Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) – Film Review

Director: Matt Reeves
Writers: Mark Bomback
Cast: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell, Kodi Smit-McPhee
Runtime: 130 min
Rating: PG-13

The anticipated new chapter of the Planet of the Apes saga is finally hitting theatres all across the world, with promises of epic battles and an outlook inside Caesar’s life after the events of Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Ten years after a deadly virus infected humankind, the Apes have established an organized and steady society, built on the belief that humans were completely eradicated years before. One day, while looking for a dam that could provide them with much needed power, a group of survivors stumbles upon the society of Apes, which causes a great stir amongst both communities. After much deliberation, both groups decide to work together in order to quickly go back to the way things were as long as humans don’t attack the apes. This decision does not sit well with some, and Koba, Caesar’s closest friend decides to take matters into his own hands, in hopes of preventing what he believes to be imminent betrayal by the humans.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Needless to say, the special effects in the movie were outstanding. There were only a few moments where it could be seen that the apes were added in post production, and this was mainly due to the actors failing to convincingly look at the apes. Once again, Andy Serkis proves that he is very well deserving of an academy award for his incredible work as an actor. His work as Caesar is yet another milestone in his impressive repertoire, and he doesn’t disappoint with his performance in this film. The same credit has to be given to the other actors who also embodied different characters, and I highly hope that their contributions don’t go unnoticed in light of the great Andy. The cinematography worked quite well together with the special effects, and the society created by the apes was beautifully crafted and put together in order to create a stunning visual unity, This helped provide the apes with evidence of their development and capacity for order, which is what draws many viewers to sympathize with them.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The film was not without flaws, and the most remarkable ones are the fact that the majority of the human characters were incredibly dull, and the film completely failed to describe their lives after the terrible outbreak of simian flu. Because of this it becomes hard to truly empathize with the humans, and its even worse when the characters that represent them are not really interesting, but rather only plot devices. Because of this, the ape society is much more compelling, and it made me wish the film had shown more instances of the apes, and not have bothered so much to try to include characters that were uninteresting to say the least. This shows significant flaws in the screenplay, and the film is generally weak in that aspect, especially because it fails to develop its characters in a logical manner. Instead it suddenly gives characters completely unsuspected and anticlimactic motives that are very blatantly just there to move the plot forward.

Although the special effects make the battle scenes of the film very interesting, the feature does drag on towards the end, and some of the explosions and fights seemed a bit forced and overdone. It is not surprising though, since this is a summer blockbuster film after all. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes does succeed in paving the way for the next movie, and it leaves with an exciting ending that creates expectations for events to come.

The Breakdown
  • 7/10
    Direction - 7/10
  • 8/10
    Performances - 8/10
  • 6/10
    Screenplay - 6/10
  • 7/10
    Cinematography - 7/10
  • 7/10
    Music/Sound - 7/10