Sometimes America makes the right choice at the multiplex, and we’re certainly not talking about the bonkers opening for “Transformers: Age Of Extinction.” Instead, this past weekend moviegoers gave a vote of confidence to Matt Reeves‘ smart and accomplished “Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes.” That certainly means Fox will be ready to make a third entry in the series (indeed, they’ve already dated it for 2016) and ‘Dawn’ ends with Jason Clarke‘s Malcom warning Caesar that the military are on the way. In short, the apes battle for survival has only begun.
But apparently there was even more to that finale that was shot, but didn’t make it through the editing process. Speaking with Slashfilm, Reeves shares some details of the sequence and why he ultimately decided to trim it:
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.
It was kind of cool. But I realized that we had skipped too much of the emotion by doing that. And that it actually in a way boxed us in too much to like the exact moment that felt like and also when we started showing this to people, some people are going wait, so does that mean the battle… like I meant for those ships to be way in the distance and they hadn’t even seen the apes, ’cause obviously the apes weren’t gathering to begin the fight. The apes were gathering to look and see the fight that was coming toward them. And so but it was hard to render that idea. And when I showed it to some people they were like going, so that’s it? They’re gonna start fighting right now? And I was like well no, and I realized that we didn’t have the right ending. So actually that last beat that is the last beat on Andy, this is actually kind of a cool thing too.
Indeed, it’s another example of Reeves’ very thoughtful approach, one that tends to see him favor character and theme over a more obvious blockbuster route. Frankly, that scrapped ending would’ve taken away from the arc between Malcolm and Caesar — the thematic and emotional weight between them — seeing the worst in their species force a wedge between them. The movie nicely pauses on that moment instead of racing to what’s coming next. Wise move. And you can see more of Reeves’ thought process in a New York Times video where he narrates an early sequence from the movie.
And finally, some apes whet to see “Dawn Of The Planet The Apes” and yes, ABC News (via Bloody Disgusting) was there to capture the magic.