DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES:
VISUALLY STUNNING, JOLTING ACTION, INCREDIBLY STRONG STORY, AND ANOTHER SUMMER SEQUEL THAT OUTSHINES ITS PREDECESSOR!
By Nico Beland
Movie Review: A+ (4 stars)
20TH CENTURY FOX
Everyone’s favorite CG ape, Caesar is back in the highly anticipated sequel to the 2011 hit, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, reboot of the iconic Planet of the Apes franchise. In the director’s chair now is Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Let Me In), Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty, Public Enemies, White House Down) stars as the new human protagonist, Malcolm, and Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) reprises his Motion Capture role as the leader of the ape clan, Caesar, sadly there’s no James Franco this time around (Technically).
A decade after the events of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, we find that Caesar and the rest of his ape companions have started a family together in the forest, away from those pesky humans. Almost like a District 9 scenario, the humans and apes are living separately, the apes live in the forest, while the humans try and survive in the wasteland that used to be San Francisco.
It turns out a deadly virus has been unleashed, caused by people getting infected by the ALZ-113 (one of the drugs from the last movie) and the leader of the surviving humans, Dreyfus (Gary Oldman-The Dark Knight trilogy, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Bram Stoker’s Dracula) plans on preparing the survivors for war against the apes.
That is until survivor; Malcolm (Jason Clarke) tries to settle the situation peacefully without resulting to war. So he searches for Caesar and the apes, with his second wife, Ellie (Keri Russell-Mission: Impossible III, August Rush, Austenland), and his teenage son, Alexander (Kodi Smit-McPhee-Let Me In, ParaNorman).
Malcolm informs Caesar of what the humans are planning and tries to get the apes to help him put a stop to the war between humans and apes.
Of course, since this is a Planet of the Apes film, what follows are several conflicts between humans, conflicts between apes, conflicts between both humans and apes, all leading up to a thrilling climax.
Overall, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, I don’t think is just as great as its 2011 predecessor, but I think it’s even better. The story is well written, Matt Reeves’ brilliant direction (not saying Rupert Wyatt did a bad job directing the previous film, his directing was fine too), and very strong human and ape characters.
The CG animation on the apes have kicked up a notch and they look more realistic than they did back in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, you can still tell they were CG by the way they were moving and talking, but the overall appearance of them is a major improvement. Along with the animation, the art and set designs are spectacular and definitely feels more like a Planet of the Apes movie, the destroyed ruins, the post apocalyptic world, almost doesn’t feel like the same Earth from Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
Besides the special effects and set and art design, the 3D was very impressive, you really feel immersed into this apocalyptic world they created and it feels like you’re swinging around with these apes, it’s up there with Avatar, How to Train Your Dragon, and Gravity as one of the best 3D experiences you’ll have in the cinema.
The film surprisingly has very strong emotion and character development, mainly from the apes. All they want to do is protect their home and the humans want to do the same thing, like the first film, there’s no real antagonist in the film, at least not until later, but even then, it’s all confusion and fear.
I never thought I would end up feeling so emotional over computer-generated apes.
This might currently be the best film of the summer, at least in the summer blockbuster category, but it’s hard to say because I enjoyed films like X-Men: Days of Future Past, How to Train Your Dragon 2, and Transformers: Age of Extinction quite a bit as well.
So, if you enjoyed Rise of the Planet of the Apes or the Planet of the Apes franchise altogether, you’ll most likely get a kick out of this new film, especially if you’re watching it in 3D. If you live nearby a movie theater that has a large film format like Regal RPX, Cinemark XD, or Cinerama and is playing the film in 3D, I would strongly recommend seeing it in the largest format available, you’ll feel like an ape swinging on vines in no time and will most likely be excited for the upcoming third film in this new franchise once the movie ends.