This long running franchise has always been one of my favourite series of movies, and the character remains probably my go-to comic book hero. So when I heard they were rebooting the franchise once again, I was curious / nervous where they could possibly take this character. Turns out director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, War for the Planet of the Apes) was an assured choice for this new era. Twilight’s Robert Pattinson takes on the role of Bruce Wayne / Batman who we hear has already been at the caped vigilante ‘game’ for over a year. A series of murders of political figures have started occurring in Gotham City. The killer, calling himself The Ridler leaves cryptic clues for the police and especially Batman to follow in a race against time as the bodies pile up. Embroiled in proceedings is small-time burglar Selena Kyle / Catwoman (Zoe Kravitz), as well as local mobster The Penguin.
Reeves’ direction is suitably moody and highly atmospheric. I especially liked how he brought back Gotham as an eerie character in itself, something Tim Burton presented so well back in the day but Christopher Nolan mostly did away with in place of realism. This rendition of Batman successfully marries both the Gothic fantasy of Burton whilst retaining some of the grit of Nolan … and it works. Wayne / Batman is this time portrayed very much as a human being, capable of injury and mistakes and letting his emotions get the better of him. In this respect Pattinson is excellent – delivering a complex, damaged portrayal whilst still looking an absolute badass in the costume. I’d have like a bit more of him as Bruce Wayne though. Another surprise was Zoe Kravitz, an actress I only know as being the daughter of rocker Lennie Kravitz, but her portrayal is possibly the most complex and interesting version of Catwoman for years. Support from Jeffrey Wright as (inevitably) Commissioner Gordon and John Turturro as mob boss Falcone both bring plenty of personality also. A barely recognisable Colin Farrell is also decent as Penguin even if his character is kind of a side note. That just leaves The Ridler then, and with this role Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood) is chilling and malevolent – even if he’s no Heath Ledger (although his grand-scheme bares similarities).
I had a great time with this. It was a bit long, and may have benefited from some scenes being trimmed down, but I can’t say I ever got bored. Pattinson turned out to be a great choice and I am eager to see what more he can do with the character. The story was gripping, with an intricate plot that bared resemblance to the Zodiac murders whilst also echoing the Saw movies. This was also different enough to stand on its own yet retains enough of the mood and aesthetic to still very much be a Batman movie. What more could you ask for?
Following an invasion of their home by a military force, ape leader Caesar (Andy Serkis) vows revenge and sets off to hunt down Woody Harrelson’s ruthless Colonel with a small group of fellow apes. Along the way they stumble upon a young mute girl who may be evidence of a mutated strain of the disease that has already killed off most of mankind.
A decidedly strange experience. I went into this with very high expectations and have to say what I got was a different movie than I was anticipating. It has the word ‘war’ in the title but it’s not the humans vs. apes smack down the last movie set us up for. Instead it explores an on-going conflict set at ‘war time’ between said apposing military force and the still attempting to live in peace apes. However what we do have is once again a movie with a great deal of heart, some very touching character moments, themes of loyalty, family and friendship as well as a little comic relief in the form of an ageing lone ape who turns up half way through. We get a lengthy prisoner-of-war sequence that is brilliantly played out with echoes of The Great Escape, and some decent action although nothing on par with the last two movies. This one’s less about explosions and spectacle and more about the search for a safe haven and a potential future, even if that future is hopeless for humans. As a conclusion (?) to the trilogy, it feels a tad uneventful and drags in places, and that ending was rather a damp squib.
Yet for fans like myself this is still solid entertainment. It’s superbly acted with again top marks going to Serkis, whilst Harrelson delivers a fine villain. It’s also absolutely stunning to look at (can these apes get any more real?) aided by plenty of personality and bags of emotion. I just suppose by a third movie, I was expecting more not … less.
The last reboot of the fabled POTA saga was a refreshingly different take on the mythos, letting us in on a backstory that was only ever hinted at in the classic movie franchise. It was the Apes movie we as cinema goers deserved, further pushing from our minds Tim Burton’s earlier, ill-judged remake. This follow-up starts ten years after the events of the first, where we meet a group of surviving humans (lead by Gary Oldman), living in a tower in a destroyed and mostly abandoned San Francisco. The virus that spread at the end of ‘Rise has wiped out much of mankind all but for a few immune who hope to take back a world that seems to have left them for dead. Their only chance is to travel through the red forest to the Hoover Damn, where it’s power could reignite hope. Only problem is a tribe of scientifically-advanced apes, lead by Caesar (Andy Serkis) stand in their way and want nothing more to do with humans.
Again this is a visual tour-de-force. The mostly CGI apes have become even more convincing (albeit for a couple of moments) and small little details in their expressions and varied personalities all help create characters that look and feel alive. Caesar this time has an adolescent son and a new born baby to worry about as well as growing tension amongst his tribe as humans begin to invade their territory … who does he side with and who does he trust? It’s a strong message and also a worryingly believable concept if our closest relatives were to suddenly ‘evolve’. Good support on the human-front comes from the recognisable but name-escaped-me at the time Jason Clarke (Lawless, Zero Dark Thirty) and also Oldman who regrettably didn’t go psycho bad-guy on us … but was decent regardless. But this clearly was about the apes, and for a movie to be so convincingly carried by CGI characters, despite the performances that exists underneath all the techno-wizardry, is a revelation – especially when at times it really affected me emotionally (Caesar’s relationship with his son ‘bright eyes’…). To back up the performances, we have several action sequences even if the movie lacks a rival to Rise’s Golden Gate Bridge stand-out scene – but this time around I found this more a character-piece, and we do get a great villain, whose identity I won’t spoil for you.
It’s been said Andy Serkis, who also played Gollum in the Hobbit / Lord of the Rings, as Caesar really should nab himself an Oscar, and with such a layered and powerful turn, I can’t disagree. This was a brilliantly-conceived and intelligently put together sequel to a genuine surprise of a reboot … and I for one can’t wait for what comes next.
I immediately went into this movie at a disadvantage. You see, I am a big fan of the original Swedish version Let The Right One In, of which this is the American remake, and despite my best intentions, found myself comparing both movies scene for scene. But I digress, as this second adaptation of the best-selling Vampire novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist stars latest hot property Chloe Moretz as Abbie, a lonely new arrival to a housing complex who befriends bullied young boy Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) when they meet at night in the local courtyard. Yet Abbie is no ordinary girl, and is hiding a dark secret – yes you got it people, she’s a vampire! Watched over by her father / guardian who kills local youths to obtain blood, Abbie & Owen’s friendship soon develops into a rather sweet love story, albeit unconventional and only her blood sucking urges threaten to tear them apart.
As I’m not a professional critic and only get to see movies based on circumstance, then finding the time to watch all the best movies coming out this year is always an uphill struggle. Yet I am hoping that before the end of the year, I’ll get to pass judgement on the following…
Mensen maken de samenleving en nemen daarin een positie in. Deze website geeft toegang tot een diversiteit aan artikelen die gaan over 'samenleven', belicht vanuit verschillende perspectieven. De artikelen hebben gemeen dat er gezocht wordt naar wat 'mensen bindt, in plaats van wat hen scheidt'.