to figure out how to get the main character(s) back and creating a whole new situation and making it a bigger better experience, which Aliens did brilliantly, but by the third it was clear they were running low on ideas with bringing back the alien yet again, by the time Resurrection came along and there was all that cloning nonsense it was just a fucking joke. The franchise slowly deteriorated, each film became less and less interesting until finally it became the silly monster movie something like the original 1979 rose above being.

Prometheus will be entering a territory that many Alien fans have only dreamed and speculated of, finally going back to see what all this Space Jockey business is about. This is something we want to know. And fucking Ridley Scott is fucking directing it for fuck’s sake. This is like some movie genie granted our wishes or something. Are we going to see the classic-looking alien creatures that we are used to? Maybe, maybe not, but I feel like that’s not important. What’s important is that this is a science fiction movie that clearly, based on all interviews I’ve seen/read, has an interest in the questions it is raising. It has respectable talent involved. It’s going to attempt to be a higher form of art in a genre that rarely strives for brilliance.

I don’t want to set my standards and expectations too high but it could be the franchise’s redemption.

 

Best Albums of 2011

Maybe jumping the gun a little early here but even with one month left in the year I feel like I’m fairly happy with my choices. Again, please note I am no music expert and I just like what I like, so please enjoy.

1. COLLAPSE INTO NOW- R.E.M.

I have to admit my bias here, not only is R.E.M. my favourite band of all-time but this is their final album, as they broke up only a few months after its release. It’s a special record to me for sure, but before you start rolling your eyes, just keep in mind this isn’t Rolling Stone magazine or anything you’re reading here, I’m not trying to force any politics upon the three people who may be reading this. It’s my honest preference and a personal one. Every single track is an absolute winner, these are songs that have become a part of my life, this is a legendary band at the top of their form closing the curtains in triumph. History will prove this to be among R.E.M.’s best work.

2. STRANGE MERCY- St. Vincent

I would hardly make a habit of using the description “achingly beautiful,” but St. Vincent’s Annie Clark is worthy of such a phrase and has the voice to match. I think her ultimate appeal lies within the fact that she could have probably made a nice little career as an indie songbird, playing acoustic melodies that play in coffee bars, but she strives for something deeper and more expirimental, which makes her all the more admirable as an artist. With “Strange Mercy” Clarks tunes are as unique as ever. Her lyrics are cryptic but feel genuine. “Cruel” borders on something that’s as close as she’s probably get to a catchy hit song, “Surgeon” takes a fascination from a line Marilyn Monroe’s diary turning it into a track as only she could do, “Year of the Tiger” journeys into a year of depression for the singer, the album is a work of art and her best to date. I want to make sweet passionate love to it.

3. NINE TYPES OF LIGHT- TV on the Radio

It’s almost impossible to slap a genre on TV on the Radio. “Nine Types of Light” explores some heavy themes, so much so that it reaches an almost profound existensialism. But at the same time it just sounds so damn funky and awesome. It may not be as cool as “Return to Cookie Mountain” or even “Dear Science,” I suppose it all depends on your own preferences and moods, really, but this is yet another amazing release from an amazing group and undoubtedly one of 2011′s highlights. Below you’ll find every single song from the album accompanied by music video shorts. One Youtube commenter notes, “this should be a bigger deal.”

4. LET ENGLAND SHAKE- PJ Harvey

Call it a labour of love, call it a grand expirement, call it the epic it deserves to be classified as. I’ll have to be as blunt as possible here in saying that any list of ‘best of 2011′ albums that does not include PJ Harvey’s “Let England Shake” is in some serious need of reevaluation. If we can classify music as modern poetry, if we can have faith in the fact that music can actually mean something, more than just catchy little tunes, more than just 2-3 minute distractions from our daily lives, then “Let England Shake” herlads something special. This is a project to go down as legend, to be studied and analyzed, and be seen as important. Bravo, PJ.

5. SCREWS GET LOOSE- Those Darlin’s

I can’t say I’m a big country music fan, I really, really can’t. But this album feels like it was made by artists who don’t necessarily care too much for country but have an affection for it and the stories that it can tell, so hopefully we’re on the same page. The songs are simple but immensely enjoyable, it’s not as heavy as some of the other works listed here but it conveys its themes and emotions in a way that works fantastically. There are songs of the opposite side of unrequited love, about alcholism, bing-eating, spousal abuse and depression. It’s not to say this record is a downer, though. Let’s put it this way: it’s like the seen-it-all boozer at the end of the bar who will share a story with you for another beer and maybe a burger. I feel like I’m knocking the album but it’s the best way I can describe it.

6. HISINGEN BLUES- Graveyard 

They’ve been touted as the next-coming of Led Zepellin, which in a way is fair because the sound is definitely similar, but I never really got the point in saying one artist is the next this or that, so if you can just take “Hisingen Blues” for what it is you can appreciate its excellence. It rocks, the tunes are A+, and you get the sense that these guys are the real deal.

7. ROLLING BLACKOUTS- The Go! Team

“Rolling Blackouts” is just an explosion of exciting and bob-your-head-confusedly music. It’s not too much of a departure from The Go! Team’s other works, but it’s a solid reminder of what makes them so great and why what they do stands out. For example, a track such as “Ready To Go Steady” can be seen as a twist or tribute or even parody of one of those cheesy 50′s dinner love songs, and it is, but it works. It more than works. There is never a lull in “Rolling Blackouts” and it’s worthy of multiple plays. A delight on every level.

8. BORN THIS WAY- Lady Gaga

Pop is so fucking horrible, now more than ever, so it would seem like Lady Gaga being branded as the Queen of Pop would not be much more prestigeous than being crowned the King of Idiots. But you know what? This is a great album. Deal with it. It’s like pop culture vomit spewing out of the speakers and not in a bad way. It’s like rainbow coloured vomit that you could probably fuel your car with. You can criticize Lady Gaga all you want, hey, you can love her, hate her, feel like she’s some attention-starved whore who should stop dressing up in ridiculous outfits but either way she must be doing something right. This one of the year’s best albums and, again, please deal with it.

9. WOUNDED RHYMES- Lykke Li

Speaking of pop, “Wounded Rhymes” is like pop music that’s been dragged through the dirt a little bit. Lykke Li is an incredible artist and it’s entirely possible that this is going to be one of those albums you look back on when she’s super famous and say “nothing’s going to top her first album.”  Her musical journey through “Wounded Rhymes” is engrossing and she has a voice that breaks your heart.

10. THANK YOU, HAPPY BIRTHDAY- Cage The Elephant

Cage The Elephant doesn’t take themselves too seriously yet takes themselves seriously just enough that it works to their advantage. This is a fun album. It’s something you could play at a party and everyone would enjoy. It rocks hard just enough, but it has a sensitive side to it, but not so much that’s it’s lame wussy crap that bums everyone out. There’s just something about a track like “Around My Head” with vocals mimmicking a revving engine that I just find irresistable. This is their second album and these guys aren’t going anywhere.

 

Honorable mentions, listed alphabetically by album title:

 

21- Adele
FATHER, SON, HOLY GHOST- Girls
HELPLESSNESS BLUES- Fleet Foxes
HOT SAUCE COMMITTEE PART TWO- Beastie Boys
SHARE THE JOY- Vivian Girls
SOMETHING TO DIE FOR- The Sounds
WASTING LIGHT- The Foo Fighters

Batman: Year One Review

 

Some time around last winter I made a little vow to myself not to watch anything Batman-related, with the intent of saving all my Batman movies and cartoons for about a month before The Dark Knight Rises’ release to best psych myself up for what is sure to be an unforgettable motion picture event. This of course excluded comic books and video games. Living a life without having played Batman: Arkham Asylum is not something I want to fathom. I broke my little vow by watching Batman: Year One earlier this week.

 

 

It’s a decent animated film. It alternates between focusing on Batman/Bruce Wayne and Lt. James Gordon, it establishes the characters, their personalities, their morals, and the events that lead up to affirming the relationship between the two that we all know and love. There’s a little Catwoman thrown in, too.

 

 

It’s a fair enough adaptation of Frank Miller’s story, an artist to whom many Bat-fans feel indebted, though maybe it doesn’t translate quite perfectly. The foundation of the story is all there, we have the characters we know, we have the elements of corruption in Gotham City and the never-ending battle for justice, but I don’t know, I can’t quite put my finger on it, it just doesn’t flow as naturally and as satisfyingly as it should. Everything here feels included by obligation and not structure. Maybe it just doesn’t translate that well. Nolan’s films took but only hints from Miller’s stories and the end result is infinitely more memorable. Well, duh.

 

But it’s not as if the movie has the mega-budget of a Nolan film, so we have to give it credit in that department. The animation is pretty good. Good, not great. I mean, there’s nothing really wrong with it. But it’s not like “this is the beginning and end of all Batman animation” kind of amazing or anything. The action scenes are pretty cool at least. Hello shaky cam.

 

 

Before watching it I had heard the voice acting wasn’t great. This is a criticism I have to agree with. It’s not that compelling, is it? I have no idea who this Ben McKenzie dude is but his Batman sucks. Really. Deal with it. So much for being constructive.

 

 

With these DC movies I think all you can do is hope for the best, hope for something grand, and at least be willing to compromise when it doesn’t exactly deliver on everything you wanted. There’s nothing at all wrong with Batman: Year One, it indeed gets the job done but running at barely an hour in length it’s not is if there’s all too much detail so you can’t really expect a magnum opus. Keep in mind that cartoons like this have to appeal to kids, too. Though I wonder what kind of kid may love this movie, cheering on Gordon as he deals with domestic issues. Whatever the case that’s probably a pretty awesome kid.

Batman: Arkham City Review

 
I just finished playing this game and I wanted to give some impressions. Well, first and foremost, it is fucking incredibly epically amazing and I love the shit out of it. Okay, we have that out of the way.

The hype was definitely huge for this game, especially after following the excellent Batman: Arkham Asylum, which quickly became the definitive Batman game and gave us an experience in gameplay as the universally popular hero that has gone unmatched and thoroughly topped any and all Batman video games that preceded it. Arkham City manages to top it. I can’t express my joy for that.

As with most successful sequels, it brings us elements that we already loved from the original, improves upon what needed improvement, kept what worked just fine, and added on more in terms of story and characters. Arkham City is much more gigantic in its scale: the story, the environments, the gadgets, the fighting moves, the villains, the overall experience is all bigger and better. I have completed the story mode and I’m only at 38% completion. I’ve barely scratched the surface with the side missions, I haven’t touched a single bonus challenge, and I have yet to play as Catwoman. There’s still shitloads more to explore. I have a feeling I will lose plenty more hours than I already have to this game. It’s so detailed in all respects, something as minute as listening in on small-talk between the thugs has great value to it. They complain about their bosses, about the weather, share stories, I recall one goon going off on a story about how his mother murdered her entire graduating class on prom night. I mean, wow.

The story to Batman: Arkham Asylum, though exciting, was fairly straight forward: The Joker has taken over the asylum and it’s up to Batman to stop him. Arkham City has much more villainy to encounter and an evil plot that is infinitely more threatening and goes deeper than you could possibly imagine. The way it weaves its epic plot together involving villains such as The Joker, Hugo Strange, Rhas Al Guhl, Two-Face, Mr. Freeze, The Penguin, and (believe me) tons more is nothing short of masterful. It’s not just great fan service to match up against your favourite villains, it is truly put together in such a way that feels completely justified for the story, full of twists and turns and surprises along the way. Any future Batman-screenwriters should take note. This is how it’s fucking done.

Batman: Arkham City isn’t just an amazing and exciting gaming experience, but it is a uniquely great Batman adventure period. I think in the last 10 years or so video games have gotten so good that they can be respected on the same levels as other media such as comic books, novels, books, television, and movies. With that in mind I think Batman: Arkham City is a classic Batman Story. Bravo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

 

It’s hard to review Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 without getting a little nostalgic. How can you reflect on the ten years we’ve spent with the character without feeling just a little sentimental? When we first met Harry, Ron, and Hermoine, they were just little kids entering a world of magic and adventure with wide eyes full of wonderment. There were always dangerous situations from time to time but for the most part it was still all good fun and appropriate for the whole family. As the movies went on the dangers heightened and the movies became more serious and mature. We watched the trio grow from kids, to sexually frusterated teenagers, to adults with something to prove. We watched Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson evolve from very talented child actors into iconic figures that are sure to end up being just as respected and well-known as their elder co-stars. Radcliffe, whether he knew it or not at the time, had an extremely heavy burden playing one of the most popular fictional characters of all time and he grew into the role amazingly well. He comes full circle in this final instalment, as does the character, and he gives it his all. There are emotions and fears in Deathly Hallows Part 2 Radcliffe conveys that we’ve never seen before. He sends off this character with his wand full blast.

And the supporting cast, my God, how wonderful they are. In both the young talent and the acting legends. This film and the series as a whole plays out as a veritable “who’s who” of accomplished English actors, including but not limited to Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Brenden Gleeson, Jim Broadbent, John Hurt, Emma Thompson, Imelda Staunton, and a noseless Ralph Fiennes. Over these movies we’ve met some great characters that all add to the overall charm of what makes this series so fantastic and what will keep audiences coming back to it for years to come. Some of these characters are kindhearted and good, some are just pure evil, and there is a large amount finding themselves somewhere in-between.

I think my favourite supporting character would have to be Dumbledore. An interesting, flawed, wise, brave, tragic character. Maybe the biggest tragedy of Dumbledore is that we had to mourn his death twice: in the story of the novel and film and in real life as well, as Richard Harris unfortunately passed away after making Chamber of Secrets. Michael Gambon took over and was a fine replacement but I would say I sort of prefer Harris’ portrayal just a little better. His Dumbledore came off as a more wise and tender elder figure and his contribution to the first two films was essential in introducing the character. But as the story progressed the danger became more crucial and Dumbledore needed to have a little more edge and determination and Gambon brought all that into effect wonderfully and to be honest I don’t know if Harris could have pulled it off quite as well. It’s like the actors were two sides to a coin playing him. I’m sure Dumbledore’s death made a lot of fans sad but maybe not moreso than J.K. Rowling herself, who apparently was in tears when the time came to write his murder scene. I suspect no one could feel closer to that character than the writer herself, she had details worked out about him that even the biggest fan couldn’t conclude after studying every last sentence. I wonder what it must be like to have all these fully realized characters living inside your head, like parts of your soul scattered about in Horcroxes hidden in secret rooms.

Dumbledore makes one final appearence in Deathly Hallows Part 2 near the end when Harry is killed and awakens inside a sort of purgatory. It’s strange and hard to describe but I felt like in that last scene we had the Harris version of Dumbledore back. I felt the wisdom and tendernous I admired so much alive again, as if Gambon was channeling the incarnation we met all those 10 years ago. It was an oddly transcendent scene, and I suppose for more reasons than one.

I saw the movie in IMAX 3D. I usually go out of my way to see the 2D version of any movie, but for this case my decision was based purely on time convenience. The 3D screening was at 6:45 and the 2D was at 8:00. I wanted to be home by a sensible time, so 3D won. And I figured why not? I can buy the movie when it comes to video and watch it in 2D as often as I like but there will be only one shot to see it in IMAX and in 3D. I have to say, the 3D was pretty damn good. It didn’t knock me out of my seat completely but when it really worked, it really worked. This is of course the only entry in the saga to have a 3D release and naturally it felt like the most suited for it. There are plenty of intense battle scenes that go on for practically the last half of the movie, which, if we’re going to get technical, would actually be the last quarter. That is a fair amount. There’s ghastly creatures attacking, there’s characters having their stand-out moments of glory, and there’s characters meeting their deaths in battle. It’s as good as this stuff gets.

By the time it’s all over it’s almost exhausting. And when Voldemort is finally defeated by Harry it’s almost like a relief and a necessity to the story. It’s not entirely satisfying. But then again neither was seeing the Eye of Sauran crumble to pieces or Darth Vader sans mask take his final breaths. When these characters die it hits you that the story is over and with all that build up with movies like these I don’t think there’s anything that could be done that would be completely 100% satisfying. It’s like the journey is more important than the destination. By that same merit, our heroes can have the happiest of endings, the sweetest of bookends, absolutely every loose end could be tied up, but the fact that it’s all over is kind of…disagreeable.

Having said all that they did a great job with this final instalment. And as a whole, this is a classic series for the ages. I would give Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 a 10/10, not that ratings really mean all that much in the long run. Hell, I would give every single Harry Potter movie a 10/10 rating. They all have some flaws and some I found more interesting than others but they’re all stitchings in a rich tapestry of an incredible movie series that has brought us many years of excitment and magic, so why shouldn’t I? Who am I trying to impress?

 

 

Thoughts on the “Final Destination” movies

 

The Final Destination movies are fucking terrible. I just thought you all should know that. But just because they’re bad doesn’t mean they aren’t enjoyable. If you view death as entertainment-and if you’re a horror fan, I’m sure you do-then these are entertaining flicks. But hardly horror classics. Basically what we have in this series is the statement that we all want to see stupid kids die and we don’t really care how.

They’re just like any other slasher series except that they cut out the middle man. I guess creating some memorable horror icon is too hard these days. So let’s just blame it on Death itself. OoooOoOoOoOoOoh!

So you have the cool deaths and that’s about it. And that’s at least effective. The group of movies as a whole plays into our fears of absolute worst case scenarios: What if the plane crashes? What if you get trapped in a tanning bed? What if one of those suction things at the bottom of the pool sucks your intestines out through your butthole? Etc. etc. The 5th movie is out and the possibilities for the series are endless, especially without having that pesky killer character to work around.

The movies only exist for the deaths and between them you have to suffer mind-numbing stupidity, but of course you could argue the same for any Friday The 13th or Halloween flick, though at least those movies had an interesting killer. And an interesting story, for that matter. With each movie they added to the mythology which was interesting and warranted more movies. It was part of their charm and part of their ultimate undoing as well. They kept adding to the story until they imploded into themselves. Freddy Krueger turns out to have a long lost daughter and he got his power from dream demons. The drive behind Michael Myers’ evil is the Thorn cult. Jason Voorhees is some super ultimate demon that can posess people. I haven’t seen all the Saw movies but I’m sure there’s some stupid explanation behind all things Jigsaw.

The problem with the Final Destinations is that it is the same bullshit over and over and over.

1. Main character has a premonition of a terrible accident then saves a small group of people.

2. They find out that they messed with Death’s grand plan and death will be coming back for them one by one.

3. They try to find a way to escape the plan.

4. They think they have avoided death by the end.

5. They all die anyway.

6. *spoilers*

And that is every single fucking Final Destination movie.

My question is, why does the main character have a premonition anyway? What’s the deal there? It is never explained. Could it be that Death feels it’s out of practice and is just fucking with them, giving a select few a shot a life by letting them in on the initial plan, just to kill them in over-elaborate ways later? Death is just a dark shadow in these movies, I don’t know if it has a personality. Maybe if we had a Grim Reaper-looking villain off in the background cracking his knuckles and spouting off some one-liners the movies would have more of a distinct personality. EG, Final Destination 2: “SEE YA LADDER!”

And the motherfucking coroner. Talk about some fucking lazy writing. What is up with that guy? I love Tony Todd as much as the next guy but his presence is ridiculous. Some people have theorized that the coroner is actually death Himself and if you want to buy into that I guess that’s fine, but let’s face it, his real purpose is pure exposition. If it weren’t for his character in the first film no one would be there to explain Death’s grand scheme, laugh creepily, and leave the doomed kids to their business.

The sad thing is that the first Final Destination could have been a very good movie. There’s something interesting and insightful to be found in a movie like this where youth is tragically cut short, and death is unavoidable and unfair. Sure, they touch upon it a little bit here and there in the movies. For example in part 3 one kid causes a scene at a funeral, questioning why the hell someone like Osama Bin Laden could still be alive yet two innocent girls not even of 18 had to die. Okay, it’s a little dated but you get the sentiment. I’m not saying the movies need to be super deep or anything but they’re all just content with the concept and formula that they’ve set up with part one and do it over and over. The only thing that changes are the victims and the cool deaths.

Part 2 is probably the worst one. I know I complained how they don’t attempt to add to the story, but this one actually tried to connect the stories, and did so in a pathetically bad way. They bring a character back and it’s all pointless. Whoopty fucking doo.

By the time they hit the third movie it’s almost like they stopped giving a shit, which, as the series has established itself, is a good thing. The cheesier and stupider the better. The faster they rush through the exposition and get to the kills, the better. And hey, Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Reow.

The fourth one, titled Final Destination 4 (oops I mean THE Final Destination) is the cheesiest, which is why I kind of like it the best. It has a lot more humour, it’s light on the exposition, and the group of survivors pretty much treat looming death as a minor inconvenience. It’s so stupid and dumbed down that it ultimately works to its advantage. For example, you know that racist guy? Check the credits. He’s listed as “Racist guy.” Not even kidding. That just shows how much they don’t care, they can’t even give the characters names. There are also standout performances by brunette girl, douchey guy, and everyone’s favourite, black dude.

The Final Destination movies are stupid, but have some good deaths and are fun. At one point long ago, it could have had potential to be something more. But they made their decisions with how to take the concept and it is what it is. Cheap, dead teenager entertainment. Not particularly a bad thing but when it comes to the genre it is the bottom of the barrel. Either way you bet your ass I’ll be in line to see part 5.

Movie Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

 

The makeup effects in the original PLANET OF THE APES film were revolutionary in 1968. The Tim Burton-helmed remake, now a decade old, pushed the art as far as it could go under the masterful control of Rick Baker. Now the newest “Apes” movie, RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES has taken things a step further with visual effects from WETA. The apes look just like apes, act just like apes, but are digital creations that can do things that you probably couldn’t train an ape to do on film in a million years. Besides, training apes seems kind of cruel.

The appeal of these makeup effects in the original as well as the sequels is that the performances of great actors could burst through those ape faces. Many people would associate PLANET OF THE APES immediately with Charlton Heston, but those who have affection for sequels such as “ESCAPE,” “CONQUEST,” and “BATTLE” would unflinchingly tell you the franchise truly belongs to Roddy McDowell, who played Cornelius and Ceaser to great effect. The guy was a fantastic and skilled actor but he could also really ape it up. It was a winning combination and it made the series stand out. But the days of makeup and McDowell are over, and now for the most recent “Apes” film we have CGI and Andy Serkis (no stranger to playing simians), which isn’t a bad trade-off at all.

 

 

It’s sort of a prequel to the 1968 film. But the timeline became so messed up and so full of paradoxes that this could precede that film, it could stand on its own as a complete fresh start, or, Hell, you could probably place it somewhere in-between in an alternate universe. With all the time-and-space-bending presented you could probably even fit in Burton’s film into the continuity somehow. But if you want to say, “hey, this is what happens that led to what we see in the first movie,” then that’s agreeable, and there are some hints scattered about that would fit that frame of mind in place.

The movie begins innocently enough, with scientists experimenting on animals to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease but things don’t go exactly as planned (which is exactly the same plot of DEEP BLUE SEA by the way). The formula doesn’t work too ideally on humans but it takes to apes very nicely, causing advanced intelligence. Enter Caesar.

We have James Franco in the movie, we have Frieda Pinto, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Draco Malfoy, but make no mistake: Andy Serkis is the star. Caesar is the main character, the story is about his struggle, and it is a deeply facsinating study of a primate endowed with extraordiary intelligence; who is blessed and cursed with cognition and self-examination of a man, wondering how and why he is, recogonizing he’s an anomoly, and feeling some entitlement to be a little higher on the food chain.

 

 

It’s not as sci-fi heavy as some of the other movies in this series but it gets the drama right and treats the material seriously and cautiously, avoiding anything too silly. I wouldn’t say there’s much racial or social allegory going on here but it tells the story of the ape uprising very well. You could argue that maybe the intentions of the little revolution shown here aren’t incredibly justified, like, why would the apes turn and mistrust all of mankind just because a few assholes at an animal shelter gave them a hard time? Well, I don’t think that’s entirely the point. Sometimes movies like this just consider what it would be like if our time staying as the most dominant beings on the planet were through. Could be aliens, could be apes. But it’s fascinating since apes are so similar to us, seeming just a little removed from the evolutionary line, so why couldn’t there be an alternate universe where they were in charge and we were the ones in cages? If apes are as similar to us as we think they are then we’d know they wouldn’t want to share the rule of the world.

 

 

A good story was told with modern effects that were very convincing and the drama was very well played out. Andy Serkis was incredible and pulls off a wonderful performance as Ceaser. The references to the original films are fun and not too overbearing, and it pays a much better service to the franchise’s fans than the remake did. It has the same kind of spirit as those movies but it is a fresh take on the general story so whether you’ve seen every single one and know the overall plot detail by detail or whether this is your first venture into the series it successfully satisifies in just about every area. It wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t the best one, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and I’d love to see more.

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