Dawn of the Planet of the Apes | Exclusive Footage Screening
MTV discovers how monkey business really works…
On Tuesday night us media monkeys from MTV were lucky enough to be shown exclusive footage from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. In a secret Soho screening room we were presented with these scenes by the master of motion capture himself, Andy Serkis.
The actor who most famously brought Gollum to life described in glorious geeky detail the techniques VFX house WETA went through to bring the second installment of the rebooted monkey movie to the big screen as well as what we can expect from this much anticipated ape action adventure.
WARNING: What you are about to read contains more spoilers than a drag car race.
1. EXT. WOODS – DAY
Two chimpanzees returning to their monkey metropolis built high in the mountains bump into some humans. This is a slightly surprising as 95% of all humans have perished due to a “simian flu” pandemic. One of the humans – not so surprisingly - shoots dead one of the chimps causing a tense stand off between humans and a whole city of intelligent and cheesed off chimps. Caesar – the big dawg of the ape kingdom – tells the humans to “GO!” and not surprisingly they do, quickly, because the apes have spears, and can talk.
2. INT. APE CITY – DAY
Gathered in a sort of primate parliament, the apes plot revenge on the murderous humans. But Caesar, being the clever monkey that he is (even though he isn’t a monkey; he has no tail) tells the assembled apes that they shouldn’t be so quick to kick man's ass. Instead he tells the other apes through grunts, sign-language and rudimentary words that they should think about their “home, future (and) family.” The apes listen to Caesar even though they want simian revenge.
3. EXT. DERELICT CITY – DAY
Led by ape-hating Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) the humans take a peek out of their shattered windows to see thousands of apes have made an uninvited visit to their city. Expecting sh*t to get real, the humans prepare for war. However, in a twist, which reveals the intelligence of the apes, Caesar only returns a lost human satchel but instructs the beleaguered humans not to return to the woods again.
4. EXT. RIVER – DAY
A baby chimpanzee leaves its mother to go and explore Ellie (Keri Russell) in a touching scene that shows compassion between the humans and the apes.
5. EXT. HUMAN CAMP – DAY
Another scene touching upon the theme of compassion between humans and apes. A big ginger orangutan reads a comic book with a teenage human. Through LOLs both species find a connection.
6. EXT. GUARD POST / HUMAN CITY – DAY
Two human guards share a bottle of liquor. In waltzes a dancing chimpanzee who begs them for a slug on their bottle. They agree. Quickly the three are in high spirits. But… the tipsy chimp grabs one of their machine guns and lights up one of the guards. It’s a menacing scene!
These scenes come from a world ten years in the future (from the last, and very good movie, Rise of the Planet of the Apes.) It’s a bleak world for the humans, yet a dawning of civilization for the apes. From the scenes we saw – some shots still unfinished and some beautifully rendered creature shots – this installment of the franchise will focus on the theme of family and prejudice and as Serkis revealed that this film is really a “peace movie.”
Serkis also revealed the magic behind bringing these clever monkeys to life and how director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) wanted to use as much motion capture technology as possible so the apes and monkeys were not just CG digital doubles but instead were “digital extrapolations of the actors’ real performances.”
“Approach the character as a human is an ape’s skin,” is how Serkis described his character of Caesar who forms the “emotional backbone” of the movie. Serkis also said that he spent a lot of time at zoos just hanging out with monkeys to really get the mannerisms and actions down. He also studied a particularly famous ape (not Gareth Bale) but a chimp from the 70s called Oliver who was known as the “humanzee.”
Finally. Ever wondered what a chimpanzee would say if it could talk? “Fancy a shag!” That’s what! This primate factoid was supplied to us by two evolutionary scientists present at the evening who were happy that not one actual ape/monkey was used in the movie, just humans.
By Michael Currell @MTVUK
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is released in UK cinemas on 17th July.