Apes Versus Guardians

Friday, November 28 2014
Apes Versus Guardians

It was apes versus raccoons and a tree, among other things, over the weekend, as two of the summer’s theatrical blockbusters shared a release date and review space, as our weekend round up of press coverage for home entertainment releases illustrates.

For Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes went head to head in terms of review space in the national press, with honours being split pretty evenly between the two.

While those two behemoths were duking it out for lead space, a rash of other reviews were fighting it out, with everything from black and white Polish outings (Ida), classic British sci-fi and comedy titles all vying for attention.

In terms of comedy, interviews with star names plugging their live stand-up releases and more also started to bleed through into the weekend supplements and magazines.

The Sun, our regular first port of call for Friday’s newspapers, as ever looked at the releases out that week, with the DVD Of The Week slot given over to SPHE’s 22 Jump Street, with its review noting that “this is isn’t a great leap forward but there’s plenty of spring in the step of 22 Jump Street”). It went on to cover The Purge Anarchy (Universal), Paramount’s Transformers Age Of Extinction (“this risky franchise keeps creaking noisily on and on”) and Eagle Rock’s Monty Python Live – One Down Five To Go (“It’s silly, scrappy and often shambolic – just like in the old days, in fact. More than flogging a dead horse…”).

On to the following Monday’s releases and Friday’s Evening Standard kicked off with Artificial Eye’s Ida (“profound yet unmissably entertaining drama”), giving it prominence ahead of Disney’s Guardians Of The Galaxy (“big, loud smart origins story… world domination imminent”), then going on to the more obscure documentary, the “excellent” Particle Fever (Dartmouth), ahead of another blockbuster, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (Fox). It finished with Mood Indigo (Studiocanal) and You And The Night (Peccadillo).

Only one title in the Daily Mirror, with Guardians Of The Galaxy getting a glowing notice, noting: “Marvel’s sci-fi fantasy is a near-perfect mix of action, humour, imagination and wondrous special effects. To say Guardians is the new millennium’s answer to Star Wars really isn’t an exaggeration… Prepare to be blown away.”

Plenty in the Daily Star, however, with Guardians Of The Galaxy earning five stars (“a wild, wonderful brew of spectacle, comedy and action”) and a competition, with further notices for Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (“this striking show is by far the best, and certainly one of my finest films of 2014,” said reviewer Alan Frank), the David Walliams double bill of Mr Stink and Gangsta Granny, as well as Universal’s complete original series of Battlestar Galactica on Blu-ray.

A trio of four-star reviews in the Daily Express, with the weekend’s two biggies – Guardians Of The Galaxy (“ridiculously good fun”) and Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (“intelligent, exciting and surprisingly moving sequel”) going head to head and coming out all square, with Studiocanal’s Blu-ray of Spirited Away (“wonderful imagery with stunning storytelling”) providing strong support.

The regular Your Next Box Set feature in The Guardian covered The Code (Arrow), concluding: “You’ll race through all six episodes and want more.”

Saturday and mentions of titles across the TV supplements in the tabloids, with Guardians Of The Galaxy in the This Week section of the Daily Express’ Saturday magazine. The Weekend magazine with the Daily Mail covered the ideal title for its readership in the form of Downton Abbey Series 5 (Universal). The Sun’s TV Magazine covered Guardians Of The Galaxy as its DVD Of The Week, its Box Set Of The Week went to David Walliams’ “brilliant offering” Gangsta Granny. The Daily Mirror’s We Love TV featured Peaky Blinders Series 2 (BBC Worldwide).

Plenty in The Times, which featured Harry Hill on the cover of its Review section, with an accompanying two page feature, all plugging BBC Worldwide’s release of his live Sausage Time DVD. Reviews-wise, it covered Ida (“visually arresting and, at 80 minutes, pleasingly concise”), as well as Dawn of The Planet Of The Apes (“an action blockbuster that double as a Times lead on moral absolutism and the inevitability of war”) and Out Of The Unknown (BFI). Its colour magazine had a further interview with Micky Flanagan promoting his Detour De France release through Universal.

The weekend edition of the Financial Times gave a full five stars to Ida (“the kind of film that can make you wish colour film had never been invented”), moving on to 22 Jump Street and Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (“there are moments that teeter dangerously on the edge of the ridiculous, but only a small dose of suspended disbelief is needed to make this a thoroughly enjoyable experience”).

Plenty of sci-fi and fantasy in The Independent’s Radar, with Dawn of The Planet Of The Apes besting Guardians Of The Galaxy, while a far earlier title, The Day The Earth Caught Fire (“you almost don’t need the disaster storyline”), did just as well. Its column was rounded off by two five-star notices, for Warner’s Stanley Kubrick: Eight Film Masterpiece collection and the Spirited Away Blu-ray (“a wildly inventive masterpiece”)h

The Guardian’s Guide covered Transformers: Age Of Extinction and, in brief, Peaky Blinders, How To Train Your Dragon 2, The Purge Anarchy and 22 Jump Street.

The Sunday Mirror covered Guardians Of The Galaxy (“great fun and a must-see DVD”) on its Staying In page.

The Sun’s Fabulous magazine had True Detective (HBO) and The Lego Movie (Warner) within its Gift Guide, while Jack Whitehall Gets Around (4DVD) was on its Fabulist page.

The Daily Star rated Dawn of The Planet Of The Apes (“still the best blockbuster of 2014”) ahead of Guardians Of The Galaxy (“ridiculously entertaining”). There were two further reviews for Fremantle’s Wentworth Prison (“consistently entertaining”) and Universal’s Giggs documentary Life Of Ryan.

The Sunday People’s Apes versus Guardians battle saw the former winning out, thanks to an additional competition beyond the normal reviews. Ida and Mood Indigo gave the rest of the reviews a distinctly European feel, while its TV page had the eighth series of Doctor Who (BBC Worldwide).

The Sunday Express had Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes as a “Must See” in the opening pages of its S magazine, with a further competition for Mrs Brown’s Boys (Universal) later in the supplement.

The Mail On Sunday’s Event magazine covered, somewhat surprisingly, Stewart Lee’s third Comedy Vehicle outing (BBC Worldwide) on its Staying In page, alongside another Beeb title, Human Universe. Its solus DVD reviews page had plenty, including a few older releases, such as Fox’s The Fault In Our Stars (“magnificent movie”) and X-Men Days Of Future Past, as well as 22 Jump Street (“inanely funny from start to last”) and, on a slightly more sobering note, Ida and Human Capital.

The Independent On Sunday reviewed Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, which won out over Guardians Of The Galaxy, as well as Mood Indigo, with a further competition for The Code and, on its The Watch List regular column, a few vampire movie recommendations to tie in with the release of Metrodome’s excellent What We Do In The Shadows.

The Observer’s Guy Lodge was one of the few reviewers alive to the fact that it was a battle between two behemoths out there, kicking off his ever-excellent column with the following remark: “It’s genetically modified humanoid apes versus genetically modified humanoid raccoons — well, one raccoon at least — on DVD shelves this week. And while both have their individual fighting strengths, you have to hand it to the simians,” before going on to praise both, albeit skewed more towards Dawn… Also sobered were Ida, White Reindeer, Mood Indigo, You And The Night (Peccadillo), Bjork Biophilia (One Little Indian) and, as the streaming choice, the Viki channel.

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