Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - forest meeting
Another good movie in a good year of movies!

This year has been a real treat for my movie sensibilities! Usually, a given year might have one or two high-quality movies that stand above the rest of the dumb summer popcorn flicks. But it's not even August yet, and I've already seen five really good movies. The year started off well with the quirky, sci-fi romance story Her (which I meant to review, but never got around to it). Then, Captain America Winter Soldier turned out to be an exceptional super hero spy thriller. I already reviewed X-Men Days of Future Past and Edge of Tomorrow - both of which I also really liked!

So far, the only disappointment has been the poorly-written Amazing Spider-Man 2 (but this was kind of to be expected, thanks Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci). I also have no interest in Transformers 4 or Ninja Turtles, since those both look like standard Michael Bay garbage.

And so we come to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, a sequel to the prequel / reboot Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Rise was a surprisingly good movie that did an excellent job of humanizing a CGI monkey. Dawn picks up ten years after the last movie ended. The virus that James Franco's character created in the lab as a potential treatment for Alzheimer has spread to the rest of the population and almost wiped out the human race, leaving only the small fraction of people that are genetically resistant to it.

The whole first act of the movie doesn't include a single human character at all, or even any dialogue. Instead, it depicts the ape characters and their culture and social structure, and it really helps to build up the apes as sympathetic characters...

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Hooray for Hollywood reboots/remakes! Are you as sick of them as I am? Normally, I’m not a big fan of reboots and remakes, especially if they involve changing the details of an origins story (see my X-Men: First Class review). But there are exceptions to every rule. Case in point: Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes - poster

Rise of the Planet of the Apes completely rewrites the origins for Planet of the Apes that was depicted in the third film Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. The original story involved survivors from the future, ape-run world being sent back in time to 1970’s earth and giving birth to an ape named Caesar who would eventually lead other apes in a violent revolution against humanity. In the original origin story, all the cats and dogs of humanity were killed by a plague, and humans started taking in apes and chimps as household pets. Eventually, those apes would be trained to serve as a subservient laborer class before revolting under the leadership of Caesar.

In some ways, Rise of the Planet of the Apes could be considered a “remake” of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, in that it tells a different story for the origins of the ape-run world.

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X-Men: First Class

Comic book fans have had a lot to be excited about these last ten years or so. After decades of mediocre-at-best comic book movies, and the one exceptional Tim Burton Batman movie, the onslaught of surprisingly good comic book movies in the early 2000’s has been a pleasant surprise. Excellent films such as Spider-Man 2, X-2: X-Men United, The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Watchmen, and the underrated Edward Norton Incredible Hulk have been undercut by a relative minority of abysmal films such as X-Men 3, Spider-Man 3, and the crappy Eric Bana Hulk movie. But the turbulent up-and-down nature of comic book films makes it very hard to know what to expect when you buy that $10 movie ticket. Are you going to get Batman Begins? Or Superman 4? Iron Man 2? Or X-Men Origins: Wolverine?

Going into this summer, we have a handful of comic movies to look forward to with anticipation and anxiety. Thor, X-Men: First Class, The Green Lantern, and Captain America all debut this summer. So far, Marvel has done an outstanding job with the movies made by its relatively new in-house studio. Thor already turned out to be a good-but-not-great movie (in my opinion), and so I expect a lot with X-Men and Captain America.

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Welcome to Mega Bears Fan's blog, and thanks for visiting! This blog is mostly dedicated to game reviews, strategies, and analysis of my favorite games. I also talk about my other interests, like football, science and technology, movies, and so on. Feel free to read more about the blog.

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