Apes will take over our Planet.
It is not because humanity has been reduced to a vain race where we are concerned mostly about taking selfies and adding hashtags. It is also not because hordes of people paid a ton of money to see probably the worst movie of this year that is “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”
It is mainly because ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ is one of the finest science fiction movie ever made and the original ‘Planet of the Apes (1968)’ predicts the world domination of apes.
It tells us about a planet where Apes are the superior race and humans are mindless creatures kept as slaves in a post apocalyptic Earth.
But how did Apes take over the world ?
‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ (DTPOA) is the second movie in a series which is a reboot of a reboot. While the five original movies were made mostly in the 70s and 80s, Tim Burton tried to revive the franchise with his “Planet of the Apes (2001)” which most agreed that it is the worst movie in the series.
I have not seen the earlier movies except for the first one, probably because I was not born then or did not bother to rent movies about guys in monkey suits pretending to be apes. However, I did watch the 2001 edition and it was so flawed with various cringe-worthy moments that I hated myself after that.
It did little to address how the apes managed to take over the humans, except how super intelligent apes from a spaceship escaped and dominated the world.
This is where the second reboot comes into play.
The Second Reboot
Starring James Franco, a scientist obsessed with creating a cure for Alzheimer’s for his ailing father, ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ made a lot more sense.
If you have not seen this movie already, here’s a quick synopsis.
Franco works for a biotech corporation involved in creating drugs for the cure of Alzheimer’s. However, the only cure seems to be lying in viral-based ALZ-112 which they are testing on chimpanzees.
Unknowingly, the drug actually worked very well on the chimps, increasing their cognitive abilities to the level of humans. One chimp specially named ‘Caesar’ ends up in Franco’s home and with his love and encouragement, rises to human level of intelligence and starts questioning his very existence in a bout of quarter life crisis.
The bad news is however, that ALZ-112 although temporarily improves the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, it is actually fatal for humans. While Caesar, a victim of circumstances, is put into an animal shelter with extremely cruel handlers, he escapes from the facility, grabs more of the virus which made him smart and releases it on the other apes, making them smart overnight.
With the rest of the apes and more from the San Francisco zoo, Caesar escapes and basically leads an exodus to Muir Woods, a patch of forest North of the city.
Meanwhile, the virus in this age of globalisation keeps spreading around the world till only a minority of population, who are immune to it, survive. The bad news is that the number of people who are immune to this virus are 1 in every 500.
So where does DTPOA step in?
DTPOA sits comfortably in the story line between the rise of Ape intelligence and the part where Apes have taken over completely.
DTPOA shows a tiny human population in San Fran barely surviving and rapidly running out of resources. To survive they need access to a dam for electricity, which sits in ape territory. However, from past experience there is enormous amount of distrust between both parties and it is a powder keg waiting to explode.
So what makes DTPOA so awesome ?
#1 The extremely likable character of Caesar
You can’t help but to like him. Caesar is a great and wise character. He has seen the good side of human beings unlike any other apes who follow him. He knows that any conflict with humans can affect his family comprising of his two sons and wife. He is like the wise grandfather who intervenes to stop squabbling amongst the youngsters.
He tries his best to prevent the war between the human survivors and the apes, knowing that both sides will suffer massive losses if a conflict starts. He is also sympathetic to the human cause and gives them access to the dam as long as they comply with certain rules.
Caesar’s character was brought to life by Andy Serkis and his performance was so amazing and intriguing, you’d forget that it’s actually a human being acting and not an actual ape.
#2 The suspense and tension-filled plot
The tension and drama in this movie is as intense as the Game of Thrones. Here are the two sides:
Malcolm: Leader of a small group of humans in charge of finding a way to the dam. Unlike others, he believes that humans can reason with the apes and there is no need to mount an armed assault on them.
Translation: Post apocalyptic version of a vegan hipster from San Francisco who probably liked slow drip gourmet coffee, I guess.
Dreyfus: Leader of the remaining humans in the city. He is aware of the limited resources in the city and is ready to launch an armed assault on the apes to gain access to the dam.
Translation: Typical pragmatic leader who is ready to do the things necessary to ensure the survival of the human race.
Caesar: Wise leader of the apes who believes in human kindness.
Translation: O’ Wise One, we will follow you till the ends of the Earth.
Koba: A scarred chimpanzee who has been mercilessly experimented by humans. He believes that humans are never up to good and distrusts them.
Translation: Crazy and yet misunderstood bad guy who fights so hard and yet somehow never ends up on the winning end.
#3 Apes on horses dual wielding machine guns in their hands
Yeap, enough said.
DTPOA actually proves that summer blockbusters don’t need to be illogical and filled with senseless explosions after explosions, and audiences will still love it; unlike the garbage called ‘Transformers’ released a few weeks earlier. Overall, it is a well crafted science fiction movie which will make you leave the theatre pining for the next part.