Set a decade after the deadly ‘Simian flu’ pandemic, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes finds Ceasar (Andy Serkis) as the leader of a new breed of genetically advanced apes, who, after a long time, have made contact with group of human survivors struggling to get energy to keep living. This situation creates a conflict between Ceasar and his loyal mate, Koba, who hates mankind after being a test subject for many years. Read our full review of the film here.
The Blu-ray release includes an extensive look behind the scenes of the film, with stunning special features like “The Journey to the Dawn”, where motion-capture legend, Andy Serkis, alongside director, Matt Reeves, talks about extending digital techniques to new boundaries, and the public reception of this new take on the iconic saga, which puts the audience into the apes’ shoes. Moreover, it’s amazing to see director’s obsession with the Planet of the Apes franchise from a young age, and how much attention to detail he adds to the film by working on a powerful premise: Who are the animals: the humans or the apes?
Andy Serkis deserves his own special feature, and that is included on “Rediscovering Caesar”, where this master of motion capture explains the technique involved in bringing emotion out in characters, and how he wanted Caesar to evolve into a character who wants peace, and to pass on knowledge to his tribe. Serkis’s influence on set is also presented, as his motion capture co-stars explain the importance of his guidance, and what it’s like to see him in action, learning mostly by observation.
“Humans and Apes”, gives us an inside look at the actual cast of the film, and how happy director Matt Reeves was when he got Jason Clarke to play the lead human, alongside the great Gary Oldman, and Keri Russell. We also learn the joy he felt, witnessing the great performance by Toby Kebbel in the role of ape human hater, Koba.
“World of Dawn” takes us to the locations in which the film was shot, and the challenge of shooting motion capture in a complex natural environment, with natural light, rain and mud. In addition, each scene was filmed three times to facilitate the motion capture process in post-production.
If you look at Caesar’s home, which the crew named the “Ape Mountain”, you may be surprised to learn that the set was actually fully built, with real wood and materials, in order to bring reality to a brand new level. Moreover, the human bunker was also fully made and took place in the business district of New Orleans.
The extra features also give us a more philosophical look at how the ape society was created as a community model, like a village with water resources and the interactions between its inhabitants.
One of the most exciting features is “Moving like Apes”, in which we see an “Ape School” for actors, under the direction of stunt coordinator, Terry Notary, who really did a truly amazing job of teaching all the actors how to move, walk and stand like different kind of apes featured on the film.
The final special feature takes us to the marvellous land of WETA, the famous company from New Zealand that has been blowing us away for many years, providing effects for films such as Avatar and The Lord of The Rings. This time, WETA show us how they outdid themselves: how every single tiny detail counted and how important for them and the production it was to bring as much of the emotion from the actors into the digital masks. It’s also truly mind-blowing to know that the only virtual scenarios filmed for the movie were the last scenes at the half-built skyscraper, a decision made 100% for security reasons.
The Blu-ray release is nicely completed by deleted scenes, trailers and audio commentaries, making this home entertainment release a must own, in order to get behind the camera and explore the stunning Planet of The Ape universe.
Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is available now on DVD and Blu-ray