Simian cinema

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Starring Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell; directed by
Matt Reeves

This week’s review is written by Caesar, an ape critic who can amazingly utter rudimentary English (as opposed to French, or Portuguese, or Swahili) with some helpful translation:


“Grunt akkk humans uhhh ahh most dead”
Translation: Humans are mostly wiped out by a plague or virus or something from the first rebooted Planet of the Apes film so the apes, which include chimps, gorillas and orangutans and which populate northern California, are allowed to roam free and develop a rudimentary society complete with housing, hunting and trees equipped with rungs like zoo cage jungle gyms so they can gracefully, effectively and helpfully transport themselves quickly through the northern California forest as if traveling in cars along a highway.

“Bark snort Caesar kaaa kaaa talk ooo and us too”

Translation: When we left the last film, only Caesar, the chimp used in Alzheimer drug experiments, developed the ability to speak, but here it turns out that lots of apes can speak, oh and use sign language. Now how did that happen?

Jason Clarke in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
© 2014 - Twentieth Century Fox

“Ooo ooo Earth ahh take over ahhk”

Translation: The look of the film is impressive; it depicts cities and man-made facilities as they would look if humans were no longer around to maintain and manage them, which means that nature has taken over and is consuming buildings, dams, statues, power plants, etc. It’s as if the nonfiction book “The World Without Us,” which describes such a world in meticulous and expansive detail, has been made into a movie. And here I thought this was a Planet of the Apes film.

“Shrieeeek take your huffff aaaa reboot off caaa caaa movie chimps”

Translation: “Take your stinking reboots off us, you damn greedy filmmakers!”

“Akkk humans uuunnk fear ookk apes ooo aaa and us”

Translation: The leftover surviving humans encounter the tribe of apes while looking for hydro power to supply the needs of those remaining in San Francisco. Of course, each fears the other and tensions, misunderstandings and mishaps mount. Gee, I wonder who will evolve to dominate in this upside-down dystopian future world? (Hint/spoiler: Remember it’s a Planet of the Apes reboot)

“Snoort uuung bad man ooo ooo ahhh ahh bad ape”

Translation: Just to make sure that confusion and distrust reigns, there is a hair-trigger human and a hair-(hirsute!)-trigger ape who each cannot stomach peaceful relations with their simians and sapiens adversaries. That keeps things predictably volatile under the dramaturgic code: money see monkey films, money do monkey films.

“Ggggr arrfff madhouse aaaa aaa ah madhouse”

Translation: The original Planet of the Apes series was about our inhumane treatment of animals, our arrogance, and how we have become disconnected with our origins and learning to tame the beasts within us. This rebooted outing focuses on the battle between taking a compassionate response to the foreign “other” versus a more combative one. The result: It’s a madhouse, a madhouse!

“Aackkk oohh ohh ahh reboot aackk hell”

Translation: After you leave the theater, you could find yourself falling to your knees to the sidewalk saying: “Oh my God. It’s back. It’s done. All the time, it was... They finally really did it. You maniacs! You redid it again! Damn you! God damn you all to hell!”

Doug Young oohh oohh writes film reviews ahh for The Colorado-oo-oo Statesman.