Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of Planet of the Apes: The Art of the Films

Get your stinkin’ paws on this two-in-one be­hind-the-scenes guide to the simi­ans of to­day’s cin­ema

ImagineFX - - Reviews -

The re­cently re­booted Planet of the Apes saga has been that most un­usual of things: one that’s taken the themes of the orig­i­nal films and books, and turned them into some­thing rel­e­vant to mod­ern au­di­ences. This mak­ing-of book cov­ers both 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes and this year’s se­quel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Cov­er­ing a film and its se­quel in one book is an in­ter­est­ing ap­proach, ef­fec­tively giv­ing you two books for the price of one. It’s also a great way to com­pare and con­trast the two films: Rise is a bio-tech thriller in the Michael Crich­ton mould, and the home­li­ness of pro­tag­o­nist Will’s res­i­dence is neatly con­trasted with the asep­tic clean­li­ness of the labs in which he works. Dawn, on the other hand, is a dystopian ac­tion ad­ven­ture, build­ing on the first film and of­fer­ing far big­ger sets, the cre­ation of which is de­tailed here.

Of course, the real stars of the show are the apes them­selves. Their de­sign is a sig­nif­i­cant part of this book, and there are nu­mer­ous shots of ac­tor Andy Serkis – who plays lead ape Cae­sar – cov­ered in green dots for the mo­tion cap­ture tech­nol­ogy that he’s so closely as­so­ci­ated with. This is also where the book’s only flaw be­comes ap­par­ent: Rise’s apes now look blurry and glassy-eyed com­pared to Dawn’s more re­al­is­ti­cally ren­dered pri­mates. Nonethe­less, this is an au­thor­i­ta­tive and in­sight­ful look at one of the more evolved block­busters of re­cent times.

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