We often talk about movies that are game-changers, or we talk about the cutting edge of visual effects, but jumps forward are often marked in tiny baby steps.
That does not appear to be the case with "Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes."
I just recently re-watched "Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes," and the way they incorporated performance into the character animation for Caesar was remarkable. Andy Serkis and Weta Digital brought that character to life in a way that didn't just push the envelope… it shredded it. And in the new film, it looks like they've had to do that on a massive scale, bringing dozens of characters to life with that same degree of finesse.
If you're really excited about this movie already, do yourself a favor and don't watch the trailer. I just watched it, and I feel like it gives away a lot of great bits and pieces of the movie. There's one bit in particular that completely blew me away, where we see how the apes use the expectations that people have about them to get close to someone before doing something unexpectedly crazy.
When I wrote my recent piece on "Life In The Age of Casual Magic," I talked about how hard it is now to provoke viewers and create a real sense of wonder, but when I look at the work that's being done in this film, that's the exact feeling I get from it. I am dazzled by the way they are able to make the impossible seem completely real, and with Matt Reeves, a very intelligent director with a huge appetite for genre and a keen sense of humanity, I expect this to be something that works both emotionally and in a visceral way as well.
I'm seeing this one soon, and I'll sit down with the cast and with Reeves, and I already have a pile of questions for them.
"Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes" is in theaters July 11, 2015.