Dawn of The Planet of The Apes: 03 — Ceasar Speaks

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DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES also explores how the apes evolved from the mostly mute but intelligent animals of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, into articulate, civilized beings that emerge as Earth’s dominant species within the canon of the Planet of the Apes franchise.

Reeves explains: “In Rise of the Planet of the Apes the apes said only a few words.  With this film we show the apes at the dawn of their society, and learning to truly speak.  Inevitably, the younger generation will be better with language than their parents, which leads to a very complicated portrait of the apes’ cultural order. This is the ape society that eventually evolves into what we see in the 1968 Planet of the Apes with an organized government, military and science.”

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES co-screenwriter Mark Bomback says one of the script’s biggest challenges was to depict how the apes communicate with each other and how much the apes articulate verbally. “At the end of Rise of the Planet of the Apes it’s shocking when Caesar speaks an entire sentence.  In this film, we explore how much further the apes have advanced in their language skills. We struggled a lot with this because there’s a temptation to just give the apes pages and pages of dialogue.  But there was a huge plausibility issue that we were contending with, which is it’s only been ten years since the events of the previous film, and if Caesar is only able to say one sentence in that film, then how much speech would he really be capable of in this one?

“The second question,” Bomback continues, “was, why would they actually need to speak?  Apes were perfectly able to communicate with each other through sign language, so why would they want to or need to talk like humans? By extension, at what point is sign language inadequate, emotionally, so that the apes would have to speak?”

Adds Matt Reeves: “The thing that was important to me was that the story, and its elements such as language, not jump too ahead far, in a certain way, from where things were in Rise of the Planet of the Apes; when Andy says ‘NO!’ in Rise, I think it’s so startling it blew me away.”

The same experiments that drove Caesar and his community to escape are continuing to make them more intelligent, which leads to new forms of verbal expression. “This time there is an evolution in linguistic terms,” Serkis explains. “We worked in great detail in terms of creating that level of sophistication versus ‘finding’ language. Caesar communicates through the sign language he was taught, which has become a unifying way of speaking with the other apes.  At the same time, he’s verbalizing more.”

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