Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)
Don & Bobby Draper Go See Planet Of The Apes: The Musical
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Director: Matt Reeves
Writers: Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Pierre Boulle
Cast: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Kirk Acevedo, Nick Thurston, Terry Notary, Karin Konoval, Judy Greer, Jon Eyez, Enrique Murciano, Larramie Doc Shaw, Lee Ross
Synopsis: In the wake of a disaster that changed the world, the growing and genetically evolving apes find themselves at a critical point with the human race.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief strong language
A look back at the history of the "Planet of the Apes" franchise
10 / 10
- Special effects are great
- Good cinematography work
- Acting was good
- Andy Serkis' performance as Caesar was phenomenal.
- Story was well written
- Characters are well developed
- The story contains a lot of deep concepts that reflect our own society
- Lousy 3-D conversion, as it's barely even noticeable half the time.
APES! TOGETHER STRONG!
"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" is arguably one of the best movies of 2014 by far. Not only does the film take a deeper exploration into the world that we were introduced to in the last one, but it takes things a bit further by blurring the lines between the enhanced simians and humankind. LIke the first film, this one doesn't contradict anything from the original "Planet of the Apes" story arc, so it could easily act as a prequel to the original franchise. But at the same time, it still holds up well on it's own.
The story takes place years after the events of the first one. The virus that was created to cure Alzheimer's disease has now spread across the world; causing an evolution with the apes, while killing off most of humanity on a global scale. Thankfully for humanity, some have survived because they had a natural immunity to the virus, but that doesn't mean their lives are all sunshine and rainbows. Since the virus spread throughout the world, human technology is no longer running. Meaning with no electricity, no power, or any means of global communication, it would seem that humanity is on the brink of extinction. Many of them struggling on a day to day basis to survive without power.
Many of the humans blame the apes for this virus, even though it wasn't their fault. The apes noble leader, Caesar (Andy Serkis), merely wants to be left alone, and have his kind live in peace. The human survivor, Malcolm (Jason Clarke), merely wants the same. Unlike some of his other colleagues, he merely wants peace. But in order for humanity to have any chance at survival, they need to get the power back up and running. And in order to do that, they need to cross into the apes' territory. Negotiating a truths with Caesar, as he reluctantly agrees to help Malcolm.
However, not all the apes trust Malcolm's intention, as Koba (Toby Kebbell) makes it very clear that he does not trust humanity. Unlike Caesar who started off as a pet for some scientist from the last film, Koba never saw the goodness in humanity, as it was heavily implied that Koba was a test subject for most of his life before the apes ascended. Hence, he only knows the dark side of them.
It's because of his skewed perception of humans that he starts to question Caesar's leadership capabilities, when it seems like he tries to make peace with them. This later causes a fierce adversity among the apes themselves, as even Caesar's own son, Blue Eyes (Nick Thurston), starts to question Caesar's trust in humans. And with humanity's lack of trust in the apes, it doesn't take long before things start to get heated between the two sides.
Due to a series of events over a misunderstanding, Malcolm and Caesar soon come to realize that perhaps war between their two sides was inevitable. Without giving away too much, this film blurs the lines between the ascended apes and humanity like never before. Showing us that sometimes in spite of our best intentions that war can sometimes become unavoidable.
In many ways, this film is sort of symbolic for events that have happened throughout our own history, when looking at things objectively. In one particular scene, Caesar claims that he once thought apes were superior to humans, but he now he realizes that apes no different than them. When you look at our world, it's almost reminiscent on how the people, in the United States, think of themselves as being better, in comparison to most countries. But are we really that much different?
Sure, we've done a lot of good throughout the world, but anyone that says that the United States doesn't have blood on it's hands, and we're innocent of any wrongdoing is very naive. The reality is the United States is no better than any country throughout the world; regardless what the politicians will have you believe. Like other countries, we too have shed blood on our own hands throughout the years. And in a captivating way, "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" symbolizes how that arrogance can often lead to terrible things. Sure, we may quest for peace, but sometimes our own skewed views on reality can lead to various misunderstandings that get in the way of that.
To say this film's script was great would be a tragic understatement. Not only is the script chalked full of interesting symbolic concepts that reflect heavily on our own society, but the characters are developed quite well. Unlike the last film, this one doesn't immediately start off being told from a human perspective.
No, Caesar is the main star of this film, and what makes it even more amazing is that he hardly ever says anything. All the apes prefer to communicate through sign language, while the film uses subtitles to translate, but the movie is set up in such a way that you can still identify with Caesar. It's almost like watching poetry in motion, as the body language and facial expressions of the apes themselves are almost enough to make you feel an instant connection with them.
And whenever they communicate with the humans, they do speak english, but they seem to be only able to say a few words at a time. However, that doesn't mean that the apes are stupid or anything, as Andy Serkis is able to make it work through his captivating performance. Not only does he bring a sense of nobility and quiet dignity to the character, but he's able to bring in a sense of compassion and vulnerability as well that meshes beautifully on the big screen.
Another notable change from the last movie, it's that the supporting characters are written better. In the previous "Planet of the Apes" film, the supporting human characters were written more as an afterthought, with hardly any depth to them. In this sequel though, the majority of the human characters are vilified, while a scarce few are good, but they're not as cut and dry as you might think. Sure, characters like Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) can be jerks when it comes to the apes, but he's not necessarily against them per say. He only wants to ensure the survival of his species, and fears that the apes could pose a threat towards that.
But unlike the last story where the apes were the ones fighting back against the oppressors of humanity, this one shows the evil on both sides of the spectrum. Showing that the advanced apes aren't all that much different from us, as it blurs the lines between them almost seamlessly.
Every actor plays their part rather well, and the cinematography work was outstanding. Although I would advise against anyone planning to see this in 3-D because it doesn't show up well with this film; mainly because of the dark settings throughout the feature.
The special effects are still impressive, and definitely should get a nod around Oscar time next year. Although, the CGI effects offer hardly anything new in this sequel, but it's fun to watch regardless.
Overall, if you haven't seen this film by now, then you're definitely missing out. "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" is by far one of the best films of this year, as it features a deep script, with well developed concepts and characters.
© 2014 Steven Escareno