“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” Classic Blockbuster Filmmaking Made Contemporary

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The Planet of the Apes franchise has long been predicated on using the speculative science-fiction concept of a future world where evolved apes with intelligence either rule over or are in conflict over humans as an allegory for hot-button topics such as racial tensions, prejudice and societies’ destructive nature. In 2012 the franchise was rebooted with Rise of the Planet of the Apes, an optimistic parable about animal rights and coming-of-age. It was an origin story that chronicled the birth and early years of the genetically enhanced simian, Caesar (played by Andy Serkis via motion and voice capture) from his being raised by a kindly human scientist, to his eventual peaceful exodus for his similarly evolving brethren. Fast-forward a few decades and Caesar and his people have become an organized society under his leadership, while the human population seemingly faded from existence following the accidental spread of the very virus responsible for the ape evolution. “Ape shall not kill ape” is the primary law for this world until the apes realize that their society is not alone and that the world is a lot more complex. In Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, surprisingly opts for a more nuanced take than a simple “apes vs. human beings” binary conflict. The filmmakers make it a point to show that all factions within the realm of the picture have legitimate points and concerns but that all of that fades when they are consumed by greed and hate, feelings that all of the living are capable of succumbing to.

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