Many of us here on the internet openly lament Hollywood’s fixation on sequels, prequels, remakes, and reboots as their creative crutches of choice. Implicit in our grumbles is the broad assumption that all of those recycling methods are inherently bad by definition. We’re sometimes quick to forget within the space of 140 characters, for the sake of the snarky punchline, that such vehicles don’t have to be all bad. Their success rate is disappointing, but it’s far from 0%.
Last weekend, six of the top ten films on the box office chart were sequels. One was a sequel and a sort-of relaunch; one a sequel to a spinoff; one a sequel to a remake; and two were just plain sequels. And then there was Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, a loose do-over of 1973’s Battle for the Planet of the Apes with the additions of one large MacGuffin and some expensive set pieces, any one of which probably cost five times Battle‘s miserly budget. Also, they smartly ditched the humans’ sci-fi B-movie costumes.
So Dawn is a sequel to a reboot and it’s a remake. Its pedigree is an anti-art hat trick. Somehow it’s also one of the best films of the summer.