Film Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

“Apes together strong.”


To simply call Dawn of the Planet of the Apes the best film of the summer, really does is it a disservice. It’s already one of the best films of the year.

From start to finish, you will thoroughly believe these characters are 100% real. Weta FX shop has really outdone themselves here and created animated characters so lifelike that it’s set a new precedent for anything else that comes next in filmmaking. Further lending to the realism of the apes is a brilliant performance by Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings) as Caesar.

While taking place in a post apocalyptic earth where mankind has been almost entirely wiped out by the Simian Flu, at it’s core Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is about family, and the depths to which any species will go to protect them. My favorite aspect of this, was that every character whether good or evil, is given the chance to show exactly why they are motivated as they are. In my opinion, there is nothing a good story can do better than to flesh out the villain, and they do it so well here with Koba. Koba is the scarred lab ape from Rise of the Planet of the Apes and is now Caesar’s loyal lieutenant 10 years later. So it is when a group of wayward humans making their way to a hydroelectric plant and shoot one of the apes who are out on a hunt, that old hatreds start to arise within him. Koba only knows the awful side of humans, having spent his entire life as a lab experiment, where Caesar has seen both the good and bad, and as such he is more prone to being understanding.

Even the human characters, Malcolm, (Jason Clarke) one of the leaders of a band of survivors and his family Ellie (Kerri Russell) and Alex (Kodi Smit-McPhee) are all well fleshed out, sympathetic in their plight and understanding people. Dreyfus, (Gary Oldman) another of the human leaders, is a little less likeable, but nevertheless a well written character with his own back story that fuels his motivations in a manner that even though you might disagree with, at least you can relate to on some primal level. One of my favorite elements to the movie was that it had that one character in the tribe who is just a complete prick with a chip on their shoulder that cause problems for everybody else. Carver, (Kirk Acevedo) is such a character. You know this person, every tribe has one, the person who mouths off, is unnecessarily violent and is just overall unbearable. But even this character gets a bit of dialogue to explain himself. That’s what makes Dawn so great, every character is so well written here, nowadays that’s refreshing for any movie, let alone a movie about cgi apes.

I could gush incessantly about Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, it’s well written, acted, directed and looks absolutely stunning. It is everything a film should be and in a day when giant transforming robots rule the box office, still manages to do something you haven’t seen before; like watching a crazed ape on horseback jump through six foot flames while duel wielding machine guns.

Yeah. That happens.

-Sock Talk Jon-

Bonus Features:

I have been doing these 20-25 minute fan art sketches for this movie all week, enjoy!

Paint_104 Paint_105 Paint_106

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