Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
What if an alien in the future stumbled upon Matt Reeves’ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes? Welcome to Earthling Cinema, where we examine the last remaining artifacts of a once-proud culture and try to understand what human lives were like before their planet was destroyed. I’m your host, Garyx Wormuloid.
This week’s film:
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)
Stars: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell
Director: Matt Reeves
Production Co: Chernin Entertainment, TSG Entertainment
Written by: Ben Steiner
Directed by: Jared Bauer
Analysis by: Kevin Winzer and Jared Bauer
Starring: Mark Schroeder (https://twitter.com/mark_schroeder)
Edited by: Ryan Hailey (http://www.ryanhaileydotcom.com)
Original Music by: David Krystal (http://www.davidkrystalmusic.com)
Opening Animation by: Danny Rapaport
Produced by: Jacob S. Salamon
Dawn of the Planet of the Ape’s Hidden Meaning – Earthling Cinema
Greetings, and welcome to Earthling Cinema. I am your host, Garyx Wormuloid. This week’s artifact is Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the sequel to the prequel reboot of the remake of a franchise based on a book by a French secret agent. This one’s for you, Pierre.Our story takes place on a more palatable, human-free version of Earth. Now the planet is run by super-smart apes, and the smartest ape of them all just happens to be the one from the last movie, Caesar. But surprise! There actually are some humans left, hiding in the last place you’d ever look: right next door. The humans do what humans do best, stand their ground, and Caesar is not a big fan of the second amendment.
But the humans are desperate to go back to Apeland so they can get power from the dam — or darn if you don’t like swearing. You fucking saint, you. The resident age-appropriate white male, Malcolm, strikes up a deal with Caesar. Caesar will allow Malcolm and his crew to work there as long as they hand over their guns and don’t try to unionize.Working together, the humans and apes fix the darn, allowing the humans to finally charge their Kindle Fires. But an ape lieutenant named Koba hates when storylines progress harmoniously without obstacle, so he shoots Caesar and blames it on the humans. He leads all the apes to that weird tower the humans live in for some reason, and before you know it, they’re waged in all-out war horse.
Malcolm’s wife Felicity finds Caesar alive and they take him to a charming fixer-upper in a hip neighborhood. Caesar is worried it’s out of his price range, so they decide to show him some apartments in the human tower instead.Unfortunately, Commissioner Gordon sets off a big bomb to try to blow up the tower. But the bombs don’t really do much, other than make everything shake a little. Caesar and Koba have a fight over whose name should be on the lease, and Caesar lets Koba die because, come on dude, all of this would have been fine if you had just cooled your jets. Malcolm warns Caesar that the military is on its way. They become best friends for five seconds, then Malcolm runs away like a little scaredy-catherine. And wouldn’t you know it, here comes a beautiful sunrise. Dawn! Just like the title of the movie! Oh baby, the twists just keep on coming.
One of the central tenets of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is that its characters have names. And one of those names is Caesar. This is a clever nod to the fact that Caesar is the protagonist of the film, much like the manufacturer of quality Caesar dressing, Paul Newman, often played protagonists in his films. If you really wanted to reach, you might also say the name is a reference to William Shakeweight’s Julius Caesar, another character who is metaphorically stabbed in the back and literally falls out of a tree.The film also explores more nuanced issues, namely technology’s destructive effect on humanity, so get off your computer and go play outside for Peter’s sake!
Or not, who cares. The first act of “Dawn of” is characterized by an irony: The audience recognizes more humanity in the apes than they do in the humans. For the first several minutes of the film, we see no people – only apes, who live in e-harmony with each other and their natural surroundings, kumbayam’lord. They display idealistic qualities traditionally associated with humanity, such as love and compassion and full frontal nudity, causing the audience to become emotionally invested in them.
When the humans, with their machines and restrictive clothing, encounter the apes for the first time, the perverted nature of modern man is shown in stork contrast. The humans have become so dependent on technology that their very humanity will disintegrate if they can’t turn on their precious nightlights. The advancements that were supposed to improve the human way of life have left it weak and vulnerable to the monsters under the bed.Moreover, it was mankind’s obsession with scientific progress that led to the creation of the simian flu in the first place, and knowing humans, they’ll be the first to take credit. The film suggests that even the purest society can be corrupted by the power and convenience afforded by sweet tech.
The apes begin the film as model citizens, but quickly abandon the qualities that made their community stable as soon as they gain access to advanced weaponry. It’s just like my children as soon as they gain access to space sugar. Can’t be trusted with guns. A wide shot of the ape colony reveals the message written on a wall: “Ape not kill ape. Apes together strong. Knowledge is….” And the final word is obscured by two apes lumbering around in the foreground like idiots. Knowledge is power? Knowledge is college? Knowledge is boring and only for nerds? Maybe the film is suggesting that knowledge can corrupt just as easily as it can enlighten. And that the apes are headed down the same road already paved by humans. After all, roads are a two way street.
For Earthling Cinema, I’m Garyx Wormuloid. Goodbye.