Aesthetics of Films "Koko: A Talking Gorilla" and "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"

Categories: FilmFilm Analysis

Films vary between different genres and different messages the director is trying to portray. Many of them might have the same theme but differ in the way it is presented to the audience. The aesthetics of a film helps build the atmosphere around it. The exploration of the two films Koko: A Talking Gorilla and Rise of the Planet of the Apes displays to the audience the variance in many elements of the aesthetics of the film. The difference can be from the Mise-en-scene, editing, cinematography, and the performance capture of each film.

The aesthetics of formalism and realism vary from each other were the realism has a rawer and realistic approach through the film without paying much attention to some elements of cinematography and mise-en-scene.

The formalism in the film of Rise of the Planet of the Apes used a good deal of motion capture animation while in the film Koko: A Talking Gorilla he was a real gorilla that was a project monitored and trained by experts in that field.

The chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans that star in the film are all laptop generated. Human characteristics in Rise of the Planet of the Apes represent the humanity in chimpanzees were through editing they were able to fool the human eye into this realistic and high budget film that is far from reality but gives an atmosphere of the true picture. The human eyes are able to notice problems with those depictions, and the illusions can be easily broken. The CGI gorillas in Rise of the Planet of the Apes are praised for the magnitude of realistic alterations on these characters were humans are used to integrating a chimpanzee body to act like a human through different computer software’s.

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The use of different set designs and changing the lighting to give a more glamorous and jaw-dropping footage through the use of fake sets and green screens. While everyone played in the film are actors while having voiceovers for the gorillas recorded by a voice actor. They also generate the movements of each animal by the use of motion detectors that are hooked to the actor and filmed to have an animation to be able to place on a body of a CGI made gorilla. The audience is able to see the apes who are arguably unrealistic in their humans like movements and traits.

The Mise-en-scene in the film Koko: A Talking Gorilla played a minimal role as they relied on more of a natural existing light instead while filming in a real set was the gorilla was placed expressing a message of a realistic film that seems kind of a documentary about an extraordinary gorilla without any actors only filming real people. All the actions made by Koko or the other doctors who take care of him are all real filmed on the spot having all the hand gestures and the communication between them genuine in the eyes of the audience. The lighting and the set design might seem that this film is a low budget film poorly made, but the director was not interested in how the film is made since he cares more about the content and knows that the audience will focus their attention to what the director wants them to see. It’s more of a real direct address to the audience informing them and fascinating them through the realistic lens of the realism aesthetic of the film.

The motion capture animation in Rise of the Planet of the Apes is phenomenal and feels more of a futuristic breakthrough in the film genre. It reminds people of the film Avatar which captivated everybody with the introduction of third-dimensional filming and editing. The editing of Caesar the ape was beyond belief through looking into the behind the scenes of the recording of Andy Serkis who played the main character was great because it shows the different elements that was needed to have a great editing of the sequences of the film. This helped the film in reaching another type of a realistic approach of the formalism aesthetic of the film. The audience will actually tell the distinction between real recorded footage and computer animation. Knowing there is a person behind the mask, digital or latex while apes are not humans so no matter how closely they’re associated with humans realistic CGI humans are still terribly troublesome to win acceptance from the human eye. Koko was visible in one scene of the film where he is exercising with the doctor with a close shot of his face to show the real expressions of these animals instead of giving them fake human expressions. This deals with the cinematography of the film were the director had a handheld camera documenting the real emotions of this animal and portraying it to the audience with minimal editing or alterations.

The film Koko: A Talking Gorilla did not have a real plot with a climax because it was more of a study about a gorilla who was able to communicate with humans in real life. While others might be attracted to the advent of digital technology that has a great impact on moving pictures, including new ways that of challenging physical movement realism, exposing or employing the tension between the opposed tendencies. The plot from the film Rise of the Planet of the Apes played a big role in letting the imagination of the audience run free because of the capability of digital imaging technology that is assisted with the background and sounds to give it a more realistic atmosphere through formalism aesthetics. However, this could be taken reciprocally, as a capacity to alienate inside the moving image as a medium. The special effects tradition inherited by computer-generated imaging, followed by a scrutiny of digital imaging technology’s potential to induce tension between reality and animation.

Koko: A Talking Gorilla had barely any cutscenes were it felt like everything is in sequence thus having longer takes and longer wait time to change to another scene. This was used to give the audience an insight about Koko and his day to day life as he trains to communicate three hours a day thus giving the director a short amount of time to record all of Koko’s actions. The film is beyond just the motion pictures presented to the audience because Koko’s head-caretaker Francine Patterson said: “It was a sign we almost never used, Koko understands that she’s special because of all the attention she’s had from professors, and caregivers, and the media.” This shows that the film gives a small insight about the gorilla and does not go to the depths of understanding the inner thoughts of this animal while Caesar from Rise of the Planet of the Apes shows a different perspective than Koko because it goes into the depths of his thoughts and his ability to express himself through a script spoken by a human actor. Although people might see the film as a formalistic film it is still considered a great film because of the full retrospect of the imagination running wild.

In conclusion, Rise of the Planet of the Apes used a different aesthetic from Koko: A Talking Gorilla because it wanted to integrate what Koko did but magnify it so that the audience can have a deeper connection with the characters through the plot, climax, and different elements of dictation and voice-overs used.

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Aesthetics of Films "Koko: A Talking Gorilla" and "Rise of the Planet of the Apes". (2021, Mar 10). Retrieved from

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