Movie Review : Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

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Set 10 years after it’s predecessor, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, we revisit a world in which Simian Flu has wiped out most of the human population and those who are left have been cast back into pre Industrial Revolution living conditions with no power. The Apes, on the other hand, have thrived and created a rich, diverse and very ordered civilisation.

One day, these worlds collide and it is up to 2 beings, the human raised ape Caesar (Serkis) and the human Malcolm (Australian actor Clarke) to broker a peace between the species.

Within a very short amount of time, it becomes apparent that this is not going to be a film about mankind. It is a film about the Apes. Humans are the antagonists, not the other way around. We are thrown headlong into their world…. their language, their movement, their community, their homes, their families. It takes a few minutes for your mind to get its bearings and immerse itself into this new world but once it does….. WOW!

The Apes have created, in the span of just 10 years, a wonderfully alive and vibrant community. There is most definitely a hierarchy and there are, of course, those who would have the ‘crown’ , so to speak. The humans, in stark contrast, are kind of dithering around trying to get the power back on so things can get back to the way they used to be. This is what brings them into contact, the humans scouting for ways to turn the hydro power plant (or something) back on.

Once the Apes and Humans are aware of the other’s presence, a very uneasy truce is brokered but this is short lived and both species are pushed to the brink of outright war.

The CGI is beyond anything I have ever witnessed. It’s no use comparing space type special effects to these, that would be like asking what is more beautiful…. a sunset or a child’s smile. Both are perfect in the own way. But this world of Apes that is created is simply breathtaking. You can almost feel the fur on the bodies and wipe the tears from their faces. Occasionally, your brain reminds you this is not real and you are momentarily bewildered.

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The story is far more complex, compelling and moving than even I was expecting. I have been a Planet of the Apes fan since I first watched  a re-run of Charlton Heston staring up at the broken Statue of Liberty and so always look forward to these movies. But this…….this was something else again.

There were no right or wrongs, no pointed fingers, no blame was made or taken. There were great Apes and great Humans, there were mean Apes and mean Humans. There was love and compassion, hate and cruelty in both species.

The main difference was this was the Ape’s movie. The humans trespassed into their world first, ironically enough. The Apes reacted as any one of us would….they sough to protect what was theirs.

There was little for the human characters to do and this was a shame as there was some real talent here. They were kinda left floundering but then again, they were not the protagonists in this movie.

Would someone PLEASE give Andy Serkis the acclaim he so richly deserves. Caesar would not be Caesar without him. How can this brilliant actor be Gollum AND Caesar and have no major awards? Come ON!!!!!

I loved this movie and if this is your thing, you will love it too. It wont be for everyone but once you enter this world, you will find it hard to leave.

Love Flick xx

Director :   Matt Reeves

Starring :  Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, Andy Serkis, Toby Kebbell, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Kirk Acevedo, Nick Thurston, Terry Notary, Judy Greer

Running Time :  165 minutes

Release Date :  25 June 2014

One Response to “Movie Review : Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”

  1. Eschewing a tidy wrap-up, Reeves doesn’t leave us feeling manipulated, as so often happens in films like this. Instead, we want to know where the story goes from here, and that’s no small accomplishment.

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