So, this absurdly fit, young guy was chatting me up in a public men’s room last week, and boy was he excited. It was a little awkward, but I was interested…
He was talking about Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which opened this weekend. He wasn’t sure if that was all really amazing make-up or CGI, but the apes looked incredible, and the story was fantastic. He’s sure they have to do a sequel. Well, if this one makes money, but he thinks it will. He’s not alone, many peope clapped at the end of the showing I attended.
Then, last night, I heard two young, particularly masculine men declare with absolute conviction to a pretty waitress that the movie was excellent. Absolultey. One of the best movies they’d ever seen.
Clearly, something about this film speaks to their inner… <insert evolution related joke here.>
To be honest, knowing the simians were CGI, I’m not as drawn into this story and its characters as many people might be. I’m not an animation fanatic. Still, I know it’s Andy Serkis (Gollum from Peter Jackson’s Tolkien films, King Kong, and many others), so I’m interested to see what he can do. And in fairness, he does very well. The CGI people also deserve credit for making Cesar and the others look remarkly realistic, and somehow you can still see Serkis’ face in the ape’s. It’s uncanny.
CGI continues its ceaseless evoltion, so all the creatures in the new film may distract viewers just by their remarkable realism
Dawn is essentially a political thriller, with the doves and the hawks among the apes vying for power, while the humans do exactly the same. That intrigue raises the stakes, and naturally, armageddon ensues. The film is surprisingly affecting, despite the creaky plot points, and even for cynics like me. But, the filmmakers know they still have to bring the awesome, so if you’re looking for an evil monkey riding a horse bareback, jumping over a flamming tank while firing AK-47’s from both hands, screaching with bared teeth and rockets and grenades explode all around, well, you’ll get your money’s worth.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes delivers exactly what anyone would expect, and even if it’s not your cup of tea, you’ll have to admit they did what they do well.
Incidentally, it also made a ton of money opening weekend. 20th Century Fox was downplaying estimates, perhaps really not sure what the public’s taste was. This despite a baren 4th of July weekend. Seriously? The only thing it was up against was Transformers, in its third week. Fox guessed $50 to $60 million, and industry trackers started with a guess of $70m, but scaled back based on Friday figures. The weekend’s almost done, and Rentrack is proviing a final estimate of $73 million for the weekend.
Not bad for a bunch of damn, dirty apes.
Here’s Rentrack’s official weekend top 12 for North America.
1. Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes – 20th Century Fox – $73.0M
2. Transformers: Age Of Extinction – Paramount – $16.5M
3. Tammy – Warner Bros. – $12.9M
4. 22 Jump Street – Sony – $6.7M
5. How To Train Your Dragon 2 – 20th Century Fox – $5.9M
6. Earth To Echo – Relativity Media – $5.5M
7. Deliver Us From Evil – Sony – $4.7M
8. Maleficent – Disney – $4.2M
9. Begin Again – The Weinstein Company – $2.9M
10. Jersey Boys – Warner Bros. – $2.5M
11. Think Like A Man Too – Sony – $2.5M
12. America – Lionsgate – $2.5M
Copyright 2014 Twentieth Century Fox