One of my favorite shots in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes involves an ape taking control of a tank and running amuck in post apocalyptic San Francisco. Its great because of the way its presented — the sequence appears to be a single shot mounted from the back of the tank turret. During my conversation with director Matt Reeves, he talked a bit about the frustrating long process of waiting over a year to finally see the final vision realized through completely rendered visual effects. My favorite shot turns out was the most difficult shot to complete, taking a whopping 1030 iterations from the vfx wizards at WETA before Reeves signed off. Read about what went into a single “shot” of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, after the jump.
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You will emerge from viewing Dawn of the Planet of the Apes amazed at the motion capture performance by Andy Serkis. Sure, you’ve seen him do Gollum in Lord of the Rings and even Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but Dawn takes the work to an entirely new level. Recently some people in the computer animation and effects space have gotten angry over comments from Serkis that WETA is just “painting digital makeup onto actors’ performances.” Many have felt that minimizes the work of many talented visual effects artists. I didn’t get a chance to talk to the actor, but I was able to chat with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves about the Andy Serkis digital make-up controversy.
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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is out in theaters this weekend (click here to see our site’s coverage of it thus far), and you should go see it. It’s a tense, action-packed meditation on the intractability of tribalism, a summer blockbuster that actually has characters you care about and a story that will make you think. Beyond this, there were countless epic, transcendent moments throughout. Dawn may have been my favorite film of 2014 thus far.
But one moment in the film struck me as particularly powerful. Find out what it was after the jump. Very minor spoilers follow. Read More »
While you’re watching Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, you won’t suspect anything unusual about the way the film was made. But some scenes were shot with actors performing their roles more than 1,000 miles away from each other while director Matt Reeves directed over Skype, from 6,328 miles away. Reeves reveals to me that he directed sequences using Skype video conferencing with Andy Serkis performing Caesar in his performance capture studio in London while Jason Clarke interacted with the ape from a hotel room in Rome. Find out more about the Dawn of the Planet of the Apes skype filming, after the jump.
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When two popular filmmakers hop on Reddit together, anything can happen. And lots did happen Wednesday night when Matt Reeves and Michael Giacchino did a simultaneous AMA to promote the excellent Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
First up, the director dropped some super-interesting information about the making of the film and how he plans on working toward the 1968 original. Later, he got Giacchino to confirm he’ll be back for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 2, or whatever it’ll be called. Both said they’d love to do a Star Wars movie (as long as they could do it together), and talked about future projects like The Invisible Woman and Jurassic World, the work load possible for a composer and so much more. It was a lively, interactive AMA and we’ve got some of the highlights below. Read More »
One of the interesting bits of trivia I learned while talking to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves was that the first movie he made was a Planet of the Apes/Star Wars mash-up called Galactic Battles. Find out more about that long lost film and how it feels for two childhood friends (Reeves and JJ Abrams) who geeked out as teenagers over Star Wars and Planet of the Apes to be in charge of making new films in those franchises.
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Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a big success, and 20th Century Fox wanted a sequel in theaters for May 2014. Rise director Rupert Wyatt didn’t feel that would give him enough time to make the film properly and dropped out late in the development process, only a couple months before shooting was scheduled to begin. Cloverfield/Let Me In director Matt Reeves was quickly hired to replace Wyatt. But before Reeves signed on, Fox was looking to make a much different film.
“When I first arrived, [Fox] pitched me the story they were gonna do and I thought I wasn’t gonna do the film,” Reeves told me in an exclusive interview. “I wasn’t gonna do the film because it was a story that I didn’t quite connect to.”
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was originally developed to be a very different movie, and production was set to begin in a matter of only a handful of weeks. Find out the story of how Matt Reeves completely reworked the Dawn of the Planet of the Apes story from the ground up, forming one of the greatest opening sequences you’ll see this year.
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More so than pretty much any movie this summer, you’re going to walk out of Matt Reeves‘ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and think, “How the HECK did they do that?” The combination of technical expertise mixed with dramatic artistry is absolutely magnificent and, somehow, a huge step up from the already-impressive Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Mix those elements with a complex, emotional story of acceptance, family and prejudice, add in a ton of huge action, and you’ve got one of the best films of the summer.
As for that question of “How,” author Matt Hurwitz has your answers in the new book Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of Planet of the Apes: The Art of the Films. Out July 8, it’s filled with concept art and behind the scenes images from both films and, below, we’ve got some exclusive early glimpses. Check out the Rise and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes concept art below. Read More »