Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett and Erik Winquist

Here’s how good the visual effects team on “Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes” is: for two straight films now, critics and audiences alike have been rooting for Andy Serkis to be nominated for an acting award for his motion capture performance as Caesar the ape. Let me repeat that. A computer generated performance from Andy Serkis in a motion capture suit was so impressively designed and executed that people are comparing his performance to that of the likes of Michael Keaton in “Birdman” and Jean Dujardin in “The Artist”. And I saw rightfully so. Not only is Andy Serkis extremely talented and deserves to be honored some day for his behind the scenes contributions to some of the best fantasy films ever made, but for a visual effects team to create ape characters that come off just as flesh and blood as their actual human counterpoints is and should be baffling.

A majority of “Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes” is populated by computer generated characters and it works amazingly. Ten minutes into the film and you forget that these aren’t actually apes and that they aren’t actually talking to one another. Later, through action scenes, these apes end up riding horses, shooting machine guns, and at one point, even commandeers a military tank. All of these elements come to life and never feel like their generated on a computer screen. Digital technology has come so far since the days of the first “Terminator” film or even “Jaws”. Now, entire worlds and entire civilizations can be created with clicks of the button. We no longer have any limits when it comes to film-making and “Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes” is proof of that.

What’s its competition? “Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes” has a great chance of winning, putting the Marvel superhero films aside and pitting it mainly against Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar”. What points towards thinking “Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes” may not win is that “Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes” (2011) was also nominated for an Oscar and got beat out by “Hugo” (2011). The love for the “Apes” films could come out for this one, but I personally feel its chances are diminished with its previous loss. Also, “Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes,” like the Marvel films, is laden with novelty, while “Interstellar” is the contender with the deeper meaning. Nolan’s team won for “Inception” and unless the Academy decides to spread the love, “Interstellar” feels like the obvious frontrunner. But, were “Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes,” you would not hear any complaining from me.

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// Produced by Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark, Rick Jaffa, and Amanda Silver // Directed by Matt Reeves //
// Dated Viewed: Thursday, January 30th, 2015 // BLU-RAY //  30 films – 25 days //

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