DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES | MOVIE REVIEW

It’s taken three years since we were introduced to the re-imagining of the apes in RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, this one had big shoes to fill, the re-imagining was sensational and a near perfect origins film raved about the world over. DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES explodes onto the screen and is bigger, deeper, bolder, more emotional and as awesome if not better in every way. DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES is out this Wednesday (this must be a new blockbuster release date) 9th July in Australia, it is actually not yet rated, I am assuming they are bordering between M and MA15+ (would lean towards MA15+ personally). It is being released by 20th Century Fox and runs for a too short 130mins. I urge you not to drink liquids and go to the toilet before – I refused to leave the cinema and nearly burst a bladder haha (TMI?).

 

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER

 

REVIEW BY JASON KING

Matt Reeves gives us a film with the lot. Whereas RISE was a brilliant origins story of the development of the early years of the misunderstood Caesar from “Apes” canon and how the apes came to be closer to us than ever before DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES is set about five years into the future. The apes are now a settlement in the forests and living a happy and content existence. They have not seen humans for a long time and assume that the virus that was tested on them in the lab and that made them who they are has probably wiped the humans out.

But humans there are and the remaining inhabitants of San Francisco need power, they literally have a few weeks of fuel left and the only way to get power operating again is to try and get the dam back in operation to run the power plant. Problem numero uno, the dam is on ape land. Malcolm (Jason Clarke), his son (Kodi Smit-McPhee), his girlfriend (Keri Russell) and a few others head into the forest to try and get it working. And so begins the contact of humans and apes again. A rocky relationship at best. Caesar is the only ape who had a positive experience with humans, and only a handful of the them at best. And the humans, most of them assume the apes are responsible for the worldwide genocide from the disease. Yep, it will not be peaches and cream.

 

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES IMAGE
DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | CARVER (KIRK ACEVEDO), ELLI (KERI RUSSELL), MALCOLM (JASON CLARKE), ALEXANDER (KODI SMIT-MCPHEE) AND KEMP (ENRIQUE MURCIANO)

 

The script by Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver and Mark Momback is exceptional and nuanced, it is not your typical piece of current blockbuster trash *cough GODZILLA *cough TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXCREMENT, it is a superbly thought out exploration of this new world order. There are a lot of characters in this film and they are all important and given their time. It borders on whether this occasionally lets us down at times. While characters played by Russell, Smit-McPhee and Oldman are all important characters with contributions to the social commentary of the film, I love these actors so much and wanted a lot more of them. But whereas Oldman could have been your two dimensional asshole “ruler”, you actually know where he is coming from. He is conflicted, same goes for Kirk Acevedo, as Kirk, he is a gun guy, and is so frightened by the apes he smuggled a gun and would prefer to shoot first, not ask questions, yes you hate the character and may get annoyed they stereotyped the hell out of his THE WALKING DEAD character but he wasn’t a two dimensional gun toting war monger, he was scared.

 

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES BLUE EYES (NICK THURSTON) IMAGE
DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | BLUE EYES (NICK THURSTON)

 

This film has more in depth humans in it but the film is about the apes and adults do end up taking a back seat to them. Andy Serkis resumes his role as Caesar and the guy never ceases to amaze, he is a unique god in what he does. These CGI apes have more emotions and range than most human actors on the planet. Caesar is older in this and more wise, he is a leader of the apes and has a “wife” and two kids, one born during the film. The apes live a simple life and their village has one real rule, apes do not harm apes, something gained from the pain most of them had during their torture in the labs of humans. It is effective. But what the film tries to show, apes are not much different from humans, they are not all innocent and this is most notable in Koba (Toby Kebbell), the villain. For me, hands down the most striking character of the movie. He looks scary, he is mean, is filled with hate, but again, it is understandable, the torture he faced at the hands of the humans taught him nothing but hate, it made him cruel and twisted his heart.

The special effects and CGI from WETA is just bloody gobsmacking. Constantly I was open mouthed at the wonder of it all. I literally had a crush on Caesar’s son, Blue Eyes (Nick Thurston), his CGI eyes were so mesmerising I was hypnotised by them and his sensitive nature. If CGI can make me get a crush on an apre then it is done good people :).

As the human world starts leaking into the ape world they are drawn out more into the human world until all-out war pretty much starts. It was during these scenes that you start to see more of the original movies of apes on horses, apes rounding up humans and caging them with cruelty and the only thing it was missing was nets to catch the humans in. Accompanied with Michael Giacchino’s superb score it is these scenes that blend the old with the new and gave me goosebumps. On a side note about the score – Michael Giacchino’s humour has fallen into the titling, every track title is a pun, The Apes of Wrath, Close Encounters of the Furred Kind, Gibbon Take etc had me in stitches when looking them up.

 

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES KOBA (TOBY KEBBELL) POSTER IMAGE
DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | KOBA (TOBY KEBBELL) POSTER

 

This film is about to destroy everything and own the box office, I honestly believe it will nearly double the box office of the first one and make Transformers and Godzilla look like B grade straight to video films haha. The success of this film is inevitable and the next film will be amazing. This is probably the Empire Strikes Back to Rise’s Star Wars. Next we will have the Return of the Jedi instalment – but who of us are the Jedi?

Get your butt out to see this one, it is worth it for the opening 5mins alone, oh, and in regards to 3D, not needed, it adds very little and I can see nothing that MUST have the 3D. One of the best films of the year.

 

JK’S POP SCORE: 

4 and a Half Pops

KERNEL KATE’S POP SCORE:

4 Pops

KERNEL JOHN’S POP SCORE:

4 Pops