"DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES" in 3D from 20th Century Fox opens Fri., July 11, 2014.
STARRING: Andy Serkis, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Jason Clarke, Toby Kebbell and JudyGreer.
DIRECTOR: Matt Reeves ("Let Me In", "Cloverfield")
SYNOPSIS: A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar (Serkis) is threatened by a group of human survivors. They reach a fragile peace but it proves short-lived as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth's dominant species.
You can believe the hype for this film. These apes are not monkeying around, man. They're serious about building an ape utopia and no one is going to stop them. In true bad-guy form, Gary Oldman's character is determined to try. This tale of treachery, cunning, greed and violence is not as far-fetched as one might think. As a war movie, it works even better.
The cinematic magic needed to make the ape society come to life is superb. Reeves did a fantastic job of scaring the bejeebers out of the audience with "Cloverfield" and this one is even scarier and better. The battlefield scenes are stunningly realistic and extremely well choreographed. Reeves masterminded some brilliant battle sequences that make this a far better film than the first ("Rise of the Planet of the Apes").
The inevitable comparison has been made, being "it's like Empire Strikes Back was to Star Wars--it's that much better. It actually is but we don't have to rely on that every time a movie exceeds its original. Well, other than the fact that it happens so rarely. As one might expect, Reeves is on board to co-write and direct the untitled sequel expected July 29, 2016.