Cast - Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell, Judy Greer, Kodi Smit-McPhee
Director - Matt Reeves
Release Date - Friday, July 11
Rating - ***1/2
The first film in the new reboot, 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' set the bar pretty high, giving the new series a fresh look and an engaging back story. The next installment was supposed to build off of the high, and explore what happens next. And it does exactly that, and more. While the film has a different overall feel than its predecessor, it is as engaging and explores the evolution of the sentient apes much more, allowing for a fuller, richer story.
Now while, 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' will not be everyone's cup of tea, it will definitely be one of the most critically acclaimed films of 2014. While critics have already given it rave reviews, the Everyman can appreciate the simplicity of the plot as the apes while trying to live their own lives, get wrapped up in the complex shell of humanity's struggle to survive. What's wonderful about the film is how much of screen time is actually dedicated to the apes, in fact the first 15 minutes itself, plays out like a silent film in which the way the apes have evolved and live in harmony is showcased. And it is that sheer brilliance which emulates the genius of a well written film.
Matt Reeves, whose most well known ventures 'Cloverfield' and 'Let Me In' received critical praise, helms the project giving a great insight into the development of the primal protagonists from primate to higher species. Although the pacing of the film is slow at times, it's deliberately done in order to highlight the way the apes are living now, and how humans have become the desperate species.
The film narrates the wake of a flu epidemic carefully explained in the opening montage of news reports and how there are very few humans left on Earth. The first 15 minutes introduce a middle aged Caesar hunting with a group of apes, which includes his young and headstrong son. As of now, the humans and apes are oblivious to the existence of one and other, but that is short lived as they come head to head when a group of humans come across two apes. The rest of the film focuses on the surprise that both groups not only exist but are thriving . And continue into the bloody aftermath of the humans requiring the assistance of the apes. Now while in earlier adaptations focusing on apes seems to portray them more as the monsters, what this film does is humanise them, allowing you to see their side of things.
The most triumphant part of the film apart from the story-line and the acting ability of Andy Serkis as the leader of the apes Caesar, is the visual effects. The film's FX allows Serkis to accurately deliver a performance so powerful and emotional, it might just deserve an Oscar nod. The Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) which works well within the scope of the film, showcases hundreds of apes on screen allowing the film to portray the serious intensity of the ape army. Apart from the visual brilliance and the fine acting, what always works well with reboots is subtle nods to their predecessors. The observant fan will notice quite a few from this film, including the name of Caesar's son 'Bright Eyes', as well as a scene displaying the emotional connection between Caesar and James Franco's character from the first film.
Even if you don’t like action films, which this is not entirely, you would have to appreciate a well told story, that allows you to see past the normal narrative and digs more into the subtext of it all. 'Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes' has emerged as one of the better films to release this year, and more importantly one of the best stories to have been told in 2014. It will join X-Men: Days of Future Past and Captain America: The Winter Soldier as one of the finest action films this year.
The first film gave us a look at how the apes would eventually rise, while this one brilliantly explores their evolution and their ultimate dominance which will happen in the next film. This is one summer film you might not want to miss.