Thursday, September 4, 2014

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Dawn of New Cinema

For my trailer review, I chose to analyze Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, a relatively new Science fiction/action film directed by Matt Reeves. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is the third installment of the 21st century Planet of the Apes series. While I would without question give the film a perfect review, my task is to review the trailer as an entirely separate entity.

To begin, the film features an extremely solid cast visible throughout the trailer, including Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, and star Gary Oldman. Although Gary Oldman does not play the lead roll, he is given a plethora of screen time throughout the trailer to appeal to the audience. He is recognized for such movies as The Dark Knight and Harry Potter, which were both hugely successful. His visibility appeals to the ethos of the audience, seeing as he is well liked and established. This increases the likelihood of viewers of the trailer to see the film. While Jason Clarke and Keri Russell are not as highly distinguished as Oldman, they still have credibility and success amongst the world of cinema. Perhaps the most famous cast member (who plays the main ape, Caesar) is Andy Serkis. Although you cannot see Andy Serkis in his human form, many people are well aware of his roll as Caesar due to his unique acting style and impressive filmography. Not only did he play Caesar in the prequel to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, but also Gollum in the Lord of the Rings/the Hobbit, and King Kong in King Kong. Serkis has such a devoted following and such a skilled acting style that he is a highly valuable asset in attracting viewers to any movie. As stated by The American Star System, “Audiences are far less concerned about the predicaments of a character who is played by someone they don’t know.”(Star System 266)

The most influential rhetorical device from this trailer is pathos. From the very beginning, the trailer appeals to emotions of the viewer. The sight of an overrun and abandoned city combined with an army of horse-riding, humanized apes evokes an immediate fear amongst the audience. The Apes wear expressions of hate on their faces, and wield fierce spear-like weapons. The generally gloomy terrain and overall lack of sunlight insinuates darkness and a sort of depressing emotion.

This trailer displays an amazing use of sound selection. As stated by filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, “Cinematic sound does not simply add to, but multiplies, two or three times, the effect of the image”(Everything’s an Argument 201). The music begins as a soft yet suspenseful piano, and then progresses to a loud, dramatic orchestra. Perhaps the most effective part of using the music is when it quiets, or actually ceases. In the absence of music comes extremely emotional dialogue that we are more inclined to focus on. The dialogue in the trailer takes the viewer on an emotional rollercoaster. Caesar said one of the most important lines of the trailer when the music ceased: “Apes do not want war”. This line sets the stage for the trailer and proves to be ironic due to the recurring theme of war throughout the trailer.

The Special affects are also vital to the success of this trailer. The CGI (computer generated image) makes the apes look completely legitimate. The fact that the apes appear real inclines viewers toward the movie because they are more apt to feel emotions. The war scenes also display extremely advanced special affects, from the explosions to the movement of the apes. Exceptional special effects are a main attraction for many movie viewers.

One of the most intriguing elements of the trailer is the relationship between the humans and the apes. As a whole, it is made visible the negative relationship between human and ape via controversial dialogue and continued fighting. There is, however, and unique relationship revealed between an ape, Caesar, and a human. This relationship previews a conflict likely to be pivotal to the movie. As a viewer, this aspect of the trailer truly fascinated me. I earned to know more about this relationship and how it might evolve, or resolve. I indeed, however, faced an internal conflict when seeing this trailer. I found myself hoping the apes would win as opposed to humans. The trailer emotionally connects the audience to both Caesar and the humans, further investing in its’ viewers emotions. The preview of this relationship is key in distinguishing the movie as one of great substance as opposed to solely a movie about war.

Overall, I would give this trailer five out of five pickles. From the cast, to the scene selection, to the exceptional use of sound and special effects, I was unable to find anything negative about this trailer. In the trailer I did not find logos to be present in appealing to the viewer. However, I do not think this retracted from the trailer in any way as other rhetorical devices carried the burden. Primarily, the use of pathos was pivotal to my interest in the film. The trailer also revealed the perfect amount of conflict to peak viewer interest. I would definitely attend this movie after seeing the trailer.

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