The critically acclaimed Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a visual treat and a masterpiece for Matt Reeves and crew.
When we last left the apes at the end of 2011’s prequel slash reboot of Rise of the Plant of the Apes, relations between humans and our simian cousins were in tatters. We see in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes that they’ve only got worse. The majority of the human race has perished after becoming exposed to the ALZ- 113 virus; an infection caused from experiments performed on apes in hopes to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
Caesar (Andy Serkis- The Lord of the Rings franchise), the highly intelligent ape protagonist from the original and his fellow apes, on the other hand, aren’t doing so badly. Rampant in the wild, they’re developing a sophisticated language through sign and speech with many having a basic grasp of English. The apes control a primate community surrounding a hydroelectric dam that could supply the few remaining humans with power that they desperately need in order to continue surviving. Dreyfus (Gary Oldman- Batman franchise) has no problems destroying the apes in order to repair and rebuild humanity, but Malcolm (Jason Clarke), befriends Caesar in attempts to reach the dam with girlfriend (Keri Russell-Dark Skies), son Alexander (Kodi Smit-McPhee- Let Me In) and a handful of other human survivors. Many of the other apes, particularly lab tortured Koba (Toby Kebbell- Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time) believe humans are not to be trusted.
The ape action is nothing short of jaw-dropping. The apes look and feel astonishingly real with each ape rendered flawlessly down to each wrinkle, expression and hair on their bodies. We saw Caesar, Koba, and Maurice in “Rise” and got to watch them grow, giving us a deep connection and attachment to them, even more so than the humans. We also get new ape characters like Blue Eyes and Ash that we start to care for. Animals have a great innocence, loyalty and integrity about them, but can also be just as ruthless and cold as many humans at times. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes shows this is many ways.
Caesar is a spectacular leader and when he is on screen you can’t help but be mesmerized by the immense strength and dignity that comes along with his character. Caesar is an amazing visual effect, but Andy Serkis does an admirable job in making the audience feel Caesar’s love and pain.
A visually superb and powerful Apes sequel. For an estimated $170,000,000 you’d expect A LOT. And to be fair, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a consistently thrilling and emotional summer blockbuster, and it delivered.
WICKED RATING: 8.5/10 [usr 8.5]
Title: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Director(s): Matt Reeves
Writer(s): Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver
Stars: Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Andy Serkis
Studio/ Production Co: Chernin Entertainment, Ingenious Media, TSG Entertainment
Budget: $170,000,000 (estimated)
Sub-Genre: Action, Drama, Sci-fi