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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)


6/10: Great Effects, but Lacks Substance
Tuesday, July 15, 2014

As an avowed fan of the original Planet of the Apes films and the 2011 reboot Rise of the Planet of the Apes, it was with some anticipation that I awaited this latest instalment in the prequel series. Maybe I had my expectations too high, or maybe the film is just missing that something special, but I left the cinema feeling a little underwhelmed. Of course, the motion capture effects are amazing, the post-apocalyptic atmosphere is suitably bleak (power supplies have almost been exhausted and the human populace is in panic mode) and there is action aplenty, which might very well be the problem. You see, as strange as it may seem given that the majority of characters are apes, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is very typical in both its characterisations and narrative structure.Directed by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Let Me In), Dawn of the Planet of the Apes picks up the story 10 years after...

8/10: Amazing ape performances, some stupid humans though
Friday, February 12, 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...

8/10: High class monkey business
Monday, July 21, 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...

8/10: A Superb Picture Even From A Purist's Point Of View
Sunday, August 16, 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...

9/10: A superior sequel in almost every sense
Thursday, March 4, 2021

I liked Rise of the Planet of the Apes, like... REALLY liked it; this is no secret to those who know me or have read my review of the film here on iMDb, but Dawn is a film that holds a special place in my heart, not only because the film is spectacularly made (although that certainly does help) but also because of the circumstances in which I first experienced it which I will get to in a bit. First off, I'll start with what you will first notice about this film, the effects; the CGI in this movie is absolutely incredible, in the first scene alone we see these beautifully rendered apes, lining the trees in preparation for a hunt and the lighting is spectacular as well as the texture work on their skin, fur and depth and wetness of the eyes. They feel real, even now, and for a 7 year old movie? That's pretty impressive...

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