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
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.