Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Releases July 11th, 2014
2 hr 10 mins
Rated PG-13
Action/Adventure, Drama


Director: Matt Reeves


Jason Clarke as Malcolm
Gary Oldman as Dreyfus
Keri Russell as Ellie
Kodi Smit-McPhee as Alexander
Jocko Sims as Werner
Kirk Acevedo as Carver
Enrique Murciano as Kempt
Kevin Rankin as McVeigh
Keir O'Donnell as Finney
J. D. Evermore as Sniper


Andy Serkis as Caesar
Judy Greer as Cornelia
Terry Notary as Rocket
Karin Konoval as Maurice
Toby Kebbell as Koba
Doc Shaw as Ash
Nick Thurston as River

Reviewed by Stephen M.

The sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes takes us ten years later where a large portion of humanity has succumbed to the simian flu (ALZ-113 virus) that started at the lab which created Caesar (Andy Serkis).  Caesar is still the top Chimpanzee of his group of apes on one side of the Golden Gate Bridge, while humans who haven't been seen for over two years are on the other.  Of course, the two sides must cross paths, as Malcom (Jason Clarke) leads an expedition to restore a dam on the apes' side that will power back the human side of San Francisco.

What you will love about Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is the action of which there are plenty.  From humans vs. apes to apes vs. apes, you quickly learn from this movie that apes and automatic rifles just do not mix.  There is little humor to be found in this movie but there are a lot of messages about trust, family and betrayal.  Koba, (Toby Kebbell) as one of Caesar's right hand ape, has some of the best scenes in the movie.  From him "acting up" at the armory, to him simply reaching out his arm to Caesar as a sign of trust or asking for forgiveness.  A lot is said without any words spoken by the actors.  The details given to the apes are just amazing in letting them convey a variety of emotions.

While the apes get praises the humans are not as stellar.  Jason Clarke does a decent job as Malcom while Ellie's (Kerri Russell) and Malcom's son Alexander's (Kodi Smit-McPhee) roles are fairly meaningless to the film extending it unnecessarily.  Gary Oldman's role as Dreyfus, the leader of the humans is reminiscence of his role of Commissioner Gordon deviating very little.  Not enough character development is really given to the humans which is fine by me.

While I cannot praise enough of the CGI and the acting of the apes themselves, often at times the background and masses are just a poor jumble of blurred something.  Case in point the below picture, which while a cool image, fails on the big IMAX screen when details are magnified, or rather lack of details are magnified.  Despite this, definitely watch this on the big screen.  There's nothing cooler than watching an ape in a tank on an IMAX screen.

Overall, I would highly recommend this film especially if you're a fan of the original movies or the first movie.  It's a different turn from the first movie as the first dealt more with humans and had a more intricate storyline.  The sequel is a bit more everywhere with betrayals from both sides and a lot of action.  Despite the ton of action scenes, the movie (particularly the human scenes) does lag at times but not to the extent that Transformers Age of Extinction will bore you to death with.

Also be sure to watch the web episodes that shows what happened during the 10 years leading up to this movie.  You can find them here.


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