Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was a great film, which was slightly impeded by a few negatives. In this episode we pick up where Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the 2nd chapter, leaves off. In order to understand where we start here I do recommend seeing the 2nd one if you haven’t. It is this reviewer’s opinion that Dawn is superior to Rise.
The humans come out on the other side of the Simeon flu virus, which is decimating the population around the globe. We focus on a group of survivors in the San Francisco area, the same location of the second chapter. The humans are living in the remains of the city, and the apes live in the forest just outside of it.
The movie shows us the constant struggle for the humans and apes to build trust with each other and co-exist peacefully. And even, what happens when people & apes within their own factions start to divide.
The movie starts off on the right foot, with a compelling first few scenes, including a media blitz covering what is happening around the globe and the apes’ quest to locate food.
Dawn is a much darker version of the previous movie, and is setup in a post-apololyptic fashion, as humans look for ways to survive.
Action sequences are absolutely fantastic, didn’t feel very much like CGI at all. The detail given to the physical characteristics of the apes was incredible. Nothing was left out, and expressions were flawless.
Probably the best overriding theme of the movie was its stance on morality. The choices made by the primary characters would often change or bring to light new choices. Showed us that being moral is more often than not a moving compass.
Others themes in the movie included trust, leadership, interdependency, mutiny, fear, and family were thought out and planned very well, and clearly conveyed in the scripting and acting.
Gary Oldman shined in his role as Dreyfus, one of the leaders of the humans. Oldman never ceases to amaze me with his compelling brilliance as an actor. Keri Russell did a great job acting Ellie, a nearly-unnecessary role as the concerned wife, and had to endure several pointless lines of dialogue. Jason Clarke portrayed Malcolm, our main human character, and his portrayal was compelling as he tries genuinely to bridge the gap between the species. Andy Serkis once again astounds us with Caesar, the ape who leads his colony and shows us that making the tough and right decisions are not always the most popular.
Some of the best scenes were the ones between Caesar and his son, who thinks he knows his way, but then has trouble finding his allegiance through the film as new information comes to light. Also when Caesar returns to his old home and how the memories come flooding back.
Soundtrack was well-written and flowed with the harmony of the storyline. Possible Academy Award nod here for editing.
The negatives in the movie were some cheesy, unnecessary, inconsistent, overlong, and clichéd scenes with predictable lines. How do you have a completely abandoned city with no storage in the house you live in? The scene where Malcolm & Ellie converse about their plans and their son listens in. A decent number of long and slow scenes, where audience en masse decided to take a take a bathroom break. These do not diminish the movie, but are small drawbacks.
Overall, I definitely enjoyed the movie, thought it was better than the last one, and there were only a handful of things that prevented it from being a 10.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes scores 8/10 stars
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