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Movie Review: ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ The Rise of an Empire

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'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes'


“Ape don’t want war but will fight if we must.”– Andy Serkis as Caesar

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What’s good: The plot was absolutely perfect and will keep you on edge throughout.

What’s not good: The CGI looked a little sketchy at times.

What happened: Our greatest fear as a human race is extinction. Whether it’s by a natural disaster, disease, robots (see the Terminator flicks), or some unforeseen event, we worry about how it will all end. ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ successfully dives head first into this frightening yet thought-provoking topic and delivers a nearly flawless film.

It has been ten long years since the simian flu nearly wiped out the human race. If the sickness didn’t kill you, then the fighting surely would. The apes have now become the dominant species and are thriving on their own as their community continues to flourish. The leader of the apes, Caesar (Andy Serkis), only wants to maintain the peaceful existence he has built deep into the woods. He has a growing family and several fiercely loyal apes who pledge their lives to him. Caesar’s experience with the humans makes him more willing to work with them. Little does he know that this trait will lead to the undoing of the already uneasy alliance between man and ape.

Mankind is desperate to stay alive and Malcolm (Jason Clarke) believes that their only chance for survival lies deep within ape territory. Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) lost everything due to the simian flu and vows to kill every last ape at all costs. Meanwhile, Koba (Toby Kebbell) will never trust humans after what they did to him so long ago. He is looking for the perfect opportunity to exact revenge any way possible. Caesar soon suffers a surprising betrayal that threatens to destroy all that he has built. He must work with the humans to stop an impending war before it’s too late.

‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ does a great job of summarizing the events of the first film ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ (check out my review here) while explaining what has happened since. Caesar has an absolutely commanding presence every time he is on screen. He speaks sparingly, but his words are extremely powerful. The dilemma that Caesar and the apes face is a good one too. If he lets the humans get what they want then they become a major threat to the ape existence once again. Koba’s natural progression into madness was very well done. This led to the highlight of the film which was the ape’s violent assault on the human’s compound! The use of the tank was truly fun to watch. There was also a nice homage to the first film when Caesar looks to recover from his betrayal.

It is hard to find fault with this film, yet nothing in life is ever perfect. Some will feel that most of the ape’s movements don’t look believable. Of course a talking ape is not plausible, but the special effects used while they were speaking looked a little suspect. The only other problem with this movie was how Malcolm was able to survive the explosion at the end. He somehow remained unscathed despite the demolition that occurred only a few feet away. This is a minor complaint for an otherwise spectacular film.

Bottom Line: ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ is an excellent sequel and certainly worth checking out!

Grade: A

Rating: PG-13 Run time: 2 hours, 10 minutes


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