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Film Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes


Caesar and his ape family are back in this summer's sequel to 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes. This film picks up years after Caesar and the others disappear into the woods, when the human race has started to become extinct after the development of the Simian Flu. California's remaining residents need a dam to generate power for them, but there is one problem. The leader of the highly developed shrewdness knows that if the two species come in contact with each other, a full-blown war will follow. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has phenomenal special effects and an intriguing story, but could have done less of the subtitled animal communication.

The best part of this movie is the CGI, hands down. It is mind-blowing to think that Caesar is not just done by a computer. The ape is played by actor Andy Serkis, who also plays Gollum in the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings series. He creates all of Caesar's movements and then a computer goes over them to make him an incredibly life-like monkey. All of the monkeys are so realistic that you find yourself heartbroken when anything happens to them, getting swept up in the movie magic that makes them seem like remarkable talking apes.

Although this is the eighth film in the entire Planet of the Apes franchise, the story leaves you on the edge of your seat. In fact, this script may be even better than the previous one. Theres action and drama, along with characters you can sympathize with and root for, human or otherwise.

The only thing that is distracting in the film is the heavy use of subtitles when the apes are signing to each other. Sometimes they are not even really doing sign language, just grunting that is then translated into full sentences at the bottom of the screen. Since these creatures know how to speak, you think that the creative team would make more use of Caesar's unique talent rather than still have him and the others grunt to communicate.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is worth paying the money to see in theatres, especially for the outstanding CGI work. There are stand out performances, although none are more amazing than that of Andy Serkis. Apes has a solid story and is action-packed from start to finish. The only downfall is the heavy use of subtitles. If there were less subtitles it would give the audience more time to appreciate the incredible special effects and feel more connected to the story.