"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" uses advanced imaging tech to imagine an apocalyptic future--with a

Posted:
in iPad edited June 2014
In what is certain to be one of the biggest blockbusters of the year, "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" portrays two parallel societies grappling with fears, violence, betrayal and cross-cultural empathy, with a particularly poignant scene portraying a battered iPad (albeit running iOS 6).



The second film in the modern retelling of the cult classic series, "Dawn" portrays a dystopian future where humans struggle for survival as they also clash with an advanced evolutionary adaptation of highly intelligent apes.

It's set in a feral and crumbling future version of San Francisco, imagined into reality by Weta Digital, the visual effects team that also helped breathe immersive realism into a host of mythological characters in Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" movies as well as the simian characters of 2011's "Rise of the Planet of the Apes."

Last summer at WWDC 2013, The Foundry demonstrated MARI, its 3D modeling software, and announced plans to port the advanced software (which originated at Weta) to Apple's OS X to take advantage of new Mac Pro hardware.

Matt Reeves, the director of Weta's latest "Dawn" production, joined Weta's Joe Letteri and Dan Lemmon along with the new movie's cast members Andy Serkis, Keri Russell, Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke and Terry Notary in addressing questions about the production after a special media screening. The film opens on July 11.

An iPad offers a gripping performance

At one point in the movie, "Dreyfus," a bereaved widower thrust into a leadership role, played by Gary Oldman, recovers the use of an iPad. Once charged, it pulls up a series of photos portraying the family members he lost in the viral outbreak and chaotic warfare that establish the bleak setting of the film.

Incidentally, it wasn't just Oldman's character on screen that interacts with iOS. In front of the media, Oldman (along with other cast members) took out an iPhone 5s and placed it on the table, face down and Apple logo up, during the question and answer session.

Oldman has famously appeared in advertisements for the Android-based HTC M8 phone, telling TV audiences (literally) "blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah" before adding, "It doesn't matter what I say, because the new HTC is designed for people who form their own opinions. So go on then, ask the Internet."

.@GaryOldman says to ask the Internet about whether to get an #HTC One but brought his black iPhone 5s and laid it on the table logo side up

-- Daniel Eran Dilger (@DanielEran)


The apparent inability of HTC's endorsement dollars (reportedly in the millions) to "form" Oldman's own opinion on the most desirable smartphone was embarrassingly similar to a series of parallel situations involving Samsung, where various athletes and celebrities have dropped sponsored Android devices for an iPhone shortly after getting paid.

On the big screen, the emotionally charged, tear jerking scene where Oldman flips through family photos on an iPad might also raise eyebrows among certain tech nerds who are aware that just a few months after Apple released iOS 7 last fall, more than 89 percent of all Apple devices had applied the update.

iOS 7 is readily apparent because it replaces iOS' bevels and drop shadows that first debuted on the original iPhone in 2007 with a clean new look featuring Jony Ive's design themes of "deference, clarity and depth."

Set at least a decade into the future, the appearance of iOS 6 in the new film seems oddly out of place, but of course production of the film began long before the update was released and then rapidly adopted by users in the real world. Set at least a decade into the future, the appearance of iOS 6 in the new film seems oddly out of place

The subtle anachronism of iOS 6 springs from the screen (well, at least for some of us techies) because everything else in the movie, from apes riding on horseback to spectacular battle scenes to the touching interactions visible in the often unspoken communication between characters--many of which are digitally fabricated--are all presented with such immersive and convincing reality that there's little else to distract from one's suspension of disbelief throughout the visually stunning and emotionally gripping blockbuster.

At the media event, AppleInsider was on hand to poise a question to the cast members, and so jumped to ask if they felt challenged to present their characters--members of a society that have been hanging on to a fragile existence in a tattered society for several years--while at the same time appearing beautiful and wearing sharp looking (and freshly laundered) clothing.

Every one of the A-List actors extemporaneously delivered a considered take on how they approached their roles, noting, for example, that one of the themes of the movie explored the efforts by both human and ape societies to "create a culture," with cleanliness being an important part of their efforts to create a viable civilization.

Equally impressive to the acting talent is the engineering work by Weta that embellished scenes with both synthetic characters and--in many cases--seamlessly "blended" portrayals which digitally stitched together performances by actors and their stunt doubles in a boundary-pushing new technical frontier of sophisticated film editing.

Director Matt Reeves detailed how filming the work required multiple passes, including a "plate" reshoot that films the background without actors, along with reference and clean passes to enable subsequent editing to include additional creatures and a transformation of the San Francisco setting.

At one point, Reeves noted that the footage captured over a year of working on various shots built up toward "a huge leap of faith," at times creating challenges where he "wasn't sure if the movie was going to work."

Weta technology provided advanced solutions to artistic problems, adapting what was formerly considered simple "motion capture" into modern "motion performance," where the emotionally expressive facial cues and body movements of an actor are mapped onto the design of a fictional character and reflected in their very different physical structure, right down to the hairs making up the apes' fur.

As Weta's Letteri noted, the new movie is "by far the most challenging performance capture we've ever done." Audiences will have an opportunity to experience the new film the weekend after next when it opens in the U.S. on July 11.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 52
    kandydkandyd Posts: 1member
    The original Planet of the Apes was released in 2011. Assuming it took place contemporaneously, and since society ends at the end of the movie, the question isn't why the iPad didn't have iOS 7, it's why it didn't have iOS 5.
  • Reply 2 of 52
    froodfrood Posts: 771member
    A movie has an iPad in it. Slow news day?
  • Reply 3 of 52
    Because a movie that has an Apple product on screen for a couple of minutes is worth a 20 paragraph report.

    Welcome to the world of Daniel Eran Dilger....
  • Reply 4 of 52
    vaporlandvaporland Posts: 358member
    The film obviously takes place in an alternate reality timeline where iOS was decimated by the withering onslaught of Android's commercial and technical success.

    No doubt this rip in the fabric of spacetime was caused by [URL=http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Titor]John Titor's transit through our world[/URL] during his [URL=http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread314015/pg1]quest for the elusive IBM 5100[/URL], required to fix the [URL=http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_2038_problem]infamous UNIX time bug. [/URL]
  • Reply 5 of 52
    [COLOR=blue]Wow! A world where even the apes are intelligent. Obviously the Tea Party no longer exists![/COLOR]
  • Reply 6 of 52
    banyanjdbanyanjd Posts: 10member
    Actually it has been given a RAVE from the notoriously adult Hollywood Reporter film review. http://m.hollywoodreporter.com/v/MovieReviews/dawnPlanetApes30
  • Reply 7 of 52
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,499member
    How much was DED or AI paid for this advertisement?
  • Reply 8 of 52
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,719member
    It depends when the world fell into anarchy. iOS 6 could be the last update prior the fall of civilization.
  • Reply 9 of 52
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,499member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jungmark View Post



    It depends when the world fell into anarchy. iOS 6 could be the last update prior the fall of civilization.

     

    Considering we're already on iOS 7, that's a problem.

  • Reply 10 of 52

    Why would Gary Oldman use an HTC One M8? It doesn't make sense.

     

     

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jungmark View Post



    It depends when the world fell into anarchy. iOS 6 could be the last update prior the fall of civilization.

     

    More likely, it was the last update prior to the end of production. ;) 

  • Reply 11 of 52
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member

    Couldn't they have used digital effects to replace the iOS 6 screenshots with iOS 7?

  • Reply 12 of 52

    I was thinking of going to see this, as I like Gary Oldman, but they just had to louse it up with "Brief Strong Language". I'm sure it made them feel very adult when they did that.

  • Reply 13 of 52
    correctionscorrections Posts: 1,410member
    When
    frood wrote: »
    A movie has an iPad in it. Slow news day?

    When you parrot off cliche troll lines like "slow news day" on a Saturday, is it an unintentional joke at your own expense or is there some other explanation?
  • Reply 14 of 52
    correctionscorrections Posts: 1,410member
    How much was DED or AI paid for this advertisement?
    .

    Nobody was paid anything. Do you really think a movie studio would pay an Apple blog to write an article about their movie?

    That's quite naive. Or perhaps just another example of you rushing to comment when you have nothing to say.
  • Reply 15 of 52
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Corrections View Post





    .



    Nobody was paid anything. Do you really think a movie studio would pay an Apple blog to write an article about their movie?



    That's quite naive. Or perhaps just another example of you rushing to comment when you have nothing to say.



    Do you really think that a 5-10 minute spot in a movie is worthy of a 20-paragraph article pimping said movie Daniel or are you just rushing to garner page-clicks when you really have nothing to say?

  • Reply 16 of 52
    correctionscorrections Posts: 1,410member

    Do you really think that a 5-10 minute spot in a movie is worthy of a 20-paragraph article pimping said movie Daniel or are you just rushing to garner page-clicks when you really have nothing to say?

    Do you think there's some value in registering your lack of respect for every article I write? What comment of value have you contributed recently? Why do you waste your life firing off mean spirited snipes of zero value or insight?

    The article isn't about an iPad appearing in a film. It's about the intersection of art and technology.

    As an aside, it also mentions iOS 6 anachronistically appearing onscreen in the "future" and the fact that HTC's primary prime time celebrity endorsement actually uses an iPhone.
  • Reply 17 of 52
    elrothelroth Posts: 1,201member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lord Amhran View Post



    Because a movie that has an Apple product on screen for a couple of minutes is worth a 20 paragraph report.



    Welcome to the world of Daniel Eran Dilger....

    Lots of bitter people here today. I enjoyed reading the story - I have no agenda like you do. Why waste your time like that?

  • Reply 18 of 52
    Quote;
    "Set at least a decade into the future, the appearance of iOS 6 in the new film seems oddly out of place"

    It is actually IOS 12. Apple realized their mistake a few years after IOS 7, apologized and went back to the look and feel of IOS 6. Kind of how everyone looks back at the styles of the 80's and say "what were we thinking?" :)
  • Reply 19 of 52

    I enjoyed seeing another story about a celebrity who doesn't use the phone he's paid to endorse. Apple must love when that happens, it's better than free advertising.

  • Reply 20 of 52
    jfanningjfanning Posts: 3,393member
    The article isn't about an iPad appearing in a film. It's about the intersection of art and technology.

    May I ask why you didn't say that in the article then? You could have tweeted it first so that you could quote yourself.
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