Briefing-A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth’s dominant species.
My Take-Talk about a complete film in a lukewarm summer season. Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is truly electrifying cinema and delivers on the promise of the original, Rise of The Planet of the Apes. This sequel delivers storytelling, action, age old morals and high wire thrilling filmmaking from director Matt Reeves.
I think it would primitive to go ahead and hand an Oscar of some kind to Andy Serkis for his amazing motion capture work as the leader of the apes, Caesar. Look, it’s not as easy as stepping into a green room with a tight speedo outfit on and creating emotion. You have to make it look great and connect all the dots of a character that won’t be finished and fully realized for months after your work is over. Serkis brings Caesar to life through movement, memorable facial expressions and a deep voice that will command your attention when you hear it.
The cast is aces across the deck. I remember the fantastic Jason Clarke from Showtime’s brilliant series Brotherhood, but many will recognize him from Zero Dark Thirty. He plays the everyman here to has to work with the Caesar in bringing order back to the world. Keri Russell is co-starring on the FX hit The Americans right now but she is strong and believable here as the doctor and wife of Clarke’s scientist/researcher. Gary Oldman is the tireless emotionally fried military honcho desperate to end the suffering for his country. After the events of the first film, a virus was unleashed on the human race and much of the population across the world has been wiped out. Women, kids, and families. Before we are quick to label Oldman’s old lion a fatalist, you will respect his reasons and grow a bit closer to him. Reeves and the screenwriting team(Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver) do a great job of developing every character and making you feel for them in the 130 minute running time. There’s something unique about a summer action film that dares to be provocative and not just deliver the thrills and leave us alone.
The movie is about a world where apes and humans are learning to live with one another and its a play on the hardship of peace. Sometimes, due to the nature of a particular race, peace is the hardest thing in life to fathom. Reeves doesn’t forget about that ideal and like the first film, the story plays out like a Greek tragedy with a bit of redemption. There are brutal scenes in this movie that will challenge the viewer. There will be people who will write this movie off as “that stupid movie about apes” and those moviegoers will be painfully missing out. This movie is an experience and remains that way days after seeing it.
The heart and soul of the film is the relationship between Clarke’s human and Serkis’ Caesar. Both are creatures trying to protect their families and dealing with the overriding elements of their fellow race. It’s like they are fighting every urge in the world in order to see the light at the end of the tunnel. A scene near the end between the two is brilliantly captured and shows how hard equality can be and the price that comes with chasing it. If I sound heavy, that’s due to this film taking a summer action blast approach and delivering something deeper that was unexpected.
Watch this movie. It’s got it all. Action, humor, sadness, drama, spectacle, excitement and maybe a little more humanity than expected. And please, get Serkis an award.