DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
Good versus Evil
Starring: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke,
Gary Oldman, Keri Russell,
Toby Kebbell, Kodi
Smit-McPhee, Judy Greer, Terry
Notary, Karin Konoval
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 130 minutes
Distributor: 20th Century Fox/News Corp.
Director: Matt Reeves
Executive Producer: Mark Bomback, Thomas M.
Producer: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver,
Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark,
Writer: Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa,
Address Comments To:Rupert Murdoch, Chairman/CEO, and Chase Carey, President/COO, News Corp.
Jim Gianopulos, Chairman/CEO, Fox Filmed Entertainment
20th Century Fox Film Corp. (Fox Searchlight Pictures/Fox 2000/Fox Atomic/FoxFaith)
10201 West Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Phone: (310) 369-1000; Website: www.fox.com
That said, the movie starts with a recap of the simian virus that almost destroyed mankind and launched a species of ape, gorillas, orangutans, and other primates who are mentally superior. It is now 10 years later, and the apes are living in the Muir Woods. Caesar and Maurice are speculating that there are no more humans left.
Right on cue, a small band of humans show up in the forest. They are looking for a hydroelectric dam, to get it started and bring power back to San Francisco. When they’re discovered by the apes, one of the humans shoots one of the apes. Caesar shows up with an army of angry apes. One of the humans, Malcolm, reasons with Caesar and convinces Caesar to let him go.
Koba, Caesar’s right-hand man and bodyguard, wants to kill all the humans. He convinces Caesar to go to the human territory in San Francisco and tell the humans never to go back into the forest. Meanwhile, Malcolm, knowing how much the humans need the power supply, takes his adopted son and Ellie, who’s become his wife, along with a couple of others, into the forest to try to convince Caesar to let them start the dam.
Koba, however, is out for revenge. Eventually, he does something beyond evil since apes are not supposed to kill apes and make is appear to be the humans so he can start a war. When he thinks he’s got Caesar out of the way, he leads a war against the humans. His counterpart among the humans is Dreyfus, played by Gary Oldman, who wants to annihilate all the apes. However, the apes are so smart that they seize the armory and start using the human weapons.
Malcolm and Ellie, with some compatriots, search out Caesar to try to bring peace and stop the war. Will they succeed?
DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES is more than a popcorn movie. It is a thoughtful exploration of moral virtues and the fallenness of men, which in this case, includes the sentient apes. It stresses many moral virtues, from family to compassion to courage to self-sacrifice. Also, Malcolm at least seems to possess all the attributes of the Fruit of the Holy Spirit. There is intense evil in the movie, manifested in Koba and to a lesser degree in Dreyfus. Also, some of the battles are way too intense for many people. Regrettably, one of the humans takes Jesus name in vain and uses obscenities that are unnecessary. Most regrettably is the movie could have been much better with some significant cutting. In the beginning, some of the dialogue involves too much exposition to bring the audience up to speed about what’s happened, but exposition makes a movie drag. Also, some of the dialogue and events are on the nose and on cue.
That said, the movie keeps getting better as the story develops, and the ending not only pulls at your heartstrings but also produces satisfactory joy and catharsis. DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES is certainly much better than many of the action movies so far this year.
DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES would have been better with some judicious cutting. The beginning has too much exposition. Also, some dialogue is on the nose. That said, the movie gets much better as it goes along. The ending is terrific. Even better, the movie is a thoughtful exploration of redemptive moral virtues, including compassion, family and self-sacrifice. Regrettably, the movie contains some strong foul language and very intense battle scenes. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution to DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES.