• warning: Parameter 1 to theme_field() expected to be a reference, value given in /nfs/c02/h01/mnt/42743/domains/mstrmnd.com/html/includes/theme.inc on line 171.
  • recoverable fatal error: Object of class stdClass could not be converted to string in /nfs/c02/h01/mnt/42743/domains/mstrmnd.com/html/sites/all/themes/custom/basic/node-blog.tpl.php on line 109.
  • recoverable fatal error: Object of class stdClass could not be converted to string in /nfs/c02/h01/mnt/42743/domains/mstrmnd.com/html/sites/all/themes/custom/basic/node-blog.tpl.php on line 109.
  • recoverable fatal error: Object of class stdClass could not be converted to string in /nfs/c02/h01/mnt/42743/domains/mstrmnd.com/html/sites/all/themes/custom/basic/node-blog.tpl.php on line 109.
  • recoverable fatal error: Object of class stdClass could not be converted to string in /nfs/c02/h01/mnt/42743/domains/mstrmnd.com/html/sites/all/themes/custom/basic/node-blog.tpl.php on line 109.
  • recoverable fatal error: Object of class stdClass could not be converted to string in /nfs/c02/h01/mnt/42743/domains/mstrmnd.com/html/sites/all/themes/custom/basic/node-blog.tpl.php on line 109.
  • recoverable fatal error: Object of class stdClass could not be converted to string in /nfs/c02/h01/mnt/42743/domains/mstrmnd.com/html/sites/all/themes/custom/basic/node-blog.tpl.php on line 109.
  • recoverable fatal error: Object of class stdClass could not be converted to string in /nfs/c02/h01/mnt/42743/domains/mstrmnd.com/html/sites/all/themes/custom/basic/node-blog.tpl.php on line 109.
  • recoverable fatal error: Object of class stdClass could not be converted to string in /nfs/c02/h01/mnt/42743/domains/mstrmnd.com/html/sites/all/themes/custom/basic/node-blog.tpl.php on line 109.
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308193.1944

The tepid message-ism of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes starts with its title. Dawn comes after Rise? The context of both labels mislead in their order. In the tale's mythology, ape rule is inevitable, so why not impart something to the mysterious nature of great titles? It doesn't have to be cubist ("March of the Planet of the Apes"), just don't take a step backwards in the definition. Unlike it's dementedly off-kilter predecessor, Rupert Wyatt's zany and affecting Rise, Matt Reeve's Dawn is strictly rote. It's practically a checklist disguised as blockbuster. Undeveloped human characters are passed onto the audience as underdeveloped, muted while an absurd game of connect the dots is played through a series of linear, contrived grand gestures. As the ultimate film of the twitterverse, Dawn wants its thematic potential reduced to blank stare messages: guns are bad, hate is bad. This is the ultimate blockbuster of the PC-era, aimed directly at our 2nd amendment conflicts. And it overtakes our understanding of the apes, transitioning them from complex to noble. All is sacred yet no sacrifice occurs to validate it. That's the diffusion, when the political issues of our era's are grafted onto the holistic ones of the film's, projecting our simple conflicts onto their future 'complexity.' The worst part of the film's mythology is Ceasar hasn't learned his lesson, in fact he's regressed. Maybe the inetlligence drug stopped working (that'd be too subtle a jab at the new Bourne era). The most stifling realization is Ceasar doesn't seem to be the same chimp we last met walking into Muir Woods "ten" years ago, this isn't the brilliant adapter-adopter who chessmoved his way out of Brian Cox's grips. Ceasar's devolved to concilliator and his take on humans verges on 'plain dumb' or 'real-stupid.' He under-reacts to the shooting of a fellow chimp (mechanically so the script can evince rebellion within), then marches his whole gunless brigade to confront heavily armed humans in their hangout in a decrepit San Fran. The brilliant strategist who outlasted corporatocracy and animal welfare imprisonment in Rise walks into the crosshairs apparently hoping the absurdity of a chimp on horseback might stun the audience. His bargaining chip? A dropped back-pack. Jason Clarke, fumbling after his suave torture style in ZD30 can't seem to decide if he's suicidal or overconcerned father (he's both: a split-personality that doesn't register). Which character decides in nearby breaths that his teenage son has "seen too much" then capitulates when the teen wants to join his dad on what appears to be a suicide mission back to the ape's homeland? Sure, logic is never a foregone conclusion in blockbusters, but here, the story is served only with cherries and no true villains (leaden sarcasm: how modern). Of course nothing is purely realistic in film events, but the reality building has to have enough internal paradoxes so we can look easily past contrivance. Here, there's no main course. No appetizer. No one to root for, no one to revile. No pleasure, just messaging. Even reality TV can clumsily manufacture personalities, here we're in 70s realism redux, only Reeves has no tricks to let us emote. Moments feel like bravura museum dioramas of these same events. They flash by. It looks like the exhibit Anthropocene, late decline. And dioramas by their nature condense the most simplistic essence of the occurence. This is an anti-human, anthropocene warning nightmare, without an emotional overhadow. Just plot turns in search of emotions that can't keep any logical flow. Each decision only serves a purpose for a moment and then it's gone, each turn of the plot functions at what seems to be an entirely different emotional horizon. And because the characters are so minimal, so glacial, their interconnections are largely gear-like, stiff, written only into dialogue, not evoked visually. The dam's trigger-happy engineer, a laughably forgettable character, shoots off his gun in the first scenes and then, on the second trip north, he's handed a gun as if the first scene never occurred. In what movie-logic do you rearm the guy that almost started a war of annihilation? Answer, in this movie, where anything goes if it makes humans look foolish and yet there's no clear-cut villains or heroes to receive the overspill. That's the dunderheadedness of Blockbuster 3.0 (or is this 4.1?), a return to the film rhetoric of the late fifties/early sixties, the return of the Stanley Kramer 'message-picture.' How's it work? Reduce the emotions to words, pretend it's real.

Despite the dour pedagogy peddled, it's must see for the effects alone, as it's filmed in true 3-D.

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