Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

So I just saw this film, and I’ve got to say I was pretty impressed. Mark Reeves and Mark Bomback (among many others) have created a masterpiece that – as one astute person put it – is to The Planet of the Apes what the Empire Strikes Back was for Star Wars. Caution: may be spoilers? Not really anything major or specific though.

From the start, the film shows an emotional depth that seems to be lost in most modern movies. Despite being mostly CGI (though at times I was convinced that the apes were totally real), we form a bond with Caesar and his close-knit family of apes. Maurice the orangutan (orange hair and flat face) is the Ben Kenobi of the film (sort of), playing the wise teacher role. At the beginning we see him teaching the youngsters of the “tribe”. Personally he is one of my favourite characters, even if he isn’t prominent. We later see him bonding with the human protagonist’s son by learning how to read from him. In a Lion King-esque scenario, we see Caesar’s story unfold. He goes from being a leader during an age of peace, enjoying the quiet prosperity of the apes, to barely alive and struggling to restore order during a time of war. Though, perhaps, the plot may be somewhat predictable due to the familiar archetypes and tropes we all know and love, that does not take away from the film in the least. I found myself emotionally involved throughout, frustrated by the stubbornly close-minded humans, saddened by and then angry with the traitorous Koba (cough… Scar), and awed/inspired by the wise nature of Caesar.

In all, I would highly recommend going to see this movie and I can’t wait for the sequel in… 2016… Well, at least we know it’s in good hands with Mark Reeves. Now if only Interstellar would come out sooner.

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