Planet of the apes is in my opinion proven to be one of the best franchises ever created. Freshly coming of Rise of the Planet of the Apes surprisingly incredible reboot that was superbly well directed by Rupert Wyatt, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes takes place eight years after the events of the first instalment. Most of humanity has been wiped out due to the virus that was released and Ceaser played leads a new colony of Apes in a community outside of San Francisco where the first film took place. But when they stumble on a group of humans that are looking for a dam that can restore power to the city, all hell breaks loose.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is one of these rare sequels that are even better than the original and has become a new contender for best movie of the year so far.
Matt Reeves (who directed Cloverfield and Let me in, which are both fantastic movies) is now the director at the helm and he is a worthy successor to Wyatt. The cinematography is beautiful. The shots are wonderfully crafted (there is a mesmerizing 360 shot near the end that is just magnificent.) Originally the sequel was intended to be centered on the humans but Matt Reeves felt that this was Ceaser’s story and that the movie needed to revolve more around the apes (which was a wise decision).
Unlike the Transformers franchise, you care about the characters involved. They’re so well realised and so well fleshed out that you’re simply just captivated and so emotionally involved to what’s happening. The new addition to the cast is all around the board fantastic. Jason Clarke gave a great performance as Malcolm as he grows more and more attached to the apes during the short time that he is living among them.
Gary Oldman was also amazing as the leader of the surviving humans, and he wasn’t the big bad guy that the trailer made him look like. You actually could understand his reasoning and his motivations for doing the things he was doing and could actually sympathize with him by putting yourself and his shoes and by asking yourself what you would do in his situation.
But, to no one’s surprise, the real heart and soul of this film is Andy Serkis. He is phenomenal as Ceaser and without a doubt deserves a best actor nomination for his motion capture role. He’s so good that when he’s not on screen you do realize it and wonder where he is because you’re just so invested in Ceaser’s character. And it was great seeing him as a father figure and as a husband. He had a lot more responsibilities than in the first movie. There was also a much bigger conflict between the apes and the humans since Ceaser and a few other individual namely want peace between the two species, despite the protests of several individuals like Koba, who was the ape that was experimented on and tortured in the first instalment. Koba often disagrees with Ceaser’s method and leadership which adds some tension and suspense throughout the film.
The special effects are breathtaking. The apes look like real apes and what impressed me the most is that each seemed to have his or her own personality. You could actually see the emotions that these animals felt on the screen. They almost felt like humans in a way (which is sort of the point if you’ve seen the original Planet of the Apes).
The dynamic between the apes and the humans is just so enthralling to witness. They all have their motivations. They have personality. They have backgrounds and they have their reasons for doing what they’re doing.
It was also great to see how the apes communicated with one another. In Rise, only Ceaser knew how to talk but now it’s clear that other apes like Koba also speak. The rest communicate with their hands similar to sign language which shows that the apes are currently involving into a more intelligent and sophisticated species.
There are barely any flaws, except one minor which I felt the need to address. in the very beginning of the movie the apes say that they have not seen humans for nearly a decade, but the humans are clearly still living in San Francisco which is not far from their community and the city was clearly visible to them which I found rather odd that none of the apes decided to venture into the city at least once in ten years. But honestly I’m just nitpicking at this point.
Visually breathtaking, emotionally resonant and suspense filled tension from start to finish, the film is filled with fantastic performances especially from Andy Serkis who absolutely deserves to get nomination for best actor. Endlessly thrilling and filled with nail-biting action sequences, Dawn of the Planet of the apes is the Empire Strikes Back of sequels. All hail Ceaser.