Thursday, July 10, 2014

Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, reigns as the King Kong of this Summer’s Blockbusters”.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes picks up 10 years after the events of Rise of the Planet of the Apes with Caesar now leading the band of apes that made their escape from the San Francisco lab on that fateful day 10 years prior.  The film opens with a montage of maps, trajectory routes, news snippets and speeches from various government leaders. The audience gains insight into the destruction of the virus dubbed The Simian Flu  and how things came to be.
There are very few survivors left  as a result of the virus severely crippling the immune systems of the infected. The virus reaped devastating affects on  individuals similar to the way that HIV/ Aids affects individuals today. Those remaining , are alive at the start of the film due to a natural immunity that was built up to the virus, but things are not okay.  The survivors have banded together in the wasteland of where downtown San Francisco used to be and are living without electricity, scarceness of food and water. With supplies dwindling a ragtag group of survivors decides to set out and make contact with Caesar; in a desperate attempt to get access to an old dam/ electrical facility. From there the humans hope to be able to restore power to the  San Francisco bay and connect with the outside world.
Caesar is still grieving over the events of  Rise and is in a place of uncertainty regarding his thoughts on humans. Although his emotions are uncertain, Caesar has remained steadfast in his cause to unite his ape brethren and protect them at all costs. Much of Caesar's struggle is reminiscent to that of the late Civil Rights Leader Malcolm X. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a true classic sci-fi movie in the sense that it is smart, emotionally deep, exciting, beautiful to behold, and culturally relevant, Dawn is quite simply a great film.

 Rupert Wyatt’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the first film in this rebooted series, catered more towards  Hollywood-storytelling and“homages” to the original 1960s-1970s films. While incoming director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Let Me In) rather solidifies the strong foundation of the first film and improves on everything else in a hugely gratifying way in Dawn. This film is truly a return to greatness for the franchise.

As stated before, In Dawn, Andy Serkis is now rightfully front and center as Caesar, the leader of the small group of apes who were granted intelligence, language, and eventually their freedom in the previous movie. A decade has passed since then, and as was predicted at the end of Rise, human civilization has fallen in the wake of the Simian Flu -- fittingly enough, the same virus that enabled Caesar’s kind to rise.  Director Matt Reeves depicts the end of the world as we know it in a chilling opening credits montage that ties events closely to the real world.)While mankind has suffered and mostly died off over the past 10 years, the apes have flourished. In the forests north of San Francisco, an ape city of a kind has taken root, carved into the lush woods and waterfalls of the landscape.
 Caesar’s people, who now communicate through a mix of limited speech, signing, and body language and by the way, it’s impressive just how much Reeves uses subtitles in what is, after all, a summer tent pole picture -- have established a virtual paradise here, living off the land, hunting, and growing their tribe. The ape children attend school, where Maurice, the orangutan from Rise and Caesar’s trusted adviser, teaches lessons such as “Ape will not kill ape.” Of course this is a notion that will have great significance as the film progresses.This paradise is threatened, however, when a ragtag group of humans arrive on the scene. They represent a small pocket of survivors who were immune to the Simian Flu, and this particular group, led by Gary Oldman’s Dreyfus and Jason Clarke’s Malcolm, are out of options. They need Caesar’s help, or at least his permission, to access an old dam that will restore power to San Francisco… or what’s left of it, anyway.

It's safe to say that Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will go down as an Oscar worthy Summer Blockbuster Performance. It has the right ingredients of action, adventure and special effects while also tackling the big issues and topics such as Racism Xenophobia, Bigotry,Superiority,Fear,Hate,Trust,Love,Redemption
Hope,War,Family ,Friends and the spirit of goodness in people. This film is highly recommended because it has all of the above plus it pays rightful homage to the 1960's-1970's films without coming across to hokey or cheesy. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is simply amazing and a worthy predecessor to the original. At the end of the day it will give the fans a sequel that rivals the original films.