Sunday, July 13, 2014

F This Movie! - Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Patrick and JB hate every ape they see, from chimpan-A to chimpanzee.

Download this episode here. (67.2 MB)

Subscribe to F This Movie! in iTunes

Also discussed this episode: Snowpiercer (2014), Life Itself (2014), Jaws (1976), King Kong (1976), Deadly Eyes (1982), Out of the Furnace (2013)


  1. If JB has only seen Jason Clarke in Zero Dark Thirty, how can he criticize Sh*ting in the Sink (aka White House Down)?

    Great podcast on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and I pretty much agree with everything you guys brought up.

    It's an incredibly interesting movie, as it does make you question a lot of things. For the first part of the movie I thought it wasn't in the apes best interests to help the humans. Sure it works towards the betterment of the planet in a way, but they would likely wipe out the ape colony in San Francisco once they were able to. So in a way I sided with Koba for a while, but that all changed once he turned on Caesar and instead just wanted to establish himself as the warmonger he became. But just the mere notion that I was "against" humanity for much of the movie I found interesting.

    It's just a really good movie, and I don't think you need to be a fan of the series to like the movie. My mom for example is not a fan of the '78 version, but I still told her to check this out (instead of the aforementioned Sh*itting in the Sink 2/Tammy). It's not merely a science fiction/action movie, but instead does borrows elements from many great movies (like The Godfather and The Lion King). This deserves an audience, and I am glad it experienced a huge boost over Rise.

    Oh and it's going to be interesting to see if the widely praised Boyhood bumps Snowpiercer off your perch as the best movie of 2014. Based on what I've read, that one is a movie for the ages.

    1. Completely forgot Clarke was in White House Down (home of one of the most incomprehensible chase scenes in film history) and I see he also played George Wilson in the latest Gatsby iteration/stinkfest. I'm glad he's finally getting better parts.

  2. Ebert should be glad he didn't bestow that puzzle to me. I would have never gotten past that it came with a hand-written letter from Laura Dern.

    Great podcast fellas. I really enjoyed it and Dawn.

  3. So glad you all liked Dawn, its nice to have ones opinion validated by others.

    As I had really connected with Rises and the development of the character of Caesar, I was very glad that they continued with his story in such a way that focused on his struggles and juggling of leadership duties. Apparently at one point the idea for Dawn was to be decades or centuries in the future closer to the time when the original was set. Reeves influence changed that course, thankfully.

    The morale dilemma at the end was really well done. A lesser movie would have made Caesar try to pull him up but Koba's actions cause him to slip, or something. Making it unambiguously Caesar's choice sets things up in a very interesting position for the next one. The whole "Ape does not kill Ape" rule has a strong Animal Farm quality that was not really capitalised on in Battle, which I hope they explore in ... Day?

    While it is bound to be rectified in future installments, my main quibble would be the limited character development of Blue Eyes prior to the battle. He is more just the confused looking ape that everyone talks to for the frst half, so when Caesar is shot and he becomes our main ape good guy it felt a little flat to me until Casear came back. its minor.

    great show guys.

  4. Wonderful podcast.

    Whenever Patrick and JB get together, the results are like a masterclass in film criticism and observation.

  5. Evidently Harvey Weinstein wanted to cut twenty minutes from Snowpiercer because he thought the movie was too dark, brutal, and weird for a mass audience, according to The Boston Globe. The film's limited distribution may not be a penalty so much as a risk management strategy. Pursuing a concurrent release in theaters and via digital distribution might help the film find a wider audience, but severely reduced the number of theaters willing to show it. Although the movie opened on only eight screens, over the past three weeks it ramped up to 356 domestic locations (source: Box Office Mojo). By comparison, the Weinstein Company's indie film Begin Again played in 939 theaters and made $2.8 million in domestic gross box office this past weekend. Snowpiercer grossed $2.6 million over the weekend -- not including VOD and international revenue -- with only 38% of the screens.

    1. Correction: Snowpiercer made $2.6 million domestic gross since release, only $635k this past weekend.

  6. I enjoyed the first part of the podcast but holding off on the spoiler section.

    Question: I just got the Planet of the Apes collection - I've never seen any of the sequels (loved the original) - would you say there's any benefit to watching the old ones before I see this? Some references I might appreciate more?

    1. No,

      Rise is more reference heavy. I assume youve seen Rise. If not, then there are a lot of easter eggs there that would benefit from seeing the entire original series to fully appreciate. Far from necessary, but certain choices were based on the series.
      Dawn, however is much more its own thing. There may be more references I didnt catch the first time and Battle is the movie im probably least familliar with from the series, but I think there is only one overt reference which still works 100% on its own in Dawn and is a central element of the movie that isnt a cute wink or fan service.

      I wouldnt put off seeing Dawn if being part of the online hype driven discussion is something you enjoy (like this one), and on the other hand there is no reason you should put off watching all of the original series NOW! Escape and Conquest are great.

      Get you Ape on boi!

    2. Thanks for the tips bud - I have to hold off until this weekend for DotPotA anyway so I'm going to try and marathon the originals before then, but won't stress it if I don't.

      I really, really like the first Planet of the Apes and it works so damn well on its own that I've never felt compelled to watch the sequels. After hearing mostly praise for them on this site, and with all the Monkey Madness for this new one, I'm ready to take the plunge!

  7. Just finished watching the documentary Life Itself. What a powerful, moving film. I honestly thought it would be a warm, sweet tribute film--and not the document of a man who wanted to share his love of movies, culture, family and yes indeed, life--all the while his body was deteriorating.

    Steve James put his heart into this film. I was surprised though that Roeper was not amongst the interviews though.

    I agree with JB. Like all great documentaries, you needn't be concerned with the subject matter when the film's true intent is depicting the human condition.

    Siskel and Ebert played a huge part of my life growing up and loving the movies. Every year, since out here in California we didn't get the Chicago Sun Times, I would venture to the local book store and buy the newest book edition of Ebert's reviews (from the previous year) and read it cover to cover.

    Intelligent film criticism has changed a lot with the internet, but it's not dead. One just has to look a bit deeper to find it though.

    I'm glad I found this site close to four years ago.

  8. Oh and not to be overly defensive of Jaws 2, but I think it's worthy of Patrick at least checking it out. Of course it doesn't come near the heights of its predecessor (a top 10-15 movie of mine), and some may deem it an unnecessary sequel, but by its own rights I think it's a decent flick.

    It does repeat a lot of the same beats as the first movie, and it obviously suffers largely from the absence of Hooper and Quint, but I still enjoy Scheider to think it's better than average (even if he didn't even want to do the movie). It lighty deals with Brody's obsession as well, which is why I find it still easy to identify with his character. There are some interesting scenes, and as a horror aficionado I think Patrick should check it out one of these days. It's no worse than other unnecessary, yet still watchable sequels like Robocop 2, Scream 2, the first hour of The Lost World, The RIng 2, Ghostbusters 2, and a ton of other sequels with a similar structure as the first movie. Are any of the movies that good? Not really, but aside from the second half of The Lost World I think they're all worth at least one look.

  9. Just watched Dawn, and I was simply blown away. I was surprised how it improved of Battle for the Planet of the Apes, but still felt like I was watching a movie from the 70's. I think it was the way the humans acted was probably intentional because I was yeah their actings cheesy but it's almost hearkens back to that aesthetic. Plus it allowed for the Apes to shine more. I only wish you would have talked about the score a little. Like how Michael Giacchino put that little homage to 2001 at the beginning.

  10. Let the Skyfall re-assessment begin! Muah ha ha ha! :P

    Another great podcast, guys, even if JB did mistake the Bay Bridge on the poster for the Golden Gate. Also, not having listened to spoilers, I'm curious as to whether anyone points out at any time how silly it'd be for post-apocalypse human survivors to set up shop in SF - it's dang chilly much of the time, and the fact that the whole city's a peninsula means there's very little natural fresh water flow. They'd be much better off sticking to Berkeley.

    ... The More You Know!

  11. I really really really like SNOWPIERCER, but can't yet call it a masterpiece. Time will tell. There are actually 1 or 2 movies already out this year I think I like better. And there are two more I'm fairly excited about that haven been released yet that could top it (BOYHOOD, INTERSTELLAR). Still, it most likely will be in my top 10 and could sneak into the top 5 easily.

    Finally, I must differ on DAWN. It's a decent film with some great moments but has issues that were discussed on the podcast. Those issues must have just been more of a problem for me - specifically the lack of depth in human characters and underuse of Keri Russell and Kodi Smit-McPhee. This movie still seemed to check the box of many of your typical summer blockbuster tropes. What was going on with Oldman too? Yikes. Did not understand his "arc." I also felt the third act was predictable and a let down. Anyone else agree with me on DAWN? I still feel, unless your counting SNOWPIERCER, that EDGE OF TOMORROW is the best blockbuster of the summer thus far.

    1. Totally agree with your DAWN points except I could have used even less Keri Russell. Why did her first scene have to be one continuous shot. I feel like it wasn't intended and had tons of weird unnatural pauses.

  12. I'm sometimes a little disappointed when I see the podcast is of a brand new movie because I so rarely get out to see them right away - on the other hand, it's so great to have them there when you've just watched something. Loved the movie and loved listening to your discussion - you certainly touched on everything I thought was great about it and you're absolutely right about your minor quibbles - the humans are one-dimensional but that's all they needed to be because the apes are such wonderfully realized characters.

    At one point I was thinking, wow, I can't believe how effortlessly they've made me care about and put me squarely on the side of these apes - I had to remind myself they weren't people. Then I had to remind myself (I was drunk) that they weren't even real apes! Two empathy barriers broken down so quickly I almost didn't even realize they were there - brilliant!

    The voice-work is amazing and when you think about it, probably isn't that far-fetched as to how an ape might be able to approximate human speech with their vocal equipment. Similarly to burping the alphabet, it's more in how air is forced through the throat and around the tongue/lips as opposed to how humans use their vocal cords. The apes talking could easily have been the point where I could no longer suspend my disbelief - instead it's perfectly seamless - brilliant!

    Is it too early to declare 2014 as a great year for movies? Maybe it's just because the contributors and commentors at this site have steered me towards the good and away from the bad, but I just feel like I've seen a lot of really good new movies this year.

    Thanks for another great podcast guys!

  13. I love JBs comment on thinking about the movie.

    Reminds me of a joke I remember from somewhere
    Hey I paid 10 bucks to watch this movie. I dont want to have to think!

  14. Lovely podcast! You make so many good points about the thematic content of the movie that I feel bad for not enjoying it more than I did. I liked it, but I agree with you on so many of these points that I feel like it should have been one of my favorite movies of the year, and the fact that it wasn't makes me think I had my brain turned off.

    Anyway, lovely stuff like I said. In general I think your podcasts are more fun when you have a greater variety of opinion (Amazing Spider-Man 2 is one of my favorites, although I'm going chronologically and am still only on D so I haven't gotten very far yet), but in this case you offer so much thoughtful insight that it was still consistently interesting.