At The Movies With Javid #04

"Seriously brah?"

“Seriously brah?”

It’s that time again…

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

I never saw the original Planet of the Apes, but thanks to the Simpsons and a multitude of other shows I know about what happens. After the travesty that was Transformers 4 the other week I was really looking forward to this. Would I be disappointed?

Following on from the previous film, the Simian Flu has been around for 10 years now, many humans are dead and forced into subsistence living, and high in the San Francisco mountains Ceasar and his ape comrades are forging a strong society, based on wonderful values such as ‘Ape shall not kill ape’ (Orwell would be suing) and having families, communicating well with sign language and minimal English. In a conversation the apes talk of the humans, whose numbers are thinning and who haven’t been seen in at least 2 years. 

That all changes when some humans rock up with guns (as they do) and shoot a kid. They still manage to negotiate with the apes to get power from a dam that happens to be in their area, and tensions are high. Both sides have a good person and a bad person, and as nice as Ceasar and his human counterpart are, I personally thought it was Koba that stole the show. A maniacal ape who is hell bent on revenge (the byproduct of being horribly mistreated during experimentation in the first one) and ends up going absolutely…. Bananas.

Much like Transformers, the humans are little more than window dressing for the CGI society, but unlike Transformers it is done in a brilliant way. The humanity is there for all to see, and by the end of the movie you don’t really see them as ‘apes’ per se, but unique individuals with their own personalities and struggles. I was much more engaged by the inter-ape relations and political tensions of the ape community than the apparent stupidity of a majority of the humans – but I guess that’s the point – why attach you to a society that’s about to be wiped out?

All the classic parallels are there, and anyone with a modicum of knowledge on world history will see them. The ‘Animal Farm’-esque failures of communism, the impact of colonialism on tribal society, the fact that all sides in every conflict have both good and bad – and the multitude of reasons that this is so. They’re all there, and easily identifiable, yet this movie doesn’t suck. Quite to the contrary, it’s a brilliant watch.

It’s a simple story in essence, but the storytelling and character development are well thought out. The CGI, while obvious in its own way, is subtle enough to not distract you from what the characters themselves are actually doing.

Admittedly, putting Michael Bay to shame isn’t hard, but Dawn of the Planet of the Apes flings monkey poo all over him. The best movie I’ve seen this year – and I’ve seen Muppets Most Wanted[9/10]

Quickfire Classics

The majority of the movies I watch are not at the cinema. I’m not saying they’re downloaded, but I’m not saying they’re not. They’re movies you’ve probably or at least possibly seen, and you might disagree with me, but if you’re looking for something to watch this weekend and have the bandwidth, maybe one of these will tickle your fancy.

No Country For Old Men (2007)

"Yeah brah, seriously"

“Yeah brah, seriously”


This movie won a lot of awards, and was recommended to me by a friend with impeccable taste. Instead of old men the story is primarily about two young guys, one who finds a bag of money belonging to the employers of the other. Chaos ensues. The Old Man in question is Tommy Lee Jones, and what an old man he is, whinging the whole time about how his part of the world is getting rougher. Almost like it’s… no country for… I GET IT!

The movie packs a wallop of crazy violence and tells a compelling story, well shot and acted, but that’s what you get with the Coen brothers. The ending, however, leaves much to be desired for me, as one main character dies (although you don’t even see it, unusual after the preceding violence), one gets in a car crash and stumbles off, and Tommy Lee Jones goes on a winding monologue that ends and then BAM credits.

The movie was good, but considering how much people fap over it, it wasn’t great. I hear the book’s pretty alright… [7/10]

The Road (2009)

From the author who brought you such classics as ‘No Country For Old Men’ comes ‘The Road’ – a post apocalyptic tale about Viggo Mortensen and some kid wandering from place to place, avoiding cannibals and trying to survive. It’s bleak, it’s depressing, it’s a bit gross – but is it worth it? Nah. The soundtrack was done by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis though…

You know it’s a depressing movie when a suicide at the end of it WOULD have been considered a ‘happy ending’. [3/10]

Contagion (2011)

I’ve been watching far too many pandemic movies lately. Planet of the Apes, World War Z, we’re all freaking DOOMED! Another movie about a world-threatening virus and the efforts that go not only into controlling it and suppressing it but exploiting it for financial gain. An all star cast is good, but the split of multiple stories and the wide-ranging quality of the performances means that, while some characters intrigue, others bore the shit out of you.

I’m still undecided with how I feel about this film – about as undecided as Jude Law was when it came to picking an accent, it seems. It won’t make you sick, but it won’t cure your boredom (best line about a pandemic movie I’VE EVER WRITTEN!). It also has Heisenberg in it, so there’s that. [5/10]


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