Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – Review
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – Movie Review
Amidst religious and political divisions in our society, ‘Dawn of Apes’ (DOA) gives a deepful, and rather poignant, insight into the struggle for peace and cohesion. With the analogy of Apes, Matt Reeve’s examines two groups (the apes and humans) and creates a web of parallelism, which equates an Ape to an human and vice versa. It’s deep stuff, which is propelled along with a heavy emotional core that’s complimented beautifully with stunning visuals. DOA is such a compelling film because it’s direction is rare, it has the CGI and bombastic end fight, but this is all secondary to a deep character plot that fixates upon developing the characters. The characters and plot take precedence and this is why DOA is a great film, it’s fun and action packed, but clever when it needs to be and hits every tone correct. It’s a better sequel, and thus contributes to 2014’s list of films that outdo its predecessor. However, the film is not without fault, some characters are nothing but plot devices and this is a glaring issue, especially when these characters have nothing really to contribute towards the IQ or spectacle of the film. Gary Oldman is severely lacking screen time and the finale lacks some of the heart of the previous 1hr 30 minutes as it succumbs to a generic, destructive boss fight – a “must-have” for big summer blockbusters; but for this film, it cheapens it as it is threatened to be reduced to another summer blockbuster, rather than an intelligent contribution to the science fiction genre. Nevertheless, these issues mainly take place right at the end and are relatively minute. DOA remains to be one of the best, if not the second best ‘Apes’ film as it indulges in nostalgia with plot twists and turns like the original 68′ version. It’s fun and emotionally heavy, making it one of the most intelligent summer blockbusters as of recent.
Andy Serkis delivers, yet again, a stunning performance as he portrays Caesar’s mannerisms very precisely – so much so that Serkis is able to convey Caesar’s humanity. If Gollum wasn’t good enough, Caesar shows why Andy Serkis deserves to be recognised as a truly great actor, despite his unorthodox approach to acting. What’s most impressive, is this fluid transition from the 2011 film to this film; everything’s stepped up and a very real divide exists between the two groups. Caesar is more humans and commands the Ape with absolute authority, only to be undercut by the hateful Koba – who stands out as one of the most chilling and devilish villain’s this summer. Jason Clarke contributes to the greatness of this film as his character, Malcolm, is very likeable and dons the role of a peace activist, whilst at the same time struggling to find a means to keep humanity alive. The clash is explored well as his character has certain obstacles to overcome and its good to watch. Oldman is good for the time he is on screen, his presence is as commanding as ever but Matt Reeve’s doesn’t let Oldman reach his full potential as he lacks screen time and isn’t the character you would expect from the trailer. My biggest gripe with the film is the lack of exploration of other Apes, we only catch a glimpse of their world through the eyes of Caesar and Koba, but more could have been done with the Apes in the first film like Maurice.
What makes this film stunning and innovative, is the stylised motion capture technology, which makes this film look real at close up shots – especially with ‘Maurice’. The magic fades away when the film descends into prolonged action shots as the CGI is made abundantly clear – nevertheless, the sight of Apes on Horses is to be marvelled at and looks good no matter what. The films pace is near-perfect, but it slips up at the end with stretched action sequences. The actions necessary, but the climax is a tad sluggish and takes a while to reach. It’s grand, but, for me it uses too much time of the film and threatens to lower the film to an ‘Action film’. Luckily it doesn’t do this, and DOA remains to be an Action/Drama that effectively explores humanity at its weakest and the divide amongst Apes; essentially it’s a microcosm of situations the world is in at the moment – the struggle for peace between two groups who share more similarities than differences. Whilst the action is a feast for the eye, there is no denying that this films forte is amongst the more intimate scenes which explore the interaction between Ape and Human on a deep level.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a great film, its one of the better ‘Ape’ films as it outdoes it predecessor. This is because of the compelling and life-like portrayal of the omnipotent Caesar who is a delight to watch. Whilst it boasts stunning visuals and eye-catchy action, the film excels itself in its drama as the exploration of characters is deep and meaningful, whilst at time touching and sad. An intelligent blockbuster film like this is rare to come across yet this is certainly films. It’s an entertaining film, which I believe is especially relevant/meaningful to our society today. Whilst there is animosity between two groups, in those groups remain like-minded people who share more similarities than differences; the biggest similarity being the desire for peace.