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- Director: Matt Reeves
- Genres: Action, Drama
- Rating: PG-13
- Release Date: 11 July 2014
- Screenwriter: Amanda Silver, Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa
- Starring: Andy Serkis, Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, Kerri Russell
Rise of the Planet of the Apes restarted and set off the P.O.T.A. series in the right direction, and plenty were cautiously expecting more from the sequel. Well, it’s safe to say that Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is just as good, if not better, than its predecessor. Andy Serkis reprises his role as Caesar, and is joined by a fantastic cast, including Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, and Jason Clarke.
Despite being a big studio release, it actually has something to say. It’s a film that wears its heart on its sleeve, and also brings the haymaker blows to your dome. Director Matt Reeves manages to recapture the spark of the previous film and take us further down this insane world. The special effects are some of the best you’ll see this year, allowing Serkis to really own the performance of Caesar. It’s a film that captivates you from the very beginning, and really places you into that alternate future.
Andy Serkis is amazing as Caesar. There is no question about that, and whatever I write won’t match what you see on the silver screen, but I’ll do my utmost. Serkis, as Caesar, manages to be a fiercely brooding leader, yet he also plucks at your heart strings with his love of family. Yes, it sounds a bit cheesy, but the whole badass with a heart of gold works, and it works well. The supporting cast shine too, including Toby Kebbell, who plays Koba, an ape that cradles a passionate hatred for the human race. Additionally, although his role as Dreyfuss is thin, Gary Oldman still manages to shine as well (when does he not?).
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a rare sequel that works, and it does so on multiple levels. The interaction among the apes is so natural and relative, and when its contrasted with the humans, it really helps us absorb our imaginary categories. The apes have human qualities, and the humans are animal-like; through that juxtaposition, the film pushes us to question what breeds hate.
In all honesty, the human characters were pretty thin all around. They’re pretty much there just to move the story along, but they aren’t given enough time for us to care about them. Maybe that was the point, but the film might have worked better if we were able to connect to the humans as well.
In addition, the dialogue of the film has plenty of weak moments. The actors make up for most of those cheesy, blockbuster lines, but they couldn’t catch them all. If not for the acting, the weak dialogue would’ve been a lot more noticeable.