Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a visual representation of the desperation of human nature. It is smart, emotionally gripping and cinematically jaw dropping. It easily succeeds its predecessor, but could this film be the best Planet of the Apes movie to date?
We pick up ten years after the events that transpired in Rise of the Planet and the Apes, and humanity has crumbled from the release of a simian flu. The only living civilisation within San Francisco are a small group of people, who are known to be genetically immune to the virus, being lead by Gary Oldman. The Apes are pictured at the start of the film to have a completely isolated community, they have built themselves a separate world, one without violence or war. Both worlds are independent, both driven toward survival, but when they collide, the force of chaos is too hard to restrain.
Andy Serkis is absolutely incredible throughout the duration of his performance of the lead Ape, Caesar. He portrays a character that is intimidating, powerful and cunning. He shows the fluidity of cinema by displaying this figure in such a way that it starts to turn the initial feeling of fear into respect. The morality of these Apes is extremely fascinating, living by their own laws which are bound together by peace and harmony. Jason Clarke gives an equally powerful performance on the opposite side of the story, a character that has no desire for war or violence. Both of these personalities are so similar that it completely represents the pointless need for conflict in the modern day.
The cinematography is breathtaking, the high angled shots, the long cuts and the instinctive environment, every element is displayed to perfection, creating a vibrant and alive world. There are a couple of moments in the film which have extremely long shots, whether it be by creating serious tension or rather surveying the chaos of the scene, it is both brilliant and beautiful to behold. The extremely vivid landscapes of both San Francisco and the Redwoods, where the Apes are living, are incredible, giving us a manipulative sense of realty.
The story is strong, filled with many twists and turns, but the main reason why it is so fantastic is that it is not two dimensional. I was walking into this film thinking i’m going to be watching 2 hours of Apes versus Humans, and I was ok with that, who wouldn’t be? But this film was not what I expected, the various points of tension within both species allows for various story lines to intertwine and effect one another. Writers Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver and Matt Bomback have done a brilliant job allowing for moments of action, suspense, humour and unremarked triumph to be blended so seamlessly. How these writers have allowed us to connect with this Ape on such an emotional and personal level, by watching him bond with his family whilst also taking his role in society to heart, is nothing short of cinematic perfection.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a perfect Sci-Fi film, and is in contention for the film of the year, there are no flaws which stood out enough to harm the integrity of the movie in any way. It is incredibly smart, funny, suspenseful and full of action, in short it is a brilliant film. It conveys the message of the harsh consequences of war, how human nature is involved through impulse which in turn leads to pointless decisions of violence. Sure it is a Planet of the Apes film, but it does make us question how far we have come as a society, and how fast that bond can break.
I give this film 10/10.