News

REVIEW: ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ is the best yet

REVIEW: ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ is the best yet

Photo: YouTube

Genre: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi | Run Time: 130 min | Rated: PG-13
Director: Matt Reeves | Starring: Gary Oldman, Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Keri Russell

By: George Wolf

You can officially forget Dr. Zaius. In fact, if you think Rupert Wyatt’s impressive Rise of the Planet of the Apes from 2011 was the best that particular series could possibly do, you can forget that, too. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is an evolution to a far superior breed of film artistically, visually and emotionally.

The devastating truths of prejudice, bias, fear and powerlust are the foundational planks of any great piece of political theater, dating back to Shakespeare (fittingly) and before. Director Matt Reeves (Let Me In, Cloverfield), along with his team of writers, respects this. It is respect for the content that elevated the previous installment so far above franchise efforts as well as audience expectations.

With that respect and those expectations now established, Reeves picks up Wyatt’s themes and expamds them with breathtaking expertise. The Simian Flu – the virus that gave Caesar (Andy Serkis) and other lab apes exceeding intelligence – proved catastrophic to the human population. Ten years after the outbreak and the “incident on the Golden Gate Bridge”, the apes are thriving in their own society in a forest beyond the city. Meanwhile, what’s left of the city’s human population struggles to survive.

Wisely, Reeves doesn’t pick sides, and in leaving judgment behind we’re able to see this thrilling Man V Ape escapade for its larger historical and human relevance.

These elements coursing beneath the surface of his film help to explain its profound impact, but it’s what’s layered on top that thrills.

In utterly stunning 3D, Reeves fills the expanse of his screen with fascinating and startling images, action sequences and set pieces at once familiar and unlike anything else unspooling this summer. Once again, you forget that half the drama before you erupts between CGI images and trained animals – the image is that true, the drama that compelling.

Dawn is as convincing on every front, even when it has no business succeeding. It is so loud, brutal, and committed to its premise that you cannot but surrender to the chaos. Equally successful as summer blockbuster and political allegory, the film is as well written in both arenas as any you will find.

Darker, more intense and deeply satisfying, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes takes a good thing and makes it better.

Verdict 4 Stars

Recent Headlines

10 hours ago in Viral Videos

An honest trailer for ‘X-Men: The Animated Series’

16-overlay-9

Before you see "X-Men: Apocalypse," relive the '90s cartoon that you still remember - and the theme song that you can't get out of your head.

11 hours ago in Entertainment

Judge denies motion for new Gawker-Hulk Hogan trial

hulk84135568722

A Florida judge has denied Gawker's motion for a new trial in the Hulk Hogan sex-video case and won't reduce a $140 million jury verdict.

17 hours ago in Entertainment

Depp back as Mad Hatter in ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’

22-overlay-3

The movie follows on from the 2010 box office hit "Alice in Wonderland," which starred Depp alongside Australian actress Mia Wasikowska as the titular heroine and Oscar nominee Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen.

18 hours ago in Music

Nikki Sixx ‘turns his back’ on Motley Crue

nikkisixx961740673643

Drummer Tommy Lee says he hasn't heard from Sixx since the L.A. show on New Year's Eve, and the bassist made it pretty clear he didn't want to stay in contact.

18 hours ago in Entertainment

Fans campaign to give Captain America a boyfriend

twitter

TRENDING ON TWITTER: An online campaign emerges calling for significant LGBT characters in superhero movies. But dissenters weigh in, too.