Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has something more to show than the usual whiz-bang action that comes with blockbuster films.
The film uses the dynamics between two distinct yet related species, both of which are more similar than they would admit. Familiar themes are played out effectively – politics, loyalty, ambition, and the unreliability of those who appear as they’re expected to be.
Caesar yelling Go! is as riveting as Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) yelling “They are animals!”
Humans are just a different kind of animal. Like all animals, we all want to survive. And with survival, fear and hatred often come with it.
Solid performances from the cast help bolster this undercurrent. The vivid visual effects ensure that the acting of the humans behind the CGI characters aren’t lost. Andy Serkis proves he is unrivaled while Toby Kebbell almost steals the show.
The well-composed action scenes are backed by a pulse-pounding score. The characters aren’t lost in the fray.
On the other hand, the sequel tackles a more conventional route compared to its predecessors.
The first movie has big ideas such as racism and corporate greed, but Dawn comes with the usual xenophobic asshole who ruins things. The action scenes could have benefited from creative and inventive use of the verdant foliage and ruins but you get the usual guns and explosions.
Caesar does have internal conflict, but the rest of the characters are one-dimensional. He and Koba make leaps in language development, which diminishes the power of his words on humans. Less would have been more.
These flaws aside, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes made the effort to be an entertaining and intelligent film. This could have easily been just about gun-toting horse-riding apes battling against the human underdogs. Fortunately, it doesn’t insult the intelligence of its audience.
Dawn of The Planet of The Apes
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a potent blockbuster film with Shakespearean themes that go side by side with vivid CGI.