Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Film Review

Film Review by Jon E Clist
Dawn of the Planet of The Apes

The Premise
A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth's dominant species.

The Review
I reckon that one of the great cinematic plot twists of all time came from the 1968 release of Planet of the Apes starring the great Charlton Heston. If you are familiar with the film then you won’t need me to tell you what it was. If you aren’t up with the original Planet of the Apes films then maybe you should take the time to come up to speed.

If you ignore the dalliance into this franchise made by Tim Burton in 2001, Planet of the Apes has been one of the strong pillars of cinematic Sci-Fi for loads of geeks. Yes Tim Burton certainly did an interesting job with the franchise, however makeup and special effects certainly hadn’t yet come to the level where he could make a big enough jump from the originals. In 2011 new life was breathed into the series with a reboot of a different kind. Instead of starting in the future where the originals had before, Rupert Wyatt took in back to the chronological beginning. For a review of rise of the Planet of the Apes Click Here http://bigscreennz.blogspot.co.nz/2011/08/rise-of-planet-of-apes-movie-review.html?q=planet+of+the+apes

Basically I loved that film and hence have been eagerly awaiting the follow up that has now arrived. I certainly felt as though there was a good potential for the continuation of this storyline. Here we have a five year gap from the previous film and there has been an outbreak that has decimated the human population while the clever ape population has grown. The story finds both groups living in more primitive conditions and fighting for survival. Of course when I say primitive conditions, it is primitive for the humans and yet advanced for the apes.

For me this was a great furtherance of the story. Sure it could have been easy to get caught up with the aftermath of the first film, apes escape and start to cause havoc, however the jump in timeline gives us the opportunity to not focus on what has gone wrong but instead what stands in the way of recovering. That comes in the form of characters that can’t let go of the past, people and apes who cannot adjust their own view of others around them. At this space we see the character of Koba, here is an ape who only knew of pain from humanity. While in Rise of the Planet of the Apes we saw Ceaser’s beautiful relationship grow with Franco’s character of Will Rodman. Koba, as voiced by Toby Kebbell (RocknRolla) is a tough character who is bound by the chains he has long-since shed. It is a film that shows us that pain that is not let go of has to be released somehow and if you don’t let it go before it choses it will hit someone else.

behind the scenes of apes on horses
Then you have a collection of new characters both on the side of the apes and humans that help draw the story forward. in the five years sine the last film Ceaser now has a partner and children. This adds a new dimension to the storyline, however I will say that a friend pointed out that amongst the world of the apes camp, there is a very similar storyline going on that looks a lot like The Lion King. It also pays to point out that one of the best performers here is the great Andy Serkis. This guy is the one who brought life to Gollum and did the work of motion-capture for this first film and has returned again to bring something really amazing to this film. Finding the middle ground between how a human moves and that of an ape. Truly amazing to watch.

Okay so I loved this film, as I really felt connected to several of the characters, especially that of the ape leader Ceaser. My wife struggled to connect with his character as much however I think this is because she had not seen the first film and hence had not seen Ceaser’s character grow and the special connection he had with Dr Rodman. I guess I would in this case recommend that you watch or re-watch Rise of the Planet of the Apes before you head out into this film to help give you the emotional and plot contexts that will draw you into the current place in this story.

The Verdict
A deeply moving film that will take you on an emotional rollercoaster that you might not have expected built on strong performances and spectacular CGI effects.

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 10th July 2014
Rating: TBC
Duration: 130 minutes 
Genre:  Sci-Fi
Starring: Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Toby Kebbell and Kodi Smi-McPhee
Director: Matt Reeves (Let Me In, Cloverfield)

The Extras
Gary Oldman (Dreyfus) was considered for the role of General Thade in Planet of the Apes (2001).


The husband of Judy Greer (Cornelia) is reportedly a massive fan of Planet of the Apes (1968). Greer revealed in an interview with Vulture that that they had a chimp husband-and-wife cake topper at their wedding, while the original film and Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) played on two separate televisions in the bar area at the cocktail hour.