Sunday, July 13, 2014

Ape Days Dawning

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is the sequel to 2011's virtually interchangeably titled Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Fans of that first film will find the sequel does not disappoint. The story picks up 10 after a genetically engineered virus meant to cure Alzheimer's instead kills 90% of the human population and raises the intelligence of great apes. Caesar and his band have been hiding out in the Muir Woods, building a Stone Age society where "ape does not kill ape" and other sensible things, but they again come in contact with humans. Since these films are prequels (or reboots) to the Planet of the Apes series, if you guess conflict with humans is going to disrupt this ape Eden, you would be right.

Anyway go see it. Here are some thoughts I had related to the film, but not specifically reviewish:

1. The whole inadvertently released viral vector origin (at odds with what was presented in the original film series) brings it closer to the origins of the Great Disaster in DC Comics, where the drug cortexin (maybe plus some radiation) leads to anthropomorphic animals of all sorts. You can read about this in Kamandi #16, and the Great Disaster in general in Kamandi and in Showcase Presents: The Great Disaster.

2. The Planet of the Apes world (either the original films or this series) would make a good roleplaying setting. Terra Primate does that, but you could just as easily do it in Mutant Future by toning down the number of mutants and mutations (though the original series suggests you don't need to eliminate it entirely). Over here we've got a the original PotA apes as a race (with sub-races) for Mutant Future. The apes in the new film are more realistic. At the point of Dawn, they all still have the Simian Deformity disadvantage. Speech seems to be a bit difficult (or perhaps just uncomfortable) for them, so they tend to use sign language, and they don't have the manual dexterity of humans either. The subrace system should be ditched, too.

3. A Medieval Planet of the Apes could easily become a dungeoncrawling sort of setting--Beneath already has a dungeon of sorts.  Over at The Land of Nod, John Stater has already thought of this. He gives us "realistic" versions of the original series species for D&D-derived games and a sample dungeon!


Gothridge Manor said...

Still need to see the 1st one. As long as Burton doesn't get near the films I think they have a chance.

Trey said...

They're definitely worth seeing.

Tom Fitzgerald said...

I found this one surprisingly moving and beautiful. There is, however, a definite sense that the humans are out-acted by the CGI apes. I don't think it matters really, there is such deep drama and pathos and frightening spectacle that it feels insignificant.

Among many things I loved that the apes are able to hold up sub-machine guns with one hand and squirt death effortlessly because they are so damn strong. It's the little details.

Trey said...

I agree on all counts, Tom. I think the humans are definitely given short shrift compared to the apes.

David said...

Apes, screaming in rage. On horseback. Two-fisting machine guns.

That is all.

JDJarvis said...

I think this sequel as better, imaginative, more drama, very emotional without being wimpy. If they keep going this well I'll go ape!