I just returned from seeing the blockbuster hit this summer Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and found it to be a captivating and extraordinary epic and piece of work. It wasn’t on my must see list since I hadn’t seen the first one which was on cable earlier last week, but went anyway with my friend who did see the first one and loved it. You don’t really have to see the first one to appreciate this one.
This series has no resemblance to the Charlton Heston ones of the 70’s except in name only. The story centers around the human race having been mostly wiped out by a virus scientists created and some people who are separated from apes in a city. The Apes live in the woods and people in the ramshackled destitute city. It has been ten years since any encounters with Apes and the apes wonder if any humans are left. The apes are led by a super ape named Ceaser and his pregnant wife and teen son. They communicate thru signing like deaf people do with translations on the bottom for the viewer, although they can speak some rough English.
The people in the city led by Gary Oldman, who I like a lot, needs power from the dam which is held by the apes. A small group of explorers volunteers to go and negotiate with the apes who hate humans. They succeed in convincing Ceaser that they mean no harm and just want to use the power from the dam. Ceaser reluctantly agrees. Another ape named Koba disagrees with Ceaser and convinces the other apes that Ceaser is friends with the humans and riles the other apes against Ceaser. During a planned distraction he manages to shoot Ceaser and blame it on the humans so a war begins.
The humans manage to find Ceaser and bring him back to health whereapon he tells them that Koba is responsible. What follows is an action filled fight to the death between Koba and Ceaser that is a sight to behold. The story leaves you open for a sequel of course. Andy Serkis, the British actor who played the computer generated Golum in Lord of the Rings does a superb job here as Ceaser.
The computer graphics are spectacular and the apes look and act like real apes in their mannerisms as opposed to people dressed in ape costumes and make–up like in the Charlton Heston series. For good escapism and a rousing storyline with lots of action and emotion see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Check out the two trailers I listed below. 😉