Dawn and Rise of the Planet of the Apes: The Art of the Films Book Review
Matt Reeves’ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is now in theaters, which is the sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and takes place ten years after the end of the first film. The movie is spectacular to say the least, and features a highly engaging narrative that will make you look past the apes on screen and get lost in the everyday themes the plot touches on.
To supplement the release of the theatrical films, Titan Books has created a beautifully detailed art book for both of the rebooted Apes movies called Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of Planet of the Apes: The Art of the Films. This 11 15/16” x 10 6/8” hardback behemoth features high-quality glossy paper sporting production notes and art assets from both Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. It also features an enlightening forward by the director of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Matt Reeves, who gives his background and why he was so thrilled to take on the challenge of shooting the sequel.
The book features 176 pages of behind-the-scenes art assets, production photos, and cast and crew interviews to detail the movie making processes used in both films. There are three chapters in total with the first being dedicated to Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ production. The second is a short look at the virus epidemic that nearly wipes out the human race before the events of the sequel, and the third chapter breaks down Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ production. Within each chapter there are sections that break up the major acts in the films, so in the Rise chapter it follows the shoot from the opening scene until the last, which is the same format used in the Dawn of the Planet of the Apes section.
This format really allows you to get an inside look at the painstakingly difficult processes required to bring films of this nature to the silver screen, and it sheds light on some of the key decisions that were made during shooting that altered the final film. For example, at the end of the first film Will (James Franco) was supposed to die protecting Caesar from a bullet, but based on negative test screenings, the writers had to change the ending just a few weeks before the film’s release. There are also pages and pages of notes and dialogue on the extensive mo-cap process used to turn the likes of Andy Serkis into a fully digital ape, which is such a major part of these films, because if the apes looked like Jar-Jar Binks, the first film would’ve failed and the second would have never been made.
The content featured in Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of Planet of the Apes: The Art of the Films is fantastic for fans looking to learn more about the films, but it’s the build quality of the book that really makes the content stand out. The massive size gives it a collectible feel, and makes it perfectly suited for a coffee table. The cover features a textured design supplemented by a smooth shot of Caesar and his thought-filled eyes. The pages are nice and thick with a touch of gloss to really make the images pop. A few sections offer luscious looking two-page wide art assets from both films’ productions that give fans a look at the genesis point for most of the major scenes of the films, and how the artists first envisioned them. This art book doesn’t feel cheap whatsoever, and that is realized the moment you take it out of its protective plastic wrapper. This is definitely an art book that you will want to wrap your hands around and start feasting your eyes on its exquisite art assets and build quality.
If you’re a fan of the Planet of the Apes franchise, or just a fan of the reboots, then you will definitely enjoy Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of Planet of the Apes: The Art of the Films. It will make a great addition to your coffee table or film library thanks to its high polish and construction, as well as the great notes and details on the filming process for both movies. You can order a copy from Amazon for the discounted price of $26.49, which is a steal for an art book of this quality and nature.
Make sure to check out our review of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, because like the art book, this isn’t an entertainment experience you should pass up.
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Review Statement: The author of this review was given a copy of the book from the publisher for the purposes of this review.