Cast: Andy Serkis, Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, Keri Russell
Director: Matt Reeves
What's it about?
Our planet goes to the monkeys... quite literally. Around 10 years have passed since genetically induced simian flu and all-out war has wiped out half the earth's population. Only a few colonies remain. One, led by Malcolm (Jason Clarke) and Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) in particular, sets up base not too far from 'monkey king' Caesar's (Andy Serkis) utopia. There's an uneasy truce of sorts that's far too easily threatened when things go from bad to worse, setting up the stage for an inevitable war and (no surprises, here!) sequel.
A change in direction (Reeves taking over from Rise's Rupert Wyatt) seems to have paid off. Also, the beauty of this film is not so much in what's said or heard, but what isn't. The computer-generated apes' eyes do most of the 'talking', ably aided by subtitles for the most part. The action scenes are few and far between but quite impactful. The film's music (Michael Giacchino) is sublime. Serkis as Caesar is the film's heart and soul. Every step of the way, you're invested in Caesar's conflict because Serkis' acting itself is so wonderfully nuanced and complex. Koba (Toby Kebbell) and Dreyfus, both come across as victims of their own inability to let go of past pain, rather than as the story's villains.
Watching this film in 3-D seems quite pointless. Also, it's a minor grouse, but you're introduced to far more characters than would seem necessary. In few parts, lingering scenes betray a leniency in editing. The film could've been a bit more tighter.
What to do?
Definitely watch this one for Andy Serkis. And because -- cheesy as it may sound -- when the end credits roll, you realise that it's not the destination that mattered, it's the journey this film took you on. You rarely get to say that about sequels these days. Bring on the next one!