Advertisements
    Advertisements
  • Following Us

  • Categories

  • Check out the Archives









  • Awards & Nominations

  • Advertisements

Non-Review Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Constructing a satisfying sequel is an artform unto itself. It is something that requires a great deal of skill. As with any aspect of filmmaking, building off an earlier film is a very difficult thing to do. Producing a sequel comes with its own set of artistic risks and challenges, its own obstacles and hurdles. Navigating those potential problems and finding a way to meet (and even surpass) expectations without straying too far from the framework of the original film is difficult.

As with making any movie, there are existing frameworks and structures that do a little help make navigating those problems a little easier. Perhaps the structure of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is the most obvious example. Using the trust established by the first film, the ensemble are split up to carry different strands of the plot, revealing scattered pieces of a larger whole, before reuniting for an epic finalé. Bryan Singer used this approach for X-Men II and How to Train Your Dragon 2 also followed it.

Playing him for a chimp, eh?

Playing him for a chimp, eh?

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is in an interesting position. It is a sequel to a remake; a remake of a film franchise that was originally iconic and influential, before dying a slow and humiliating public death as the series diminished and collapsed. Not only does Dawn of the Planet of the Apes come with the expectations of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, it comes with the revived expectations of the entire Planet of the Apes franchise; expectations restored by Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes chooses a very clever structure for this sequel, loosely following the sequel framework typified by Christopher Nolan’s work on The Dark Knight. This is a very clever approach, and it pays dividends. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is an ambitious and exciting sequel, a wonderful post-apocalyptic epic and an engaging moral parable.

Going ape for it...

Going ape for it…

Continue reading

Advertisements

Non-Review Review: John Carter

I really enjoyed John Carter for what it was. In a way, the movie feels quite a bit like its lead character, a Confederate soldier yanked off Earth and dumped in another very strange setting. This movie feels like a seventies or eighties science-fiction epic, mercilessly plucked from the era of pulpy high-tech fantasy and transposed to a more cynical modern time. Whether or not you will enjoy John Carter will depend entirely on your taste for big-budget science-fiction epics. Those who favour a wry and self-aware approach to their wild interplanetary adventures will likely go home unsatisfied. However, those who can embrace an earnest and straight-faced adaptation of a science-fiction classic will find much to enjoy. You can guess which camp I fell into, even if I could acknowledge the movie’s significant shortcomings.

Warlord of Mars...

Continue reading

Non-Review Review: Super 8

Super 8 is a love letter to film. It’s an ode to the trashy, forgettable – yet still endearing – stuff, like a bunch kids screwing around with an obvious fixation on the work of George A. Romero. It’s also a sweet tribute to the film that emotionally connects with us, like the footage of a long lost relative projected against a wall, almost convincing us for a second that they’re still with us. JJ Abrams might consciously evoke early Spielberg with his style, but it’s only to celebrate the common ground they both share, the believe that film is truly powerful and emotion medium, one that strikes a chord on the most improbable of notes, teaching us life lessons and engaging us in nothing short of magic. The posters and trailers might convince you that Super 8 is a classic monster movie with seventies trappings – and it is – but it’s also that other difficult-to-get-quite-genre, the coming-of-age tale. Just one that features giant monsters.

Nice camera work...

Continue reading