28 July 2014

Caesar Lead Salad

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The fact that any of us even exist is such a miracle that it's impossible to fully comprehend. Think of how hard it can be to find somebody to bonk off with and then remember that most of the time you really don't want it to result in the creation of a little baby brat. Think of how many people needed to meet and screw and then get pregnant at that exact time for you to be here right now. The exact combination of people doing an exact thing has been happening since the dawn of time and it's only because of all those coincidences that we're here right now. Amazing. Bearing all this in mind, you might therefore expect life to be a little less fucking shit than it actually is. As a whole, I am not a fan of people and really don't like the world that we live in. I do however love movies about the apocalypse which I genuinely do see as being a kind of wish-fulfilment thing. Usually in these movies, most of humanity has been wiped out which is fine by me because most people are knobheads anyway. Also, the survivors are now all on a comfortably even playing field- none of this ‘I'm richer than you’ or ‘your partner is uglier than mine’ bullshit. During the apocalypse, whether you're a success or a failure won't be dictated by the whimsical fucking chances that society may or may not present you with. It'll be judged on who’s got the pointiest stick and who’s willing to eat a dead person’s face. Meh... fucking fine by me.

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is set ten years after humanity has been mostly knocked out by a Simian flu. This was created in a lab during the brilliant Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes and although it makes monkeys smarter, it simply causes us to cough up blood and die. This is all summarised in the opening few minutes of the film which was like listening to somebody explain the plot of Contagion whilst occasionally throwing in the word ‘monkey’ for good measure. Speaking of which, it was also interesting to see the difference between how Americans and the British react differently to this situation. When the Americans are infected by a mutated monkey, they just puke up some heart juice and then drop dead. However when we Brits were infected in 28 Days Later, we instead just got proper pissy before legging it through the Channel Tunnel to twat some French people. Anyway, so here we have a pocket of human survivors who suddenly find themselves without electricity. We might be faced with having to live in shit before starving to death but obviously a lack of internet is the biggest tragedy. The apes on the other hand are living peacefully in the woods under the assumption that we're all dead and even if we're not then balls to us because who cares. Sadly, they're also sitting on top of some sort of power station and there's fucking nothing that will stop a human from being able to charge their iPad and update their Facebook status.

Got to love a good cup of PG Tips...
Anyway so, I'd say both the strength and weakness of this film is in how it presents both the apes and human side in a fairly even manner. On the plus, it intelligently shows that, like with a twisted old married couple, conflicts often just happen because we're all simply incapable of living together. On team human you have Jason Clarke who’s mirrored on the monkey side by Andy Serkis' Caesar, with both wanting to avoid any battles or bloodshed. Sadly however, there's also some mental monkey called Koba who fucking loves the idea of bloodshed and who is kind of mirrored by Gary Oldman who’s armed to the tits with machine guns, tanks and rocket launchers. However, even with those two kill-hungry fucknuggets, you can still understand their point of view to a degree.  Oldman has lost everything from his family to his world and so might be a bit uptight about protecting what little he now has left. Koba on the other hand was dragged up in labs in which humans tortured him so that we could advance our essential knowledge of science, medicine and which shades of make-up are the prettiest. On the downside however, having Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes presented as what is almost a double feature means that we don't get to explore either side as much as we'd perhaps like to. Jason Clarke doesn't really make that much of an impact and the woman he drags around with him could easily be replaced with a first aid kit without requiring any change to the plot at all. In fact none of the female characters do too well here as even Caesar's wife seems to be a Little Miss Mcguffin existing solely to provide him with some shit to sort out later on.

Still, who gives a fuck about all that when you're watching a film in which a pissed off monkey fires two machine guns whilst straddling a horse. It goes without saying that the effects are amazing in this movie and I think we're almost at a point now where, for all I know, even Gary Oldman might have been played by Andy Serkis. The first half of the film is all quite ‘slow burn’ and dramatic but the second is just balls-to-the-wall action. To be honest, I really don't think I could be friends with somebody who didn't like seeing monkeys shoot guns and so if that doesn't sound literally brilliant to you then what the fuck? I actually re-watched Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes the night before and thought it was interesting to see how quickly the effects have already dated. I mean, it still looks amazing for the most part but there are certain scenes in which Caesar is swinging around tree-tops in which it's clear that literally everything on screen is CG. It's sort of like watching a much hairier cut-scene from Assassins Creed, I guess. One of the great advances since then however is that now it seems we're able to film people in the motion-capture gimp-suits whilst they're actually out on location. Perhaps the apes themselves will date in time still, but for now at least it looked even more amazing- which isn't even mentioning how great the performances are.

Yes, pretty much every character who isn't Caesar is slightly neglected however that's not to say that I don't completely believe in them when they're on screen. There's an Orangutan that I loved and who I bought so completely that every time it spoke, I was shocked that it wasn't just doing the usual monkey thing of sticking a potato sack on its head and taking a shit. It also has to be true that even if everybody else is a bit ignored, that could be because Caesar is one of the most rounded characters of the last few years. We've literally seen him turn from a baby into Spartacus and then to the leader of a war that he doesn't believe in. After eight whole films, Harry Potter was still banging on about his dead bloody parents and yet in a fraction of that time, Caesar has achieved so much more and not once started milking the Orphan card. We should also remember too that as he's developed as a character, both he and the filmmakers have had to start him speaking like a human. In the previous film he screamed “No!” and with the exception of when the projector fucked up during Les Miserables, it was possibly the only time I've heard a cinema audience gasp. Some people seemed to have a little problem with the way in which the apes go from using sign language to just having full on chats but it seemed fine to me. Imagine Stevie from Malcolm in the middle and that's pretty much where they're up to so it's not like they've just woken up with the oral skills of Quentin Crisp... Obviously I don't mean that in a rude way!

So yeah I obviously loved this film because of all the above reasons from my love of chimps with guns to an unhealthy apathy towards the idea of our apocalypse. Oh, and it was a brilliantly made, action packed blockbuster that dealt with some really big ideas in some really intelligent ways. But you know... Chimps with guns!!! I possibly don't think it was better than Rise but I'll give it a second viewing before deciding for definite because it was as great as the hype suggests. I don't know what I'd do if I woke up in world run by apes but I don't think I'd be too worried about it. Jason Clarke decides to try and negotiate with our simian cousins in an attempt to make life easier for both species. I think I'd just sit around the house for a few weeks and then figure out the most pain free way to kill myself. I actually went the shop the other day and bought some paracetamol and cheese-slices and figured that a lot more of that might not be the worst way to go. Anyway yeah, so I won't ruin the end of this film except to say it reminded me a hell of a lot of Goldeneye and left the franchise in a really interesting place. I look forward to seeing what will happen in the next movie which, considering how smart and strong the monkeys are, might simply be called Nonchalance Of The Planet Of The Apes. Anyway, that's about all I've got to say for now so I guess, thanks for reading and see you next time, motherfuckers. Bye-bye!


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