Down with the sickness. So mankind has succumbed to a disease known as the Simian Flu. After a few years, we’ve essentially been knocked out to dark ages. The apes that don’t need power, however, are thriving with their heightened intelligence. One species and rising and one is falling, is there a chance at peace between man and ape, or is war inevitable? As I have previously made you all aware, I love these apes. When Rise of the Planet of the Apes came out in 2011, I knew almost as soon as I watched it that I had witnessed my favorite film of the year, so of course I was amped to see the sequel. While I do ultimately feel that Rise is the better film, Dawn is excellent in its own right, and it is what every sequel should strive to be.
At this point I can say that Caesar is one of my very favorite characters without batting an eye.
One thing I admire Dawn for is that it actually furthers the story without repeating the first movie. To explain, while I love the Toy Story films and think that it is essentially a perfect trilogy, it can’t be denied that all three films accomplish storylines that are very similar to each other. This is a completely new story, and they develop ape characters to the next level after the events of the first film. It’s almost like this film starts where the movie Contagion ends, and I like that the downfall of man all takes place in a montage in the film’s opening credits, because really, the human characters in this are secondary. It’s all about the apes, and they are the heart and soul of this. I wouldn’t say that the human element is weak, but it simply pales in comparison. In addition to Caesar who is a star, we get a very developed villain in Koba. There is good and bad on either side of the species, but this primate is just bad news.
I liked this a whole lot when I first watched it, and honestly, I like it even better now. I love how the apes interact with each other (my wife and I did the hand fealty thing as a joke months after the fact), and I think it is a pretty gutsy move that paid off to have the opening ten minutes to be without any spoken words. While I personally prefer the first movie, this is right on par, and you can make a sure bet that I will be watching the third movie this opening weekend.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) *****
– Critic for Hire
Want to see where this fell in my list of best films of the 2014? See for yourself here.