Why would you ever trust a human? Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

It seems ironic that I saw the new Planet of the Apes movie in the week that the news has been dominated by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the shooting down of a civilian airliner over the Ukraine. An no I’m not comparing any side in this conflict to apes. What I am comparing is conflict to conflict, mistrust to mistrust, and the sad tendencies of groups to fall into factionalism, and coups.

In a post-epidemic world, humans try to reopen an electricity plant, which happens to be located in a territory controlled by apes. Leaders on both sides, the humans and the apes in this film, have underlings who conspire to overthrow them and wreck any chances of peace between the two ‘tribes.’ Each side has characters that have lost family. Caesar, the leader of the apes, wants to avoid war. Koba, his second-in-charge, betrays him and accuses him
of loving humans more than his own kind. Does any of that sound familiar? Americans who are old enough to remember the civil rights era might recall an insult flung by whites at whites who supported the black struggle for equality.

The film makes us primarily see the conflict through the eyes of the apes. After all, why should apes trust humans who kept them in cages and experimented on them? And how should apes respond when a group that has oppressed them in the past wants to restart the generation of electricity – a thing that gave humans so much power in the past?

As a film, the ‘motion capture’ technology that takes the movement of humans and translates it into animated apes is clever.  I generally dislike films that rely too much on special effects to compensate for not having a decent script. This film doesn’t have that problem, although there are more ‘action’ scenes – smash, bash, crash, boom – than I usually like in a movie.  Unfortunately, the females get relegated to the roles of grieving parents and caregivers. No female character makes a decisive change to the direction of the plot. All the ‘serious’ roles go to men, far more than in the average Hollywood movie. All that being said it’s a good movie, perhaps very good, but not brilliant.

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Jersey Boys: Okay for the music, but not a strong plot.

Jersey BoysJersey Boys will appeal to those who have a fondness for the music of the late 50s and early 60s, but if you’re looking for a story with a strong conflict  and character development, this isn’t your film. A lot of the plot is a device to let the singers do a song, but – hey- aren’t all musicals? The plot is mostly a mish-mash of personal conflicts and squabbles between the band members over who gets credit for what, and over the financial troubles that Tommy DeVito caused for the group.  The film covers the group from the late fifties to around 1970, with no attempt to ‘age’ the actors’ physical appearance during that era. The passing years are suggested by changes to clothing styles and haircuts. The acting is competent, but the director uses four characters all speaking directly to the camera at different times during the film. This is a hard technique to pull off in a film even for one character, and I found it constantly took me out of being absorbed in the story. In my view, the use of four characters speaking straight to the audience is one of the film’s biggest weaknesses. Personally, I don’t like the falsetto voice registry that almost all Frankie Valli’s songs were done in, but that’s just me. If you’re after a light-hearted bit of musical entrainment to kill a couple of hours, this might be a reasonable choice. I’d give it 3 out of 5.

Note: this is my blog site. For my site about thesis editing services, go to the  RichardSnowEditing site.