Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – Movie Review
Director: Matt Reeves
Writers: Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa (screenplay & characters), Amanda Silver (screenplay & characters)
Stars: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Toby Kebbell, Kirk Acevedo, Nick Thurston, Terry Notary, Rocket, Karin Konoval, Judy Greer
Science Fiction Movie
The world has become a tiny place.
One that has a lot of Planet of the Apes movies in it.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes sits firmly at the top of the heap. The combination of technological advancement and solid performances makes it one of the few times I’m happy to see a franchise remade/rebooted/continued. The apes were believable–and from there the whole concept flowed.
There’s a really well put together parallel structure in the script as ape and man alike struggle with similar leadership problems, even as the two cultures become reacquainted with each other. The apes are led by Caesar (Andy Serkis), trying to keep his family safe and the apes peaceful–antagonized by his trusted senior advisor Koba (Toby Kebbell), who has history with humans. He was a research subject, tormented and tortured, and he has not forgiven humans for that. The humans are led by comrades Dreyfus (Gary Oldman), assisted by Malcolm (Jason Clarke). Dreyfus will stop at nothing to keep humans moving back towards the advanced technological world they once had. Malcolm is more open to change, and really to explore new possibilities.
But trust only goes so far, and one bad act can have massive repercussions.
There are a plethora of iconic images throughout the movie (the gun-toting ape on horseback featured on the poster is one), and a lot of strong emotional content. The viewer gets an in-depth look at both the ape and human sides. The female characters are delegated to a lesser role for the most part, with Keri Russell given almost nothing to do.
Where does Dawn of the Planet of the Apes fit in the overall timeline? It’s (obviously) a direct sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes, set approximately ten years later. These two films are a kind of sideways step over from the original Escape from and Conquest of movies, an alternate reality version of events that makes a bit more sense, at least scientifically–the quality of the technobabble is better.
I do miss the movement forward and backward through time that the original cycle included. Time travel and time loops are some of my favorite movie features, and this version has eliminated that piece of things, at least so far. Maybe the third movie in the planned trilogy will introduce a time travel element, and bring things full circle . . . ?
As a side note, the work of John Chambers (portrayed by John Goodman in the movie Argo), who won an Oscar for creating the ape makeup for the original Planet of the Apes, has not been in any way invalidated by this new movie. Instead, consider that his ground-breaking work is the foundation that made it all possible.
Recommended for science fiction fans. Strongly recommended for Planet of the Apes fans and Andy Serkis/Motion capture fans.
Written by Elektra Hammond