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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

130 minutes
action, adventure, drama, sci-fi, thriller

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP writes:

I'll probably wait for the DVD to show up at my local library.

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This entry created 9 October 2023. Last revised on 9 October 2023.

454 hits since 9 Oct 2023
©1994-2024 Bill Armintrout
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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Rating: gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star gold star no star no star (8.00)

This movie is the sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and in many ways is a remake of Battle of the Planet of the Apes.

At the end of the previous movie, the experimental anti-dementia drug that caused enhanced simian intelligence escaped from the lab, and proved deadly to much of the human race (the "Simian Flu").

Several years have passed. Caesar (played by Andy Serkis) has established an ape society in the wilderness near San Francisco, where apes are being educated and live in harmony as family. The apes have learned to make weapons, to hunt wild animals, and to ride horses.

Meanwhile, the human survivors in San Francisco have banded together under the leadership of Dreyfus (Gary Oldman). About to run out of fuel for their generators, they send Malcolm (Jason Clarke), his girlfriend Ellie (Keri Russell), and a few others to discover if an old hydroelectric dam can be repaired. But as they soon learn, the apes consider the dam to be in 'their' territory.

Can Malcolm negotiate coexistence with Caesar? Can Caesar give up his disdain for humans? Will Dreyfus resort to force of arms? Will ape Koba (Toby Kebbell) rebel against Caesar's peaceful ways?

The technology has advanced since the previous film, making the apes more realistic (less rubbery, less balloonish), but there are still problem areas (when riding horses, they seem to be floating).

The apes are still largely non-verbal, so you'll have to decide whether to turn subtitles on or not (unless you read ape sign language). I watched with no subtitles, and recommend turning them on!

I didn't care for the performances. Caesar is still inscrutable, which makes it hard to like him as a character. Toby Kebbell does well as the villainous Koba. Jason Clarke is very earnest as Malcolm. Keri Russell is good in a small role. Gary Oldman was a bit antic as Dreyfus.

Can you wargame it? There are definitely battle scenes that could be brought to the tabletop, if you can find suitable figures. Basically armed humans versus apes with great strength and agility (and some guns).

Strangely, despite a lot more action, I felt this movie was slower than the last one, and I just didn't feel connected to the characters. It sets up a sequel, though, so watch it if you want to continue with the series.