Title: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Director: Matt Reeves
Stars: Andy Serkis, Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, Toby Kebbell, etc.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a spectacle. In a franchise known for its cheesiness, that has been rebooted and redone several times, it almost has no right to be as good as it is. But, thankfully for us, it is not only an extraordinary summer flick, but it is one of the best science fiction dramas in recent years.
Andy Serkis is absolutely stunning as the leader of the hyper-intelligent apes, that have exploded in number in the 10 years since the first film, while the humans has been slowing declining due to the ape flu. When a group of humans discovers the ape colony, Caesar must do all in his power to prevent war between the two, much to the disapproval of several members of the parties, including the ape Koba, who goes on to become one of the greatest screen villains in years. If there’s ever a time in history for the academy of motion pictures to recognize motion capture performances, the time is most definitely now. The apes seem so alive thanks to their human counterparts, and carry the film. The human characters are rounded as well, given solid motives and emotional depth for their actions.
The special effects and cgi in Dawn is some of the best I have ever seen. The audience is able to relate so well with the ape characters that have hardly any speaking lines by some practically seamless effects. The raw emotion apparent on many of the CG characters, is quite frankly startling. Making the apes as intimidating as they are, in interactions with themselves and the humans, is an incredible achievement. Reeve does an excellent job in his shooting as well, including, but not limited to a riveting 360 degree tank shot.
Dawn is easily one of the best films of the summer, and one of the best of the year. The fact that it leaves room for another sequel doesn’t even bother me. If it can even hold a candle to the depth and heart of this entry, it will no doubt be the ruling summer blockbuster.