Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

So after I relived my trauma of The Planet of the Apes last year, I also gave the film Rise of the Planet of the Apes a spin. And I enjoyed it quite a bit (to my surprise).  The way the 2011 film ended left me very curious to see where the next film would go. So I eventually broke down and picked it up on DVD during my latest swing through Target. Will this film develop the premise further, or will cause me to throw unmentionable material at the screen?

Ten years have passed since Caesar (Andy Serkis) led his ape rebellion and took over the woods to the north of San Francisco. In that time the “Simian Plague” has wiped out most of the human population on the earth. Caesar and his people have created a civilization for themselves, believing their troubles with humans are far behind them. Well since we see Gary Oldman in the trailers, we know that can’t be the case.

Soon enough an expedition of humans lead by Malcolm (Jason Clarke) is searching the woods for access the local dam. Survivors of the plague and violence that followed have turned San Francisco into a colony of sorts. But they are running out of fuel, and the dam will allow them to restore power. Unfortunately the humans and apes make first contact rather violently. Suddenly both sides are readying for a larger conflict. On the apes side Koba (Toby Kebbell) is pressuring Caesar to strike first and strike hard. On the human side Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) sees the apes as nothing more than animals threatening human survival. Calmer heads attempt to find a middle ground with Malcom and Elllie (Keri Russell) providing alternatives. But events are set in motion and as the hopes for humankind dwindle, we are witness to the Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Good Points:
  • Amazing visual effects bring the apes and their world to life
  • A well written and tension filled story is brought to a nerve wracking boil
  • Some impressive battle sequences for the action hounds out there

Bad Points:
  • May move too slowly in the first half for the action hounds
  • The apes and horses look so real the violence will disturb animal lovers
  • If you are looking for an uplifting ending for humans… look elsewhere


After the solid reviews for this film, I was expecting something good, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes delivered. I was pulled right into the story of Caesar and Malcolm. I was disturbed by the events and personalities that strove against each other and toward an ending that was hardly in doubt. But the fact that I cared for the apes as well as the human was the real triumph of this film. Next to the original 1968 film, this may be the best Apes movie of the series. Stellar acting and plot execution make this one a must see for dystopian science fiction fans.

Scores (out of 5)
Visuals: 5
Sound: 4
Acting: 4
Script: 5
Music: 4
Direction: 4
Entertainment: 5
Total:  4

Curious about a full review, sent me an email and I’ll make additional thoughts to this review.


  1. It is curious how popular films are of humans getting their butts kicked. Even if they prevail in the end, the parts where they first get pummeled provide the audience draw. They must be cathartic somehow, much like the activities of Medieval flagellants.

    1. We must have a lot of unexpressed guilt and watching humans get trounced makes us feel a lot better. :)

      Of course for the Apes films, this kind of thing is pretty much a key part of the DNA of the series.

  2. I haven't seen this one yet, but it's high (top five) on my NF queue, so it won't be long. I've always been interested in this franchise. It's odd that it's made a comeback the way it has so many years after the initial set of films. I did see the first reboot, and it was better than I expected. I don't mind if this one is slow as long as it has a good story. So far, my favorites have been the first two, and then the rebooted first one. When you compared this to the first one I got excited even more now to see it.

    1. Yeah I had low expectations for "Rise" and it really impressed me. That ending set up "Dawn" nicely. This movie really pulled me in and got very tense, but in a good way. Haven't had an experience like that in a modern film in a while.