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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) Reviewed By Jay

United States, 04 April 2014


Jay´s Review

Andy Serkis is amazing. He began this franchise as Caesar in "Rise of the Planet of the Apes." In addition, he was Golem in the "Hobbit/Ring" string, along with Professor Haddock in the "Tin Tin" series (the next two have been announced). As a voice actor, his job is to convey a panoply of emotions using just his eyes, his voice, and motion-capture equipment.

In this second PG-13 chapter of the "Planet of the Apes" prequel, we are ten years into a simian flu virus which has destroyed most of mankind. The apes live a peaceful life in the misty forests of northern California, hoping there are no human survivors. To their dismay, two dusty vehicles jostle their way through the woods, looking for a dam that includes a generator which holds the key to life in the remains of San Francisco, where many human survivors have gathered. The apes are NOT thrilled. Those of you who are familiar with San Francisco will enjoy the landmarks (not limited to the Golden Gate Bridge).

Here is part of the (huge) cast:

  • * Andy Serkis ("Arthur Christmas") is Caesar, the lab experiment grown to the Alpha male of this new generation of apes. He believes in education, peace and mercy. He has taught his fellow apes Amslan, the American sign language.
  • * Jason Clarke ("The Great Gatsby") Malcolm is the first human captured by the apes. He does NOT expect recognizable human language, a sense of justice, nor the imposing presence of a thoughtful Caesar. "They could have killed me!"
  • * Kirk Acevedo (Lots of TV) is Carver, the trigger-happy lamebrain who refuses to listen to reason and tests Caesar's resolve for nonviolence. I really liked what happened to Carver.
  • * Keri Russell ("Austenland") Ellie is a doctor who is also Malcolm's significant other. She comes along on that exploratory trek "just in case."
  • * Gary Oldman ("RoboCop") Dreyfus is convinced the dam will generate enough electricity for San Francisco to recuperate. He has no qualms about killing apes: "They're animals!"
  • * Karin Konoval ("Rise of the Planet of the Apes") returns as Maurice, the orangutan who serves as a teacher to young apes. He emphasizes "apes do not kill apes."
  • * Kodi Smit-McPhee ("Romeo and Juliet" - 2013) Our youthful Alexander discovers that he and Maurice have something in common: they both love books.

Director Matt Reeves has spent a king's ransom on excellent Computer Generated Imaging; personally, I would have cut at least 30 minutes from the 130-minute running time, but the story of human bungling and its impact on an untested ape population, kept me involved to the very end. They included scenes from the first prequel in this new series, although I had to smile at that amazing battery in the abandoned video camera which still worked after 10 long years; I want one!

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