War for the Planet of the Apes. Kind of a bummer. At first I was really into the melodrama. Eventually, it became very tedious. It seemed like they were stopping for a sappy moment every 5-10 minutes. The Gollum/Jar Jar ape didn’t help. I also don’t understand why a crucial character uses a crossbow in a world with guns. Another hang-up was that I couldn’t figure out how the world fit together. That’s one thing I liked about Rise… and Dawn… – the geography was clear. You knew who was where. This one started in those awesome rainforests, then moved to a snowscape, and then to the Sierras? Or Tahoe? The previous ones were strong in that they felt like our world. I don’t know what happened to it here. Bummer. Filed under: Planet of the Apes.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Really underwhelming. I was so fired up for this after re-watching Rise… and hearing good reviews. I think the best way to summarize this one is that there’s just not much to be curious about. Once you get the early outlines, you could finish the screenplay yourself. Bonus points, though, for good use of xylophone in the score. I also thought it was interesting that they only used a handful of locations for this movie: city, grove, dam, village, apartment. Reminded me of the clashing civilizations/neighbors in The New World. Took me the longest time to realize how I recognized Kodi Smit-McPhee: Let Me In.
Let Me In. I’m torn on this remake. I like the good suspense with a steady, chilling, creeping weirdness about it, but not so intense that I didn’t mind stopping the film a couple times to take a break. It’s crippled by a bad/ill-timed score, which drove me nuts. The young actors are very, very good and pretty much carry the whole thing when it goes off-course. The shots and locations are chosen and photographed really well. Love the contrast of warm/cold, damp/dry, bright/dark. But there’s some sketchy CGI and it seems like the director should have made stronger decisions about showing the violence on-screen vs. off. It kind of waffles. Interesting themes of power, safety, and dependency. I also loved the one perfect moment when the two leads are hanging out: She picks up his Romeo & Juliet book, which he dismisses as a boring class assignment; then he talks to her about Morse code. The premise of the whole film is good enough that I’d like to see the original.