Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) Poster

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Intelligent and thrilling storytelling with amazing CGI – Science-Fiction of the best possible kind
gogoschka-17 July 2014
Among Hollywood's recent output of mediocre (and in some cases: downright abysmal) remakes of Sci-Fi classics, 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' was the rare movie which stood out, for it had as much of a brain as it had a heart – plus an original approach to the well-known material and great visuals. Having said that, 'Rise' practically pales in comparison to Matt Reeves' sequel: the upcoming 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' is as close to a Science-Fiction masterpiece as a 170 million PG-13 Hollywood summer blockbuster can possibly get.

The storyline picks up ten years after we saw Ceasar and his fellow simian escapees seek refuge in the woods near San Francisco, and although the film's trailers already gave away pretty much everything that happened during that time (and alas, way too much of what will happen), I'm not going to spoil anything for those who carefully avoided watching said trailers. As with all my reviews, instead of giving away any details about the story, I'll elaborate on all other aspects of the movie.

What needs to be mentioned first is what an astonishing achievement 'Dawn' is when it comes to the use of CGI. I'm normally very critical towards the (over-)use of CGI – but the level of craftsmanship displayed here simply has to be admired. It only took me seconds to forget I was watching digital characters (brought to life through the outstanding motion-capture performances by Andy Serkis, Toby Kebbell and Judy Grier – to name but a few), and I can't begin to imagine what a task it must have been for the artists and wizards in the animation department to work on every background and every tiny little detail of every character until this level of seamlessness and reality could be achieved.

But nearly every other aspect of the movie has been realized equally well: Michael Giacchino's haunting musical score fits and reflects the drama on screen perfectly, while the – often terrifying – beauty of the images on screen had me immediately wondering who the DoP was (now I know: Michael Seresin, the genius veteran DoP of such classics as 'Midnight Express' and 'Angel Heart'). When it comes to the action; well, 'Dawn' is not your usual summer blockbuster. This is no light-hearted, comic-book-style fantasy film with fun, over-the-top action scenes. What we have here is a gritty, realistic portrayal of a slowly escalating conflict, and when we do get to the battle scenes in the third act, those scenes are a spectacular, mesmerizing visual feast (and ultimately heart breaking).

But the core of this film – and also the reason why the action scenes in the third act really do have an impact and all the mayhem really gets to you – is the intelligent, skilfully told story with its well-drawn, believable characters (portrayed by equally believable actors). The tragic simian/human conflict mirrors our real – and very human – past and present day wars and social frictions in a very credible way and thus makes this film resonate far beyond what any mere Sci-Fi premise would let you expect.

So my verdict: With its beautiful imagery, highly relevant story and breath-taking effects, 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' is as close to a Science-Fiction masterpiece as its mass-audience orientated constrictions allowed it to be (which – in this case – is very close); an astonishing achievement and highly recommended. 9 stars out of 10.

Favorite Films: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls054200841/
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One of the best Planet of the Apes movie
aheaven200510 January 2021
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is at the same time a great Planet of the Apes movie and a terrific science fiction movie. The way speech is brought upon in the movie is amazing and really brings a lot of reality to something so out of the box. The tension is palpable through the whole movie and there's never a dull moment.
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A Great Sequel
Doublej2000513 March 2021
A really great follow up that builds on what the first film set up, and still features fantastic effects, performances and action, even if they still haven't fixed some of the problems with the original. The big issue across these two films is that the human characters are very one-note and bland. Gary Oldman is the only complex human character in it - the rest just have one personality trait that is well explored, if that, and a lot of them make very stupid decisions. But on the flip side, Caesar is a fantastic character, and I really like how the apes' opinions on humans are affected directly by their experiences of them - it makes their characters a lot better. Andy Serkis is still fantastic, and the effects have aged very, very well. The action is really well shot, and has a really nice gritty feel, particularly in the second half. I will say that the first half was a tad slow for me, but I did appreciate how the film spent time building up the characters in order to go all out for the finale. The cinematography is strong and the story is well developed - those opening few minutes really pack a punch now. Overall, I wouldn't call this one of the best sequels of all time, but it is a genuinely great and recommendable film.
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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (Short Movie Review)
Cirene4048 June 2019
  • Directing
  • Andy Serkis
  • Main cast
  • Special effects (Specially the apes)
  • Musical score
  • Pacing

  • Most of the human characters
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Apes On Horses
ThomasDrufke10 July 2014
The Planet of the Apes franchise has always fascinated me but I hadn't been interested until seeing Rise of the Planet of the Apes a few years back. The emotional depth that that film brought to the table was unparalleled in terms of big blockbusters. I was attached to Caesar and several of the other apes. That movie surprised everyone so it isn't much of a surprise that the sequel 'Dawn' looked even better as they hired Matt Reeves as the replacement director. The special effects are some of the best I have ever seen and the acting was surprisingly outstanding. The trailers looked incredible so my excitement was about as high as it could possibly be for an apes movie. And the film doesn't disappoint.

The film takes place at least 8 years after 'Rise' and the time jump is much to their benefit. It allowed Caesar to step into his role as leader of all the apes and link between the apes and humans. Speaking of the effects, some of the facial expression the apes gave were just devastating. And for me to say that I was on the verge of tears in a movie where apes can talk should sound absurd but its the truth. Caesar's family is present throughout and his eldest son is the one that hit home. When you see him being put into war unwillingly after life changing events you just cant but help feeling terrible for him. Koba, the corrupt ape who has always believed humans are more dangerous than Caesar thinks is also a conflicting character. There is a scene between him and Caesar near the first act that made me feel sympathy for him and whatever other apes were also tortured. Dreyfuss, played by Gary Oldman also stood out for the short periods that he appears. Much like Koba, he is a man who lost so much that he has lost faith in the world and wants nothing to do with the other species. It's these two characters who keep the conflict rising as peace is on the downfall and war is on the brink. The only real weak part of the film is that the trailers show a lot of the important scenes and I'm a guy who watches trailers everyday. I knew a little bit too much.

To say that Caesar is one of the greatest leaders in film history is not an overstatement. When he is on screen you cant help but be mesmerized by the immense strength and gravitas that comes along with the character. Now it is time for the academy to honor the greatness that this film brings to all aspects of filmmaking. I wouldn't go as far as saying Serkis deserves a best actor nod, but I wouldn't disagree if they gave it to him. The performance is one for the ages.

The third act is brilliant in every way a film should be. It was unexpected, visually dazzling, and emotionally fulfilling. It keeps you on the edge of your seat from the get go. It's one of the best movies of the summer and definitely made it's mark in motion capture history.

+Caesar's unparalleled leadership

+Special effects and motion capture are just insanely good

+Apes facial expressions can be emotionally devastating

+Koba & Dreyfuss similarly troubled

-I knew a bit too much from trailers


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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes transcends the Hollywood blockbuster. Rich, beautiful and haunting filmmaking.
swp_198810 July 2014
Sequels can be a worry when coming from big studios. Greedy cash-ins are all too familiar, where rather than stepping further into the world established by the predecessor and exploring unlimited opportunities in character and themes, they just add more antagonists, more action and more noise. It can also be worrying when the original director who helped see a great film through till the end is replaced in the next film. Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a refreshing and involving take on an old franchise and director Rupert Wyatt set up such promise for its sequel. Matt Reeves takes over the reins here on Dawn...and thankfully has taking the film to a rare, brilliant new level.

The film is set ten years after the first film. The ALZ-113 virus has continued to evolve Apes. Led by Caesar, they have made their home in the woods and bred. On the other side of the island (and the world), humans are scarce. The virus has had the opposite effect and spread, killing billions. Those thousands we do see remaining are struggling to survive. When an unfortunate situation occurs between the two sides, war is imminent. But not all humans and Apes agree with the potentially devastating results.

Whereas Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a stripped back study of the science at the core of the story, whilst investing us in the human drama, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes throws us head first into a very different world. The scope is immense and multi-layered. At one view, it's a dead, frightening post-apocalyptic world. At another, it's brisk, dynamic and visually arresting. Matt Reeves has such a masterful handle on every string and creates brooding scope, claustrophobic tension and powerful action sequences; all amongst a basic, but incredibly rich morality play which is raw and powerfully spoken. What is most fantastic about the character approach is nothing is clear cut. Good vs. Bad meet in the middle and spirals out to both sides. I could sit here and blabber about the complete awe I had of the major step up in visual effects of the Apes, but that's not what caught my attention. Right from the opening scene of an extreme close-up of Caesars eyes, I felt the characters. The performances from all stunt men and actors bringing life to these apes transcend the visual brilliance. It is collective. It is immersive. It is terrifying. Andy Serkis delivers one of his most satisfying performances to date. His dedication and his understanding of every thread and fiber of Caesars being are in every frame of this film. And I cannot forget to mention the all-out, aggressive performance from Toby Kebbell as Koba. He breaks the barrier of something quite terrifying and strong.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes transcends the Hollywood blockbuster. Not only does it deliver that rare sequel explores its world and characters further, but it's also richly told, beautifully and hauntingly portrayed and truly exciting and terrifying in equal measures. Quite possibly one of the best films of 2014.
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The Age Old Tale
AbhiMathews21 July 2014
Humans generally have a superiority complex that makes them often consider all other forms of life as inadequate. Civilization has exemplified the mass exploitation and selfishness humans are capable of in the past, and present, on numerous occasions. The Planet of the Apes series delves on this complex. It displays the vulnerabilities of the human race and how nothing is to be underestimated.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will surely entertain. As the sequel to the last instalment, we follow Caesar in his new habitat following the human pandemic instigated by the Simian influenza. In a world where the human population is depleted and infrastructure collapsed, society is broken apart and in a fragile state. With stubborn and selfish humans, the fate of humanity does not rest in good hands.

Watching this film, I cannot say there ever was a moment of dullness nor boredom. Though, for me, there was nothing exceptional about it. The plot is one that we have come to expect and the CGI was certainly state of the art. Putting this aside, it is the story of Caesar and the strive for freedom of all that captures this movie's true essence. Empathizing with these intelligent beings no longer being the tools of humans is one to both support and fear. It is this unique mixture of elements that make Dawn of the Planet of the Apes so touching yet stimulating.

This is a movie I'd recommend all to see since it offers a perspective many contemporary films fail to produce.
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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Review
anthonymora222 September 2014
There's The Godfather Part II.There's Empire Strikes Back.There's The Dark Knight.And NOW APES ON HORSES!Dawn picks up "10 winters" after the events of 2011's Rise.Cesar,and his colony of advanced apes have found their paradise and have built a strong community complete with a school,doctors and a hunting squad.Caeser himself has a family.His wife just gave birth and his eldest son is learning the ways of becoming a man..ape..Man-Ape.One day these pesky humans come and disturb the peace as we humans tend to do and then conflict between man and ape bubble and boil over to the point where we get the mind blowing, awesome stuff you've seen in the previews. This sequel is fantastic.Easily my favorite movie of the year,and let me tell you pretty people why.This is more than just a summer blockbuster with probably the best special effects I've ever seen and intensity to the max in it's action.It's a movie that has a LOT to say about stuff going on in our real world.There's heart wrenching drama,beautiful cinematography,and the best motion capture acting ever put on film. Andy Serkis plays Caeser who is probably a new favorite movie character of mine.He plays Caeser to perfection whether it be a touching scene or a scene where he's beating the snot out of someone. He oozes screen presence.Toby Kebbel plays Koba the scarred up scary ape from Rise and his performance was JUST as good as Serkis.The humans in the movie don't bring down the greatness of this movie.I thought Jason Clarke did really good as the lead human but it's the great Gary Oldman who plays my favorite human character.His performance when he's looking through tablet choked me up.The storytelling also makes this movie shine.This movie had me second guessing where it was gonna take things so for people saying this is gonna be like Avatar or Dances with Wolves WRONG! Matt Reeves' direction is superb, my favorite scene in the movie involves Koba and a tank.There's some incredible shots throughout.It almost reminded me of a big budget Walking Dead episode.The musical score is also very good.This is just a perfect all around Summer movie.I give this movie my highest recommendation. 10/10
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Amazing ape performances, some stupid humans though
Christopher_Reid12 February 2016
Dawn follows on 10 years after Rise. A large part of humanity has been killed by a deadly virus which swept the globe and Caesar and his ape community live somewhere in San Francisco. The apes teach each-other to read and write and most are fluent in sign language. They hunt other animals en masse with well-timed plans. Meanwhile, the humans are in a dystopian society, hanging around in an enclosure with limited electricity and no communications with humans in other areas. In fact, their power supply will run out in a few weeks unless they can reactivate a dam near where the apes are located.

A mishap occurs where an ape ends up dead (due to a guy called Carver) and Caesar confronts the humans with his army warning that they should never again go into ape territory. It's a powerful and convincing moment.

I've never hated a character more than I hated Carver (Kirk Acevedo) in this movie. He is loud, stupid, arrogant, rude, aggressive, dismissive of anything he doesn't agree with and almost single- handedly causes a war between apes and humans. He's antogonistic with the other humans and adds nothing of value to the movie. He cuts off Ellie (Keri Russell), emphatically proclaiming that obviously the apes are responsible for the simian virus (he is incorrect). I can't stand when movies turn to devices like this. It's unnecessary and cheapens the existing tension in the film. The other humans are stupid by extension by putting up with him and seemingly forgiving his countless mistakes, constant risk-taking and unpleasant negativity.

The apes themselves represent a major achievement in film-making. The cgi is incredible although the chimpanzee faces are more obviously fake. The orangutans are especially unbelievable. I was really blown away. It's important to give credit to the sound design as well. The sounds give the apes weight and presence. You don't think about the breathing or the steps or the subtle shifting of weight but they all make noise which is critical to making it seem real.

And the ape performances are great. The eyes of the apes are intense and knowing. Their movement is very natural, both with the body and the face. They put so much expression into what they say with sign language and also when they actually speak. Andy Serkis is the go-to man when it comes to ping-pong-balls-on-a-green-suit acting and he must have delivered here because Caesar is a powerful character with a demanding presence. Koba is also excellent but then so are all the apes. They're incredible to watch and ironically bring a lot of humanity to the movie, moreso than the humans.

The way Koba eventually leads a battle against the humans is very logical and devious. I felt like it echoed WWI in some ways. But there are many gaps in logic in the movie. The humans are far too lazy in protecting a weapons depot. Malcolm (Jason Clarke) does a reasonable job of trying to connect with Caesar and the apes but he fails to warn that the humans are arming and preparing for a likely battle. He doesn't do enough to initiate diplomacy and communication between the apes and humans. Why aren't the humans more excited in finding intelligent, speaking apes? This is a major revelation! A chance to connect with a separate species.

Gary Oldman is one of my favourite actors but he can only do so much with so little screen time and such weak lines. His character ends up being disappointingly short-sighted.

The music was disappointing. Parts of it sounded like Agent Cody Banks or something - like a goofy kid's spy movie. Michael Giacchino seems inconsistent, perhaps it depends on the director or kind of movie he's working on. Some of the more sentimental parts were okay but most of the music sounded tired, contrived and forgettable.

In summary, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a mixed bag. It has the makings of a great film with the potential to give profound insights into how conflicts grow and wars begin. Caesar's growing moral compass is powerful to watch. The apes make the movie worth seeing alone. But the humans are dull and stupid by comparison. The acting, lines and characterisation is weak for the humans. The action scenes are really well done. The relationship between Caesar and Koba is perhaps the core of the movie and it's very well done. Take out 40 minutes of weaker material and substitute 20 minutes of smart ideas and motivations and Dawn would be a masterpiece.
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Apes on horses! Apes with guns!
natebridgeman11 July 2014
This film is not just the best film of the summer, it's probably so far the best movie of the year!

These are the exact reasons why this film is great:

1.Amazing visual effects

2.Great storyline

3.Awesome action (Apes on horses, apes with shotguns)

4.Great acting

5.Andy Serkis is probably the best motion capture actor ever.

Overall the movie was just spectacular. My advice: don't expect anything when you go into this film. It is without a doubt the best entry in the planet of the apes franchise. Another thing about the special effects in the film, in Rise of the Planet of The Apes although that film had great special effects, there were some parts that you could tell were CGI while in Dawn, you couldn't tell if it was motion capture or CGI puppets. You literally feel like you are looking at apes. Anyways, the story is great, it had some awesome action, this film didn't disappoint me at all.

So I will say that Dawn of The Planet of the Apes gets: 10/10 stars
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A blockbuster that takes a bigger approach and with brains and heart
TheLittleSongbird20 July 2014
As someone who really enjoyed Rise of the Planet of the Apes, expectations were high for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. And apart from a rushed ending and the underdeveloped human characters Dawn of the Planet of the Apes didn't disappoint and is just as good. It looks amazing for starters, the cinematography and lighting are of great beauty and atmosphere and the scenery is equally striking. But the visual highlight, and most likely the best thing about the film, are the special effects for the apes, that they look so real and that it's hard to believe they were done by computer is testament to how good they look. The soundtrack is haunting and rousing with no dirge-like tempos and it doesn't feel overbearing either, even with sound with as much authenticity as here. The script also impresses, it's very intelligently done and has a lot of tension and heart. What impressed even more was how simple and nuanced some of it was, like when the apes speak they only need to say a few words and it still feels like it's saying a lot, a couple of times even a sideways glance brings more impact than you'd think. The story takes a bigger and somewhat bolder approach than Rise of the Planet of the Apes and this is an instance of it working very well, especially with the visceral action sequences which are very tense and look terrific and in the incredibly intense and emotional final act. It's compelling stuff where you feel compassion for and identify with every step of the way with Caesar and his family. Matt Reeves' direction doesn't make the mistake of being overblown or lethargic, there is at least a sense that he knows what he's doing. The acting is solid, Jason Clarke and Keri Russell are charming leads and Gary Oldman while criminally underused still gives a spirited performances. But other than the special effects the other highlight is the characterisation of the apes, which is just superb especially for Caesar(who is by far and way the most relatable and most compelling character in the entire film), Andy Serkis never fails to amaze me. All in all a really well done blockbuster, although the human characters do not register anywhere near as well as the special effects and the apes characterisations. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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Best Movie of 2014
pgdeist10 July 2014
Hands down this is the best movie of 2014. It has everything I look for in a movie, I hits on the human condition on so many different levels and evokes emotion throughout. This movie had me on the edge of my seat anticipating every next move. Haven't been so impressed by a movie in a while. This sequel does a perfect job at telling its own story, connecting to the past and leading to a future film, that I cannot wait to see. As far as the effects go the apes are so realistic and the plot truly shows what I truly believe would be a post apocalyptic San Francisco. This is a story of the human race that shows what we all hold most dear, security and family are the cores of humanity and this movie depicts that better than I have seen before.

Do yourself a favor and go see this ASAP.
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High class monkey business
bob-the-movie-man21 July 2014
There are some films you go to see with low expectations and back in 2011 Rupert Wyatt's "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" was one of those. After the Charlton Heston classic, a long series of increasingly poor sequels and a failed Tim Burton reboot, apprehension was high. But how wrong could I be. This was 100% a 10/10 film (if I'd been doing these reviews in those days): an epic and gripping story; great performances from James Franco, John Lithgow, Freida Pinto and Harry Potter star Tom Felton; and stunningly executed special effects, with Andy Serkis's performance delivering amazing depth of feeling and emotion. (The scene where Serkis's character Caesar first speaks is one of my top 10 "most goose-bumpy" moments in cinema history).

Now, 4 years later, we have the sequel - Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - which, given how much I loved the original film, I approached with a similar feeling of apprehension. But, I am delighted to say, I was pleasantly surprised.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes neatly takes over in its opening titles where the closing titles of the first film left off. The so-called Simean flu has wiped out 499 of every 500 people on earth, deftly explaining why James Franco and Freida Pinto fail to reprise their roles in the sequel: in fact it would have been an unrealistic cop-out if either had done. Instead - monkey business aside - we have a brand new human cast led by Jason Clarke ("Zero Dark Thirty", "The Great Gatsby"), Keri Russell ("MI-3's" 'bomb in the head' girl) and heavy hitter Gary Oldman. These characters are trying to rebuild a new society for the survivors in San Francisco, but their desire for power (of the volts and amps variety) puts them in direct conflict with the emerging simian society deep in the redwoods. Much conflict ensues, not only between the two tribes but between the factions of the two societies.

Once again, there is a good story by original writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, joined by Mark Bomback: underneath the set-piece action sequences, the majority of the drama comes from the relationships between the characters, and especially that between Caesar (Serkis) and his estranged son played extremely well by Nick Thurston, culminating in a remarkable stand-out scene between the two in Caesar's old home that is genuinely moving. And another specific callout was Yorkshire-born Toby Kebbell playing the emotionally and mentally wounded Koba: his scenes in the human armoury - think Heath Ledger's Joker crossed with PG Tips advert - are both funny and distubing in equal measure.

Is it as good as "Rise"? No, not in my view. The first film was novel and deep, and "Dawn" is more superficial in comparison. It is also far more of an action film (or "a bit fighty" as my dear wife described it), with some standout battle scenes that are a masterpiece of special effects. If "Rise" could be compared to the original "Alien", "Dawn" is much more like "Aliens" - wham, bang, thank-you Simian.

The director this time is wunderkind Matt Reeves ("Cloverfield", "Let Me In"), directing with panache and a narrative drive that only occasionally lets up for emotional punch. The acting is good and (as flagged above) the special effects are outstanding: the production team clearly saw "I am Legend" and wanted to go one better with the San Francisco streets. And all topped off with a fine and un-obtrusive score by Michael Giacchino.

Highly recommended, and I am now looking forward to the next sequel, planned for a 2016 release.

(If you enjoyed this review, please see my library of other reviews at bob-the-movie-man.com and enter your email address to "Follow the Fad". Thanks.)
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Well meaning, but a bit too full of its own importance, becoming a bit heavy and ponderous in the process
bob the moo5 October 2014
I had enjoyed the first film in what I guess is the modern version of the PotA franchise, so I was quite looking forward to this second film. The plot jumps quite some time ahead, to find mankind surviving in small bands following the outbreak of a virus around a decade ago. Meanwhile Caesar has established a community deep in the woods, founded off the survivors of the battle on the Golden Gate bridge. When a group of men ventures into the woods looking for an old dam in the hope of getting power to their community, it tests trust and loyalty within both camps.

As the title suggests, this is the point where the Apes start to develop rather than just survive, and as such it holds a key point in the series; unfortunately this is something that the film very much feels and as a result it carries itself much more seriously than it can bear. The base elements of the plot are all well and good, with a narrative that expands on war, peace, trust, fear and aggression in a way that balances the apes and humans pretty well. The problem is not that it does this, but that it carries it all too heavily, producing a rather ponderous tone that sees the delivery imbued with too much weight, with all the characters and every line seeming to be aware of the import which it has. This robs it of flow and naturalism, both of which it could have done with.

When the action comes, it carries this same weight. It provides plenty of good moments but again there is the constant sense of importance and darkness about it – so there is nothing that really rivals the Golden Gate Bridge sequence for spectacle and tension. In terms of the technical side of things, it is hard to fault the film, and the motion-capture performances really feed back into the effects to produce more than just impressive computer generated effects. Performances from Serkis and Kebbell are both very good, and it is shame therefore that Clarke is as stiff as a board and Oldman mostly wasted with little to actually do. The rest of the cast are the same – the humans seems overly labored while the apes are generally better.

It is not a bad film by any means, and there is a lot to like about it, even if a lot of this is what it could have been rather than what it is. The weight it carries is evident, so it doesn't just deliver an epic plot, it feels that it is doing that, in every word and scene. This stifles it, making it feel ponderous and too self- aware, which is a shame because there are a couple of very good performances in here, and a lot of impressive effects work.
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Strategy Against War
billygoat107110 July 2014
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes jumps right into the time when the apes are beginning to build a new civilization while mankind is starting to fall apart. What makes this different from the last feature is it once again sticks more to its symbolism. Now this is the real deal of the context, it's obviously a truce between two sides, it is the part that is mostly known as the last chance before the unwanted fate of their world happens. Since everybody knows how things are going to turn out (regarding this as a prequel), it still provides the heartfelt tension of their trust to each other. Unlike Rise, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes doesn't only throw off a visual effects gimmick on screen, it also deeply focuses on the compelling themes beneath the tale.

Whatever legacy that was left from the last movie is the character development of the ape. Caesar has grown understanding more how the world works, his sympathy with the humans remains and he can still believe in peace in them and his own kind. However, anyone else in both sides stayed naive, paranoid on what they're planning to do. It doesn't lack any information, the rubble already shows the crisis going on in those streets and the characters are given their own backstory to effectively define their motivations, thus this is a situation which is far from good vs. evil. The real enemy of this conflict are simply fear, cynicism, and sometimes revenge. It is a dilemma that is a few steps closer to the edge of their trust. And that is how the whole story works, it makes the audience real nervous about the decisions each of the characters make.

Even when it's already packed with a great director and a great cast, the film still manages to keep on telling the story straightly, like exactly pinpointing the allegories without distracting any demanded pleasures that you would typically ask from a blockbuster. But as said, it still offers those elements when necessary. Director Matt Reeves gives this franchise a whole new tone. Blockbusters today tend to be ultra serious and darker, but Reeves is one of the rare directors who could live up to that ambition. He doesn't only bring the atmosphere, there are also some nicely shot action scenes that deliberately displays the horror and violence of the battles.

But the merits doesn't end there of course. The acting is stellar, mostly pointing at the man behind the leading ape, Andy Serkis. He's always been terrific in this job, but here there is more gravity and grittiness to the performance than before, whether it's physical or vocal. The motion-capture performances just add a lot of exceptional value to the CGI work which could totally outshine everything else in the filmmaking. The actors who played human characters also did good, with Jason Clarke handling his role well.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is more than a stunningly made film, it thoughtfully considers real depth within its storyline which results an overwhelming experience even without an excess of action. There is already suspense existing at the complexities of the species' treaty. The battle scenes just becomes the gravy of it, but really, the analogies is what makes it really compelling. After years of attempting to bring back the original spirit of the series, the filmmakers has finally realized that this is what this mythology is all about. Except it has become grittier. The film just triumphs in its choices, which it's almost difficult to call it a blockbuster, because blockbuster asks you turn off your brain. This movie makes you open your heart.
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Good fences make good neighbors
Robert Frost once said, 'Good fences make good neighbors'. I really don't know if you can understand the implications of this adage from his poem 'The Mending Wall'. So, where do we draw that line or the fence? And how well do we respect that territorial pact? How will our preconceived notions give rise to conflicts and lead us to tearing apart our neighbors? Humans have gone way beyond the Darwin's survival of the fittest theory. Our existential crisis seems to have consumed us so much that we are always war torn; at conflict. Dawn of planet of apes is a glimpse of the beast within ourselves; a mirror to our deeds in the past and the present. It is a brilliant tale of obvious conflict between humans and apes. "But, why? And for what?" catapult this movie to the next level of storytelling.

Riding on the wave of success of the sleeper hit and the acclaimed 'Rise of planet of apes', 'Dawn of planet of apes' is not just your average CGI or a sci-fi popcorn flick. Coupled with an excellent story lineup and brilliant CGI and motion capture work, and some excellent acting (from Andy Serkiks, Toby Kebbell and Doc Shaw for their mind-blowing ape-like performances – the motion capture work), this is by far the best movie of the 'planet of apes' installment; all in all, one of the very good movies I have watched in the recent times. Just imagine a set of apes capable of emoting happiness, sadness, anger, rage and so on; unseen and unheard of.

Now, the titles make lots of sense to me, at least. 'Rise of planet of apes' shows how a group of apes evolve into intelligent beings, speak and think like humans do, and how the simian virus spreads across the globe infecting the entire mankind. 'Dawn of the planet of apes' starts from where the infection kills millions (ever played Plague inc. on Android/IOS?). A small set of humans, who must have either fought the virus or evaded the virus, are living off the coast of San Francisco and that's when the movie is set.

As the title suggests, it is the 'dawn' of something at brink. What is 'it'? Which of 'em is going to emerge as the dominant species on this planet? What are the choices they (both apes and humans) make and what are the consequences of these choices? More than often, we do not see movies that have a soul. The soul of the movie lies in the characterization of apes and humans. One minute you feel one of 'em is right and in the very next, you see that the other is right too.

The movie will shock you with its unexpected twists. I was spellbound and baffled with occasional bouts of goose bumps during certain sequences, for I never expected that coming. Watch the movie for its breath-taking imagery, for the apes that emote and for the primeval question, 'How did 'it' start?' A highly recommended film. My rating 5/5.
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Dark times Ahead. BLOCKBUSTER
raahul1610 July 2014
I love Christopher Nolan, He has simply changed the way superhuman,extraordinary thrillers are made. Now everyone is just following him. Most of the Directors are trying to show the dark and more realistic environment in the movies and MATT REEVES succeeded in it.

It is a extremely well-made and enacted movie. What works is the intensity of the characters. Caesar is the character taken straight out of the last installment, Rise of the Planet of the apes. He is the brains and the brass together. The movie is entertaining and includes a surprising ending.

The film has got some amazing graphics. The Apes look real and in every way you sympathize with them. I would rate it 9 out of 10 just for graphics,acting and the intensity of the film.

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Kirpianuscus26 February 2018
I love the stories around "Planet of Apes" in their different adaptations. but "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" is more than a good film from the serie. it has a powerfull, convincing, dramatic story. it has CGI as basic tool and that is fantastic for the art to use it not as jewel but as the right tool. it has the perfect cast. and it is a smart mix of parable, warning, feelings and picture of human virtues and sins. it has all the chances to be one of films proposing the new perspective about the near reality. that does it special. and more than a cityplex movie. but a good opportunity to reflect, in not conventional way, about the future of mankind. and that does it a real remarkable film.
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A Superb Picture Even From A Purist's Point Of View
Dan1863Sickles16 August 2015
I hated RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES so much that I refused to even see DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES when it was in theaters. Last night I saw it on a rented library DVD and I was absolutely amazed!

Let me explain where I'm coming from. I saw the original PLANET OF THE APES on television as a 10 year old in 1973. I waited months to see each sequel as it came on TV. The apes and their world were the center of my childhood. I am an old school Apes purist and I loved the culture, philosophy and political commentary of the original films so much that I truly dreaded the new series.

But this time around, they got it right. From the first few minutes I was mesmerized by the intensity of the apes, the beauty of the scenery and set design, the power and simplicity of the dialogue, even when (especially when) it was mostly delivered in sign language.

From a purist's point of view, DAWN is not so much a sequel to RISE as a brilliant re-imagining of the fifth and final film in the original series, BATTLE FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES. The plot is basically identical. Having won equality and a new start, Caesar attempts to create a simple, rural civilization where humans and apes can peacefully coexist. But when an evil ape consumed by race hatred (species hatred) decides to take the law into his own hands, both Caesar's life and his family's future is at stake.

The thing that impressed me so deeply is that the same plot was far more powerful and dramatic the second time around. The characters are more nuanced, and the performances more tragic. General Aldo, the gorilla bully in BATTLE, plays much the same role as Koba in DAWN. But the two characters are so different. Aldo was a big, dumb bruiser, and nothing more. He was a bully, and he saw himself as superior to humans. Basically he came across like the mean, redneck sheriff in a Burt Reynolds movie. Koba, with his scars, his blinded eye, and his horrible memories of life as a lab specimen, is a far more tragic figure. His sly, Machiavellian cunning and his utter lack of remorse remind me of Shakespeare's classic villains. Watch the scene where he infiltrates the human settlement and gets two redneck survivors to lower their weapons with fatal results. The ease with which the embittered, scarred ape becomes a clowning, playful monkey (just for as long as it takes to get his hands on a gun) literally sent shivers down my spine. This level of subtlety and the darkness it evokes is reminiscent of Herman Melville's work in stories like BENITO CERENO. Everyone remembers Andy Serkis as Caesar, but I think Toby Kebbell's performance as Koba was just as remarkable. And though many other reviewers have surely mentioned it, I was struck by the fact that the name Koba was used quite intentionally by the film makers. Koba was Joseph Stalin's first alias when he was a young revolutionary in Czarist Russia!

The first hour of the movie is absolutely riveting. Only the final half of the movie drags, a little bit, because the film makers couldn't resist the big battle scene with the machine guns and the explosions. Frankly, my impression was that Koba would have overcome the human colony without even needing a battle. He was that clever, and that chilling. But I want to say that as brilliant as the ape performances were, the humans, particularly Gary Oldman as the corrupt colony leader and Keri Russell as the caring human doctor, were solid and convincing as well.

This movie was a wonderful surprise. It has restored my faith in the Planet of the Apes as both a sub culture and a way of life.
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A huge filmmaking achievement
Come-and-Review18 July 2017
If Rise successfully quoted the original 1968 film and introduced a new take on the Planet of the Apes series, Dawn manages to set things in motion the right way, and is far superior its predecessor.

The story is set 10 years after a pandemic apocalypse. A familiar premise to post-apoc films, to be sure, but it isn't zombies that the survivors have to face. It is Caesar's highly organised tribe. The story reminds me once again on almost an "Animal Farm" take, with apes behaving quite similarly to humans, because, as Caesar says, apes are similar to humans even though he hoped not. Therefore Caesar, Koba and several others behave very humanly, each having their own motivations for their acts. I like how Rocket's role was further developed after what he was in "Rise". Similarly human characters are portrayed without a distinction between good or bad, but more likely between protagonists and antagonists. Dreyfuss' motivations are made quite clear.

What is even more surpirising, is that half of the characters appear as Computer Generated Imagery. The photorealism is outstandingly convincing, and the mo-cap actors (with Serkis on the lead) could convey through this technology all their talent as well as the other actors.

Generally, I really appreciated photography in this film. Some of the shots where outstanding, and there where a few single-take scenes (which, however, didn't last more than a minute of uncut footage or so). Even if much of what you can see on screen in CG, this is a remarkable achievement.

The only weak point was the score. I can recognise clearly when I hear a Giacchino score because his "emotional scene" theme is almost the same in every movie or TV Show he scored since Lost, partially probably due to the enormous quantity of work he has to do.

This is one of the best post-apoc films of the decade. I strongly hope the conclusion of this first trilogy will be as good as this film was, if not better.
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DAWN Surpasses RISE; I'm Excited to See Where it Goes from Here
brando64724 July 2015
DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES continues to prove this franchise as one of the most entertaining reboots to come out of Hollywood in an age where refurbishing classic favorites is the new fad. I was such a fan of the first in this new series (RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES) that I actually went to the theaters this time around for the new installment. And it continues to blow my mind in how good these new films are. If you were a fan of the first film, you will most likely find plenty to love in this one. It continues the tale of our species' downfall and the inevitable rise of apes to a position of dominance. It begins around ten years after the end of RISE. The "simian flu" epidemic that closed the previous film has eliminated all but a small percentage of the human race, and we're introduced to one survivor camp in San Francisco where their continued existence relies on jump-starting a local dam to restore power. Unfortunately, their journey to the dam leads them into the territory of the apes. The apes, led by Caesar (Andy Serkis, returning), have created their own little utopia, evolving into a functional society, and they are rightfully unwilling to trust the seemingly violent humans at first. Malcolm (Jason Clarke), the man in charge of the human expedition, stands in awe of the apes and what they've become, and he believes a truce can be reached that will allow peaceful coexistence and access to the dam. But there are forces working from both sides that won't allow that to happen.

I really love this movie. I'm ecstatic that, despite the potential for the usual big budget explosions and battle sequences, DAWN continues to play on a smaller, more personal scale. Yes, we get some awesome action sequences in the second half of the movie but the first half of the movie, where Malcolm and his team are brought into ape society and we see their early interactions, is the best part. Director Matt Reeves (CLOVERFIELD) and the screenwriters weren't interested in making another generic summer film but telling an engaging story that makes sense in the progression of the franchise. The apes are not yet the reigning species on the planet, but they're getting there. The humans are still around in scattered packets and neither side trusts the other. The apes, particularly Koba (an ape from the first film that experienced the worst of human nature in laboratory experimentation), have lingering mistrust for the proved violent nature of humans; meanwhile, the humans are generally petrified at the concept of an ape that can speak and reason. They're animals…we don't negotiate with "lesser" species. The movie plays as a morality tale about xenophobia and our nature to fear things that are different from us, but it tackles it from two angles, showing that the humans aren't the only ones capable of irrational fear and snap judgments of others.

Andy Serkis is an experienced motion capture actor but I really think DAWN is the ultimate example as to how talented the man is. Caesar is his best character yet. The technology has advanced to a point where Caesar is so convincing that I was never once pulled out of the movie at the sight of him. Immersed in the film, I never doubted that I was watching a "living, breathing, thinking" ape. And his actual performance was fantastic, imbuing the character with emotion and earning the audience's sympathy. Really, all of the apes were done to perfection. Maurice the orangutan (Karin Konoval) never utters a word and yet is still a well-built, three-dimensional character. It was a bold move for Reeves to utilize characters in a major action film that rely for large parts of the film on non-verbal communication in a world where the thought of subtitles will scare off segments of the target audience. But Reeves created a summer movie that aims to be more than the average, striving to tell an interesting story populated with strong characters that just so happens to include talking apes who can ride horses and (poorly) use firearms. I really enjoy this movie and I'm excited to see how well the series has done so far, and I hope they manage to keep the same momentum in the inevitable continuation. The film ends at a key moment in human/ape relations and telegraphs what the next installment will entail. As long as the franchise is handled with the same care and consideration (and especially if Reeves continues on as director), I imagine these movies will be some of the most anticipated (for myself, anyway) movies in the years to come.
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An excellent, mind blowing, amazing movie!
alain-leccia4 December 2014
Dawn Of the Planet of the Apes is one of those rare movies that really blew me away. The way it's directed, written, played, everything is just incredible! I recall the movie pretty often and I am still impressed by how great it was. It's a must see and Matt Reeves got his show-reel, he proved how talented he was and for sure, he is a genius! I don't have much to say about the movie right now since I don't have any question to answer about any particular subject of the movie, but let me tell you that this is one of the rare cinema experiences that will forever change your vision of the cinema and what we can do with it. This is not just a movie, it's a real, true masterpiece.

If Matt Reeves, by any chance, reads this review, I want him to know that it really amazed me and that he is a pure genius, with a great talent that I am impatient to see being used again in the sequels of this movie and his other projects!

In other words, don't think too much if yes or no you should watch this movie, the answer is definitely yes! So go buy the blu-ray and watch it and be amazed.

Special note to Michael Giacchino's music, that is and as always, amazing and very beautiful - genius of our time for composition!
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The Art Of War Goes Ape Wild
TheAnimalMother27 September 2014
After 'Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes', I wasn't all that interested to even see this film. I didn't mind Rise, but to me it was no better than a 6 out of 10; It was nothing special. With all the good reviews and people raving about this film however, I thought well I'll give this franchise another shot, and boy was it worth it. This film is far superior to Rise in my view. There are a few parts that could have been done better here; But mainly this film is very solid writing wise and very entertaining. The film develops it's characters, especially many of the apes far better than most action films these days as well. The lead up to war here is done extremely well for the most part. To me this film is one of the great surprises of the year. 7.5/10
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Dreary let down
comps-784-3826522 July 2014
I enjoyed the previous film and after seeing the high review scored shelled out the exorbitant cost to go to the cinema.

None of the characters inspire any real interest.

The story is boring and predictable. With stereotype bad people/bad apes versus a few good men/apes.

I always like a good, post apocalyptic film, unfortunately this was not it! Very disappointed, it's not desperately awful just very mediocre.

I often regret the exorbitant cost of going to the cinema and certainly did this time. Wish I had waited till it came out on TV.

My advice is don't waste your money wait till it comes out on TV or streaming service.
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The Dawn is taking longer than expected.
*Possible Spoilers* I enjoyed the first one, and expected this sequel to be a story about the rise (or dawn whatever) of the apes to global power, as the dominant species on the planet, with the humans struggling to find ways to recover control from an intelligent ape society. Well, maybe they'll get to that in the next one, because this was more about a relatively small group of smart apes, living in solitude for a decade, who soon discover humans still exist, and must decide how to get along with them (if possible), in a remote part of a worn down san francisco. Unlike the first movie, the events that take place probably wouldn't effect the world very much, and ultimately seem...well rather insignificant. Don't let this take away from the fact that this is still an entertaining movie, and well worth the watch. 7/10
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