Starts August 7, 2014
Directed by: Matt Reeves
Writing credits: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Mark Bomback
Cast: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell, Judy Greer, Kodi Smit- McPhee
Length: 130 minutes
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is the sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes but one does not have to see the latter to keep up with the former. It begins with vignettes of news reports superimposed on the map of the world, following the contamination of the virus ALZ-113 which has killed off much of the human population and, alternatively, made the apes intelligent. Their leader, Caesar (Serkis), was raised by humans and has formed his colony out in the Redwood forest. He believes in home and family and will protect his livelihood at all costs.
The remaining humans find their way to their own oasis, naturally looking for resources to exploit, this time being a dam needed for energy. Here is where the interspecies conflict arises, i.e., the age-old war of human entitlement over resources at the cost of lives - in this case: apes.
You sympathize with the apes. The cinematography is so riveting that you forget that they are fabricated for the screen digitally and with performance capture. Your heart moves when Caesar’s second son is born, as it would for any human baby. You struggle with him as he grapples with inevitable war and the immense task of bridging an understanding between the two species without showing weakness.
Every aspect of this film is well executed. The script keeps you engaged in spite of the many “silent” scenes when the apes are doing sign language. The score conveys emotions that help you connect with the apes. The characters are beautifully acted, fastening you in to the story. It has it all: finding one’s identity, the love for family, the journey of fate, the corrosive circle of hate and the healing power of forgiveness.
It’s refreshing to see a film that breaks down your misconceptions, immerses you, and entertains you at the same time. In a business where sequels rarely surpass their predecessor, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes stood on its own. This film proves that the first time is not always the best; the second time can be even better. ( )
If it’s action you’re seeking you can’t beat a 3D movie featuring a raging army of apes charging on horseback brandishing stolen machine guns. It’s the human race they are targeting, and somehow you’re almost rooting for the other side. Don’t underestimate the brilliance of this movie, the eighth in the Planet of the Apes franchise. Two civilizations fight to survive after a pandemic has practically wiped out both species, man and ape. The epitome of a wise and caring hero is Caesar (Serkis) emperor of the ape clan. The people’s leader is Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) a broken and desperate man, but that doesn’t really matter since he commands all the guns and ammo. Malcolm (Jason Clarke) is the compassionate human emissary who brokers a peace with Caesar. But in this sci-fi movie as in life it is not always the meek who inherit the earth. Director Matt Reeves has produced a riveting masterpiece with the promise of not too distant sequel.