Apes Strong Together!
Ten years after a man-made simian flu epidemic has decimated the human population on Earth, Ceasar (Andy Serkis) and his genetically enhanced simian pals have established a colony of their own in Muir Woods National Park outside San Francisco. But their existence comes under threat by a small group of humans, headed up by the good-natured Malcolm (Jason Clarke), who want to restart a hydroelectric dam in order to restore power to the city.
When young ape Ash is shot and wounded by Carver (Kirk Acevedo), a member of Malcolm’s group, Caesar’s leadership and loyalty is called into question by Koba (Toby Kebbell), the bonobo chimp that Ceasar saved during their flight from captivity a decade ago. Wanting no ape blood spilled, Ceasar brokers a deal with the humans: they can repair the dam, but only if the humans in the city leave the colony alone in return.
Ceasar, however, is unaware that Dreyfus (Gary Oldman), the humans’ self-appointed leader, is preparing to wipe out the apes using a cache of weapons stored in an armory. But there’s an even greater threat closer to home. Still nursing the physical and psychological scars of being tortured and kept locked in a cage by humans, Koba plots to dethrone Ceasar and convince Blue Eyes (Nick Thurston), the ape leader’s impressionable son, to join him on a devastating attack on the city’s unsuspecting inhabitants…
Explosive! Exhilarating! Epic!
This sequel to 2011’s surprise hit Rise of the Planet of the Apes is everything a cinema blockbuster should be, and amazingly its even better than its predecessor. The motion capture effects are so darn impressive that its impossible not to get caught up in the riveting story or be won over by the nuanced performances that come through the digitally-created simian characters, especially Serkis’s heroic Ceasar and Kebbell’s vengeful Koba.
If there is one criticism its with Alexander (Kodi Smit-McPhee), Malcolm’s teenage son, whose story ends up getting lost in the 3D fray. He does however get to share some quality screen time with one of my favourite simian characters, Maurice the orangutan (named after Maurice Evans, the British actor who played Dr Zaius in Planet of the Apes).
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes certainly does share the same nihilistic themes that were key to the final films of the original franchise, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1971) and Battle of the Planet of Apes