One year after the events of The Purge, The Purge: Anarchy begins. The movie follows three groups of individuals: a separating couple(Zach Gilford and Kiele Sanchez), a mother and daughter(Carmen Ejogo and Zoe Soul), and a heart-stricken father(Frank Grillo). Grillo is ready to purge and is out for vengeance when he stumbles across the other four characters needing rescue. He has to hold off on his mission to save this group of unfortunate people. They aren’t only trying to survive the civilians purging, but another group is purging as well. The group of five is forced to trust one another on a night when no one can be trusted.
The Purge: Anarchy is the sequel to the harshly criticized original, The Purge. The original had a great premise and unique story, but fell short with the backstory and the ending. The Purge: Anarchy had to step it up so it wouldn’t fall in the same footsteps as it’s previous installment, but it once again just wasn’t enough to set it apart from any other thriller. Some of the characters were amazing, Sergeant (Frank Grillo) and Cali (Zoe Soul) had a great connection throughout the entire movie. On the other hand, every other character seemed like fill ins. Other bodies to be brutally killed without the slightest of care. “Anarchy” did a better job of telling the backstory than the original, but it felt forced through the unknown group opposing the NFFA led by Carmelo (Michael Williams). The ending was rushed, but satisfying for the characters that survived. There were great action sequences throughout, especially with Frank Grillo at the helm. The movie’s tone was felt the entire way, and the moral of the story was accurately portrayed at the end.
This movie was fun to watch and very entertaining, but it felt like it needed more. The characters were predictable and not cared for, except for Sergeant (Frank Grillo). The story fell backseat to the action sequences, even though the last shootout was pretty impressive. A greater budget, but only a slight improvement over the original.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes takes place ten years after the first and much has changed. Caesar (played by Andy Serkis) returns as the ape leader in an even better performance than the original with the support of his returning ape friends, Maurice and Koba. Caesar now has a family, including his rebellious son Blue Eyes, his wife, and newborn son. Caesar’s companion, Will Rodman (played by James Franco) has died, which introduces the new cast. Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, Gary Oldman, and many more amazing new characters that are trying to survive in the rundown city of San Francisco. The Apes are growing in numbers and strength, while the majority of humans are either dead from the simian flu or from fatal violence against one another. Caesar is now in charge of the apes and only wants what’s best for his kind, but Koba, Caesar’s right hand man, has other ideas. When the humans and apes try to work together Koba ruins every chance for peace through violence. A war between apes and humans is inevitable and nothing can stop what is to come, not even Caesar.
This movie hits in all the right places. The visuals are astounding. The contrast from the lush green forests and the dilapidated San Francisco makes for a great setting, and the way it’s filmed cannot be understated. The way in which the intense battle sequences are filmed set this movie apart from almost every other action blockbuster. In one sequence the camera is rotated an entire 360 degrees revealing the destruction of humans and apes at war, making for the most dramatic scene in the entire movie. The CGI integration is seamless, especially when so many apes appear at once alongside humans. The loss of James Franco doesn’t even phase this cast – every character has a purpose and it shows on-screen. The beautiful script is heard not only with the human cast, but the apes as well. They speak less, but do when necessary, and it is breathtaking just as it was in the first film.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes surpasses it’s predecessor, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, in every way. The characters, the cinematography, and plot are all impressively intriguing. This is the best blockbuster of the year, and great fun for the entire family. The only downfall is that this movie isn’t an IMAX 3D Experience.