Gonna Be Aces

It’s thrilling that the Ape prequels, based on a mostly low-rent franchise that ran from the late ’60s through the mid ’70s, are turning out to be visionary grade-A entertainments in the classic mold. The reason that Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is going to turn out well, I suspect, is because of director Matt Reeves, who did a bang-up job with 2010′s Let Me In, a remake of Let The Right One In.

  • Carl LaFong

    So now the overpriced fake IMAX screens are being marketed as “Premium Large Format Theaters”.

    • brenkilco

      Hey, they’re large. And they charge a premium. Seems accurate enough to me.

      • pizan܍amore


        Let’s just call them FAUXMAX.

    • Michael DeGregorio

      I understand your irritation with the smaller Imax screens, but they aren’t “fake”. I work at a large theatre in Charotte, North Carolina (21 screens and Imax) and I can tell you that Imax ( the company) is very serious about them. The screens were put in by Imax techs, the projectors (two christie projectors retrofitted by imax) were installed by Imax techs and they are the only ones allowed to work on them. If there is a problem with the system, we have to call Imax and they fly in a tech to work on the system. It is certified and maintained by Imax. We are completely digital now so all the films come in on hard drives and must be ingested into the TMS mainframe. All except Imax. Imax drives come in and must be ingested into the Imax system directly. The films that play in Imax are mastered by Imax to play in 1;90:1 aspect ratio. The sound system was installed and maintained by Imax as well. It’s not the six-story high domed screened Imax (there is one downtown at Discovery Place — a science center) but I assure you, it IS an Imax system. They have been called FauxMax, LieMax and any number of things, but they were designed and certified by Imax. The other large format theaters they are talking about are NOT Imax. Regal has the RPX, which stands for “Regal Premium Experience” which is a single projector system that uses a screen about the same size as the Digital Imax screens but the image is not quite as clear because it’s still just 1 projector. Caramike and a couple other chains use the XD system which again is a digital Imax sized screen but uses only 1 projector as well. They all use about the same kind of sound set-up though, so they are LOUD. Interesting enough (to me anyway) when our theater had the Imax installed, Imax also installed all new seats and their own kind of Stadium seating set-up. Don’t know if anyone cares about this, but thought I would type it out for those who do.

      • brenkilco

        Granted that IMAX installs and services these systems. But its still a scam. IMAX was originally a brand name for vistavision type horizontal projection of 70mm film with a frame size something like 8 times that of conventional 35mm. The image was stunning. Now the company has attached its name to a system of projection by tandem 2k projectors generating an image somewhat larger but scarcely sharper than ordinary digital. I’ll say it again . It’s a scam.

      • Carl LaFong

        IMAX can slap their name on whatever they feel like, but you and I know that that their dinky 1.90:1 mall/multiplex wannabes are NOT the same as the gigantic 70mm celluloid monster screens. It was a disingenuous cash-grab, and far too many people paying for “The IMAX Experience” have never seen the real thing to compare.

        The term “Premium Large Format Theaters” is a clever catch-all for the competing new exhibition methods.

        • Michael DeGregorio

          Agree completely with everything you said. The smaller digital Imax was installed at my theater in 2009, they also put one into a competitors theater in early 2010 and yet another one in early 2012. The original 70mm Imax that is downtown at Discovery Place used to play the big film released in Imax. I saw Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and The Dark Knight there. The last actual feature they played was The Dark Knight Rises. Since then, they only play the nature docs and that kind of thing. Nothing over 35-50 minutes long. I don’t know for sure, but I assume they were forced to stop with the full features to force people to come to the smaller digital Imax if they want “The Imax Experience”. What is really stupid is that the “real” 6 story high 70mm Imax ticket price was 15.00. At the smaller digital Imax locations, the ticket price is 17.00. 2 bucks higher for a smaller screen.

          • Carl LaFong

            And don’t forget, 70mm IMAX has significantly more of Jeff’s precious headroom due to the “boxier is better” aspect ratio.

  • http://2012diaries.blogspot.com/ tristan eldritch

    Cool. Reeves has a nice, Fincher-esque sheen to his work.

  • MarkVH

    Looks great, though I see we still have to contend with that post-Dark Knight reality where every blockbuster trailer is cut and scored to look SUPER DUPER SERIOUS.

    • NephewOfAnarchy

      I agree, the “important seriousness” of this trailer is almost at self parody levels. I liked the first one and all, but jeez, its a fuckin’ Planet of the apes movie here. Just show the monkeys attacking stuff already.

  • bentrane

    Cannot. Fucking. Wait.

  • Correcting Jeff

    Finally caught the Franco Apes a few months ago… as pretty much everyone has noted, it’s surprisingly good. Stupid in parts– no pharma executive *anywhere* would be that dense– but effective elsewhere (all things Serkis).

    None of this is exactly high art, but my bar is low for genre: I don’t need enlightenment, I just want to be entertained without being insulted. Is that too much to ask?

    • MarkVH

      Agreed on all counts. Dumbest thing for me was Franco asking Caesar to come home with him at the end. Yeah, ok, it elicited the “Caesar is home” line, but let’s be honest – the ape just IGNITED A REVOLUTION AGAINST HUMANITY and caused the deaths of multiple people. Did he REALLY think he was gonna just come back and be his f’ing pet? Dumb.

      • Clockwork Taxi

        Obviously you’ve never owned a cat. My cat starts revolutions every day and is welcome home every night.

        • Correcting Jeff


  • Reverent and free

    Let Me In was one of the most effective classically shot, atmospheric supernatural thrillers of the decade. I just hope that Reeve’s shaky cam Cloverfield style doesn’t reemerge in battle scenes.

    • JeffMc2000

      In fairness to reeves, Cloverfield’s shaley-cam was kind of necessitated by the conceit of the whole movie.

  • Clockwork Taxi

    Someone pissed in that Ape’s Cheerios. Would it kill a Simian to crack a smile?

  • hupto

    So to recap: Charlton Heston, Maurice Evans, Kim Hunter, Roddy McDowall, James Whitmore, Rod Serling, Michael Wlison, Pierre Boulle, Jerry Goldsmith, Leon Shamroy, John Chambers, Arthur Jacobs, Franklin Schaffner.

    Yeah, all those folks just SCREAM “low-rent.”

    • Jeff Unchained

      Well said, Shemp…

    • http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com/ Jeffrey Wells

      I said “mostly” low-rent, meaning that the original was fine but the sequels were cheapies.

  • Brad

    Was I the only person who thought Reeves’ choices on ‘Let Me In’ were one-note and facile? Look, I didn’t go into that film as a die-hard fan of the first film, but there’s a clear difference between an artist with command of his craft and the ability to make varied choices AND an OK filmmaker unable to offer anything in the way of emotional complication.

    If anyone wants to know the key differences between the two films, you only have to look at the two versions of the kid hitting the bully. In the original film, the sequence is emotionally complicated and even challenging. In the original scene, Alfredson gives us this eerie, completely unexpected reversal: a teacher comforts the bloodied child, and then the director cuts to a close up of Oskar smiling. It’s a genuinely chilling moment and challenges our own sympathy towards the protagonist. Johan Söderqvist’s score also has a haunting, almost-mythic quality, creating added unease about Oskar’s action.

    What does Reeves have up his sleeve in his take? Well, Michael Giacchino hits us over the head with a lame violin-filled score that serves the tension of the discovery of the dead body; Reeves films the confrontation completely in static medium close-up/reversal (a super-boring choice compared to the way in which Alfredson mixes the composition up slightly); Owen drops the stick immediately, telling us that “don’t worry, he’s sorry and sympathetic and remorseful and sympathetic”. And Reeves shoots the protagonist left-tor-right, the opposite of Alfredson’s composition.

    Don’t get me wrong: there is nothing “bad” or technically incompetent about Reeves’ filmmaking or that of his co-workers. There is just nothing very interesting about the sequence, either. I don’t know how anyone could compare both scenes and see anything distinct or interesting about the Reeves film. Alfredson’s filmmaking challenges you; Reeves’ comforts you and a lot.

    That’s “classically shot”? Gee, I didn’t know that “classically shot” was a synonym for boring as hell. People were so grateful that he didn’t make a terrible film that they give him pass marks for mere adequacy.