Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – Matt Reeves takes over the directors chair for the second Apes movie in the new franchise, and the movie is all the better for it. The first movie, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, was certainly good on its own. However, Matt Reeves takes this movie to a whole new level.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
We find ourselves following Caesar, now leader of an ape colony, ten years after the events of the first movie. With the Simian Flu having wiped out most of humanity, the survivors are trying their best to hold on to what civilization they have left. Low on fuel, they must venture into the woods to gain access to a nearby hydroelectric dam, hoping it would power their city. Unfortunately, it’s in the apes territory, which brings them in direct conflict with Caesar.
From the very first shot, this movie sucks you right into this world. It brings you in and makes you care about the apes all without a word being said. They primarily use sign language to communicate, and through their facial expressions you feel what they are feeling. The connections between the apes, particularly Caesar and his family, are a strong emotional core throughout. This movie makes you care about computer animated apes, and that is an amazing achievement. Part of that is the beautiful animation, and the rest is the incredible stand-out performances by those playing the apes. Andy Serkis once again proves why he is the best in the business by truly bringing Caesar to life.
The human characters certainly deserve praise as well. While some of them are certainly recognizable actors, they don’t feel like just actors on a screen. They feel like real people. Their motivations feel genuine. They’ve all lost people because of the virus, and some see the apes as the reason for that. They want the apes wiped out for what they believe the apes did. Others know it wasn’t the apes fault, and don’t want a war that will cause even more casualties. This causes fighting within the human group over what would be the right thing to do.
The humans aren’t the only ones with problems amongst themselves. Once the humans arrive, some of the apes believe Caesar cares too much about them, and that they should kill the humans before they can destroy the apes. These conflicts rest heavy on Caesar, who doesn’t want a war but at the same time wants to keep the apes safe. Watching both sides try to keep the peace while constantly on the brink of war will keep you on the edge of your seat. Even when everyone knows how it will eventually turn out, you want to think that maybe they can work it out.
Overall, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a truly fantastic movie. Anyone who is a fan of the Planet of the Apes movies or even post apocalyptic movies should check it out.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes characters and cast include:
Malcolm – Jason Clarke (Mudbound, Everest, Knight of Cups, Child 44, Lawless, White House Down, Zero Dark Thirty, Public Enemies, Brotherhood, The Aftermath, Chappaquiddick)
Dreyfus – Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight Rises, Leon: The Professional, Child 44, Paranoia, RoboCop, Lawless, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Red Riding Hood, The Book of Eli, Tiptoes, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Immortal Beloved, Prick Up Your Ears, Sid and Nancy)
Ellie – Keri Russell (Felicity, The Americans, Running Wilde, Austenland, Waitress, Mission: Impossible III)
Koba – Toby Kebbell (Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Match Point, RocknRolla, The East, Gold)
Alexander – Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road, Gallipoli, Let Me In, ParaNorman)
Carver – Kirk Acevedo (Oz, The Thin Red Line, Fringe, Kingdom, 12 Monkeys, Prime Suspect, Band of Brothers)
Blue Eyes – Nick Thurston (White Irish Drinkers, Reviving Ophelia, Snowfall, The Lake)
Rocket – Terry Notary (Kong: Skull Island, Avatar, The Square)
Maurice – Karin Konoval (Beyond, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, Tin Man, When Calls the Heart)
Cornelia – Judy Greer (Archer, Ant-Man, Casual, Two and a Half Men, Arrested Development)
McVEigh – Kevin Rankin (Hell or High Water, Breaking Bad, Wild, Justified, White House Down, Big Love, Friday Night Lights, Dallas Buyers Club)
Sniper – J. D. Evermore (Rectify, Django Unchained, Cloak & Dagger, True Detective, Treme)