The sequel to 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes, while mostly marketed as a hammy Hollywood blockbuster, is the most captivating, earnest, and well thought-out action flick I've seen in a very, very long time.
But would I have felt differently about Matt Reeves' Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, had it ended differently? Most probably.
In a recent interview with /Film, Reeves was asked about an alternate ending he had in mind, in which the military presence summoned by the human camp presumably arrives and engages the apes. Here's what he said:
..there was a frantic period of editing, literally in the last three weeks. Let’s do another pass on the movie. And I ended up taking out a couple sequences that I loved because I thought the movie played better without them. And we will put those somewhere on the DVD or an extended cut or something.
And what was different about the ending was that after the ending that you see in the final film, the idea was that the apes went out on a kind of exodus through the city and they gathered on the Golden Gate Bridge in order to look into the distance for the approaching warships. And I felt that it was taking us too far into the next movie. And almost starting the next movie and not letting the emotion of what had just happened, of what Caesar had just achieved and what Caesar had the price that he had paid. It wasn’t letting that resonate and it wasn’t ending, the final shot with again hopefully not spoiler way, but the final shot was actually in a way the very same final shot. It was actually him on top of the Golden Gate Bridge which was covered in apes, all looking out way, way into the distance and to see this really like messed up armada way in the distance showing up like really like ships in disrepair. And it moved into his eyes as he took in the uncertain future.
I'm wholeheartedly behind Reeves' decision, here: the different ending would have been too much like a cliff-hanger. Better to focus on what's just happened, rather than to immediately look to the future... I also really dug the ambiguity of not knowing whether there actually was an armada on its way, with the somber tension hanging over the "victory". What did you guys think?
Were you happy with how Dawn of the Planet of the Apes ended?