Dawn of The Planet of The Apes Review

Posted in On DVD by - December 01, 2014
Dawn of The Planet of The Apes Review

When Dawn’s predesccessor Rise came out in Summer 2011, it was one of the biggest suprises of the year.  I did not have high expectstions but it ended up being one of my favorite movies of that year. Following that, I had high expectations for Dawn of The Planet of The Apes. Dawn easily supassed them with brilliant CGI and motion capture, fantastic direction, cinematography and script coupled with great performances and an incredible musical score that add up to one of the best movies to come out so far in 2014.

Dawn of The Planet of The Apes is set 10 years after Rise when the Simian flu has wiped out most of humanity. The apes lead by Ceaser (Andy Serkis) have established a large living area  and have not had contact with the humans in years. Eventually, they run into a group of humans led by Malcom (Jason Clarke) and his wife Elle (Keri Russell). The two groups clash and the humans run back to their small civilization led by Dreyfuss (Gary Oldman). The apes follow them and warn the humans to stay or else war will follow. The humans can’t do that because the apes live near a power plant that they need acess to. Malcom leads a group there and forms an uneasy truce with Ceaser but tensions simmer among the other apes.

From the opening sequence that is mainly dialogue free with the apes using sign language to communicate (it is subtitled), Dawn is very impressive. From the performance capture on the Apes themselves to the musical score, it is a very good opening sequence that foreshadows the quality level to come.  While the rest of the first act is slower with a lot of setup there stil are scenes like the opening’s quality. Then, a few scenes happen and Apes kicks into high gear and stays in it for the rest of the runtime. What follows is a mix of stunning action and powerful emotional moments. Tbere is one action set-piece around the midpoint that is brilliantly done inlcuding 2 shots that are two of the best and most striking shots of the year. These shots are mostly due to the incredible CGI. Using the combination of the actors and their movements and the animators, the CGI is life-like and shows the techinal prowess able in modern day cinema. However, besides the one already mentioned, the other action scenes are stunning. There are beautifully shot and are not in shakey cam so the individual movementa of the actors in the motion-capture suits and it looks excellent.

However, it is not just due to this technical mastery that Apes works. There are a lot of incredibly powerful emotional moments. Lots of these moments are silent and some of them are between the apes. This shows the ability and talent of the director, visual effects team and composer’s level of talent and mastery of their work. There are other moments like this involving humans and they also work excellently.

While the score and script helps, it is mainly the actors both in the motion-capture suits and outside of. Andy Serkis once again proves he is one of the best in the business for motion capture as he delivers the best performance of his carrer. One of the biggest surpasss though is Toby Kebbel as Koba. Koba is one of the best villians of 2014 and Kebbel gives an excellent performance. The dynamic between alpha and Caesar leads to some of the best scenes of the movie. The human cast is great as well. Jason Clarke is great and has several fantastic scenes. Keri Russel is very good as well. The standout among the humans is Gary Oldman. He is fantastic and nails one of the best and most emotional scenes in the movie. Overall, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is easily one of the best movies of the year with brilliant CGI, incredible levels of emotion and a great cast.

Dawn of The Planet of The Apes is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief strong language. I give Dawn of The Planet of The Apes a dawning A.

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