This year hasn’t been the best for science fiction flicks. Both “Godzilla” and “Transformers: Age of Extinction” were met with a collective “meh.” Similarly, the super hero movies like “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” have not quite been able to galvanize all audiences with uniformed approval. This all changes with “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” the latest installment of the decades-old franchise.
“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” continues as the a saga that started in 2011’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” In the movie, a nation of advanced apes have their very existence threatened by humans that seek to reestablish society that was demolished by a deadly virus. The two factions find themselves ready to destroy each other after different insurgents between their ranks struggle for power by any means.
Cesar (played by Andy Serkis) returns as the leader of the apes, but he almost immediately finds that peace is not an easy task and human resentment runs deep in his ranks. Conflict ensues when a band of humans venture into ape territory outside of San Francisco hoping to generate electricity for a nearby city. By this time the human race is almost extinct but pockets of survivors seek to connect in the 10 years that follow the virus. Human are slightly sympathetic and yet fairly untrustworthy, because the consciousness of apes remember the experiments and cruelty to their species. Ironically, the “simian flu,” that nearly wipes out the human race and frees the apes was a human creation.
The “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is an incredible thrill ride. To be honest, a review won’t do it any justice as it is a must see. The journey through a post-apocalyptic Earth is a dark, violent trip that manages to secure a PG-13 rating by having limited profanity and no nudity (unless you count a nation of naked apes). Unlike some of the aforementioned action movies, there is nothing cheesy or corny about “Dawn,” and the chief villain Koba (played by Christopher Gordon) is on par with the best of them (watch your back Joker). Koba’s insurrection is the cornerstone of the finest moments “Dawn” has to offer.
All in all, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is one of the best sci-fi movies that 2014 has to offer. The apes are the stars of this one. Talents like Keri Russell, Jason Clarke and Gary Oldman offer quality performances but are ultimately regulated to supporting cast work. It will definitely be held in high regard for many years to come by audiences that re-visit it. Kudos to Matt Reeves, the director of the movie, for a job well done.
Below is a trailer for “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”: