Caesar from 2011's Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes is back with Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes. The second part of this prequel series has him as the leader of a large community of apes, living in the forests outside of San Francisco. But with a pandemic having wiped out much of humanity, their last gasp at survival puts mankind at odds with apekind.
Our theatrical review will weigh in on whether or not this new release is worth your time, while this column will focus solely on the film's use of 3D. Considering seven separate categories, To 3D Or Not To 3D evaluates the full scope of the 3D viewing experience. Think of it as a consumer's guide for your movie-going, complete with a viewers poll where you can weigh in on how you plan to see Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes.
I've seen nearly every Planet of The Apes movie, and this one has more spectacle than any I can recall. From sweeping scenes of ape armies attacking, to explosions, and sky-high showdowns, there is plenty of opportunity for 3D to add some extra pizzazz.
Planning & Effort Score
As you probably know, much of Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes' apes are CGI creations, based on motion-capture performances. This means their composition layers would have been easy to isolate in post, and manipulate within the 3D look. Notably, director Matt Reeves not only took advantage of the CG, but also shot in native 3D, all the better to capture the true depth and richness of his various exterior locations in the rainforests of British Colombia.
Before the Window Score
This is the element of 3D where the things on screen seem to be coming at you. And Reeves and his team take pretty full advantage. Rain appears to flutter out into the audience, while apes lunge forth, guns point menacingly right to camera (and us), and explosions and debris flew out enough that I caught myself blinking defensively. Basically, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes' Before The Window throws the action out at you.
Beyond the Window Score
Conversely, this element of 3D is where the world of the film seems to reach deep beyond the screen. Reeves was very mindful of his compositions for this category, offering not just shots that reveal long stretches of untamed forest or ruined streets of San Francisco, but also one that peer up and down. We're given glimpses of apes and they tear through the trees at dizzying heights. We follow them to the top of the Golden Gate Bridge that looks down on the ruins of San Fran. And in the tower-set climax, the 3D intensifies a tumultuous final battle.
3D glasses can dim the image to the point of distraction if the 3D print doesn't compensate accordingly. With all the clear attention put to Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes's 3D, it wasn't going to snared in that damned dirty trap.
Glasses Off Score
The most rudimentary way to see how much 3D you're getting in a given scene is to remove your glasses and observe the blur. Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes scored high in this test, offering long shots, establishing shots and complex compositions that made noticeable use of 3D. However, as Matt Reeves has a predilection for close-ups, there are swaths of the movie where there's little room for noteworthy 3D.
Audience Health Score
Bad 3D can actually be bad for you, causing nausea, eyestrain and headaches. Though I blinked at some of the in-your-face uses of 3D in Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, that was more a part of fun of the ride than it was a problem.
3D SCORES RECAP
P & E
Before The Window
Beyond The Window
Glasses Off Test
Final Verdict: The verdict should be pretty clear. If you're aching to see Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, you really should spring for the 3D ticket. Matt Reeves shot in 3D, with 3D in mind, and it shows. The awe-inspiring landscapes he captured have an enhanced depth, adding to their majesty. The wild action sequences will lash out at you. And the careful considerations of how to use 3D didn't force me to squint or bring on any adverse side effects. Overall, the 3D definitely adds to the experience here.
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Staff writer at CinemaBlend.
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