Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)
  • Time: 130 min
  • Genre: Action | Drama | Sci-Fi
  • Director: Matt Reeves
  • Cast: Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Andy Serkis


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.


  • Who would have thought that Hollywood, a place that masters illusions, could give us talking apes that ride on horses, fire guns, and interact with humans without turning it into a something ludicrous or even laughable? “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is such an achievement. It demands us to take its subject matter seriously and it does so with persuasive reasons. Set 10 years after the ALZ-113 virus has obliterated most of the human race, apes and the surviving humans remain as the two main species. The question of who will rise as the dominant one becomes the predicament as tensions between the two skyrocket into all-out war. The film exceeds just as much in its action sequences as it does in its more neutral moments. The apes are fully developed characters, who communicate perfectly with sign language (accompanied by subtitles) and the writers present these creatures with enough material to make their characters comprehensible.

    The meticulous motion-capture improves the film’s plausibility. For all 130 minutes, I thought I was seeing real apes communicating with one another. The visual effects are that convincing. Just as successful is the story. For an “ape” movie, the story is original and much darker in tone. The comparison of human’s distrust and paranoia with one another to apes becomes an apparent driving force in the plot. Instead of humans battling each other, there is a situation of apes against apes. They too can have differences that can cost lives.

    While the apes garner much attention, the supporting human characters take a backseat. Great talent like Gary Oldman has very little screen time, and is only given one short scene for his character. It’s a poignant moment, but it feels almost wasted for such a phenomenal actor. Other characters are equally disregarded. The center-most point of the film though is the relationship between the ape leader Caesar and the lone human father Malcolm. It is a nice interaction to view, for both value the same goal of peace and unification, whereas the others of their kind desire the opposite because of past wrongdoings and misunderstandings. It’s human and ape nature to fight what they fear and hate. Only the few and smart can see the good over the bad.

    “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is a great feat in movie-making. It is the ape movie that audiences have wanted for decades.

  • I suppose the biggest problem the new reboot of planet of apes faces is that we know where the story ends. It’s good to report that there’s a great deal of fun in the journey though. If you haven’t seen the 1st movie of the new reboot then I certainly recommend watching this as the second movie does assume that you are up to speed with the storyline.

    The start of the movie goes through the breakdown of the human race as a worldwide outbreak triggered at the end of the first movie results in the vast majority of the human race perishing.

    We then got on with the second movie as after a number of years without contact the remaining humans in San Fran make contact again with the apes led by Caesar. Most of the film focuses on the tensions within the ape community and that mirrors similar tensions in the human community.

    The movie is pretty entertaining throughout and quite thought provoking. Not sure how many more movies there are scheduled to be in this series, but I for one will be going along for the ride.

  • If you thought that Rise of the Planet of the Apes was amazing, you will be awestruck by this sequel. It has everything a summer blockbuster should have, but it is much more than just a mere blockbuster. It hits on the human condition on multiple angles, sociopolitical issues, and personal motivations such as fear, family, future for oneself’s and/or others, protecting home, mistrust, and revenge.

    Caesar is no doubt the star of this show and Andy Serkis’ performance as that ape matured into a weary leader of his people improved by many steps from ‘Rise’. Koba was also excellent and stole the spotlight in a good way along with Caesar. The chemistry between the two was so compellingly tragic that it is easy to emotionally invest into them. The humans do put up a really good show, but I say that the apes are the more interesting characters here thanks to the improvement in the CGI.

    I strongly recommend watching this movie because it will be worth your money and time!

  • (Warning: the review contains Spoilers) It is difficult to know what happens to “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”. It’s a pretty good and entertaining film, but it lacks strength at least from the script, and some other aspects. These “other aspects” could well because the lack of James Franco and director of the previous film reboot (another sequel… another director!). So while the film is entertaining and with the drama, amputations occur, someone must have grabbed a chainsaw and destroyed part of the product; and the rest is lost in a predictable vagueness

    This begins like “Edge Of Tomorrow”: devastated planet, humanity endangered, flashes and new informatives explaining things. There are also characters who occasionally mutate as mechanisms to explain simply what happens on the planet. The cause of extinction is the virus manifested in the previous movie, but here ends almost completely forgotten and remains as a Deus Ex Machina to justify the extinction of humans and advance the story.

    “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is not “full action”, but when coming is very good. In fact it has become a story of survival, and that side is behaving erratically. The big problem is that the film should not have been a story of survival, but something more; but maybe the director (and scripts) could not, or would not, attract a more minimalist and dark material, so they opted for a more extreme narrative. Then the threads are evident: in the beginning, Caesar warns that long ago he has not seen humans and probably are extinct; but here the script has to rush things so in the next act we see a fully armed humans and with clothes (so is difficult to ensure the definition of extinction), and soon we see a horde of monkeys riding an ultimatum warning the entire human population living in the city. The notions of gradual discovery about humans and apes is aborted, and the film seems to jump instead

    With these jumps, the film establishes its setting of the relationship between humans and apes. While some critics pointed to the director’s decision to create a moral ambiguity, the “Who do you support? Humans or apes?”; the truth is that there is nothing here that does not escape the common sense: there are good and bad humans, good and bad apes. Both humans and apes fighting for their survival, but they are also surrounded by some extremists factors who want the struggle for mere inertia to kill the opposition. Easy, no drama or great moral decisions of the director, but even the fundamentalists factors serve to advance the story: rebellion / treason in Koba is a bit exaggerated in view of what humans not yet tested their true intentions, and the behavior of some humans (challenging against monkeys) is a bit awkward in view of what they might lose (everyone wants a war, but the reasons for that are minimal yet and few warn that they could be willing to risk all their people). It is a sense of latency that is sometimes banal rather than deep, just as the reflections of Caesar about his friendship with humans is predictable (with the aim of sealing a friendship with them to complete the film with some peace) and simplifies alarmingly human condition (which is a being who takes the inferiors like monkeys to enslave, whereas Caesar says that apes are equal to them!)

    The need to advance by jumps remains evident: for example, the apes had to battle to dominate and imprison humans, but the same can kill their entire army with just a granada. Plus it is already warned that humans will take revenge for what happened (one assumes, in the next film) with all the soldiers and military equipment… something unreal given that minutes before humans had only a solitary with a granada to save them. In the middle of the action sequences and events and CGI better than its first film, we have a correct and a predictable drama featured an lackluster Jason Clark (which has replaced James Franco). Well, this is the state of things: it is still a very good film, but it is very unbalanced [Side note: the unnecessary death of Gary Oldman should be one of the most shocking methods by the writers to tell an actor that he will not return in the upcoming sequel]

  • “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is a smart, entirely grossing and heart warming follow up that surpasses its already seller prequel. The characters in this movie are so well done from the apes down to the humans. You understand the motivations here and you feel what each character is feeling. I feel I got a very realistic portrayal of the inside of an extra intelligent ape community, their complexities, their similarities to us. Just stellar film making all around. Caesar has more depth here than he did in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, here is a father a husband and a leader. He is the mosses of the apes and you see his importance to the tribe every time he steps on screen. These apes owe him everything. I thought I would miss James Franco here but Jason Clarke provides plenty of interesting moments here to make you fall in love with his character just as much as you did with James Franco. The action here is well done and the villains really stand out, you’ve got Gary Oldman who is sorta a play or more a mirror of Koba the villain on the Ape side. These two men are both similar in their one sided view on each others race. Its only Ceasar and Jason Clarke’s characters who see the possibility of peace between ape and human. The movie leaves an obvious opening for the clearly bound to happen sequel. Two thumbs up for this movie, go for it!

  • Following the events of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, humans find themselves in a dire situation after the simian flu has wiped out a large population of the world. While the growing and genetically evolving apes find themselves at a critical point with the human race.

    Dawn of the Planet of the Apes continues roughly ten years after the first film, neither the humans nor the apes have been in conflict with one another. The apes have built a home for themselves, while the humans are trying to come back from the simian flu that nearly wiped the human race from extinction. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes boasts a whole new
    To read the full review click here.

  • In the year of a big blockbuster sequels (“Spiderman 2”, “X-MAN Days of Future Past”, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”) and some very well made art house films like “Under the Skin” and “Enemy” to just to name a few, we might have in “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”, arguably the best movie of the year!

    “A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar (Andy Serkis) 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.”

    If you liked the first part I am pretty sure you will love this one and were in the first part the CGI sometime left something to be desired in “Dawn…” the motion capture technology is used to perfection creating the perfect simulation of an animal avatar, that exudes realistic life condition. In this type of roles the body language is extremely important in actors performance for achieving the necessary realism and believability. But specially in close up is were this film truly excels. The little nuances of the facial expressions, as well as and specially the eye accessing cues which are truly impressive and expressive in it’s intelligence and acting believability. Also the fur movement and the lighting of apes faces make them look detailed and simply, real!

    Director Matt Reeves sets up the whole story based on the premises of trying to make sure that we as the audience can feel empathy with the human survivors but specially with the apes. Without giving too much away the key to the whole story is what happens when two parts, human and Apes, agree on peace and prosperity, but ambitious dark characters around them have other plans…

    “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” was made without big stars…not counting Gary Oldman that is…who is soulful but underused.

    Andy Serkis might get an Oscar nomination for his CGI motion capture performance as Cezar. He captures the essence of an ape that in some way admires the humans and wants to be like them, but is also trying to not loose his connection to the animal kingdom. This is why he speak with apes using sign language not using human speech as much. He as a character is the lead of the film which is very unusual and because successful in its believability hugely satisfying.

    Toby Kebbell as Koba almost steals the film as a sort of Brutus archetype who becomes too ambitious for what he thinks is the good of his species!

    The human counter part of Cezar, Jason Clarke as Malcolm exudes passion and somehow delivers subtle performance that might not get the praise it deserves. This is his first movie were he takes upon himself the pressure as human lead in the story in the past being more of a solid supporting actor.

    As good as this film is I think the next part in this franchise will be an awesome storytelling and extravagant visual endeavor! All I say is that the WAR is coming! Like I said “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is more then just well used CGI, here it is used as a storytelling tool to deepen the family aspect of the characters. Making us care for the CGI creations (Apes) and their fate.

    There is also a bow towards Stanley Kubrick and 2001:Space Odyssey at the beginning of the movie during the deer hunting sequence. The director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) is using the same music as Kubrick ‘Monolith’ sound and obviously is paying the tribute to 2001 showing Stanley, how the correct ape CGI is done. (2001:Space Odyssey from 1968 is a masterpiece, but the actors in monkey costumes in the opening scene of the movie in front of the Monolith can be quite comical and dated, if you know what I mean) and that comes from someone who worships Kubrick. If only Stanley would have the technology of today back then…

    “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is a great movie which not necessarily need to be seen in 3D. This film will bring you back to your childhood!

    For more of my film review check out: http://www.facebook.com/JanuszMadejTechnique

  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 9/10- I did not really have high hopes of the original movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but I gave it a shot and I was pleasantly surprised. It had stunning CGI effects and decent plot but I feel like it still had room to grow. Now, three years later the sequel to the surprise hit has come out and I could not have higher hopes for the film(especially since this summer has been a little weak.) I am pleased to say that this sequel far surpassed my expectations. With stunning visual effects, well-crafted intense and emotional scenes, and a well-developed plot, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes far surpasses its predecessor and brings the best summer blockbuster in two years.

    As far as the bad stuff about this movie goes, there is not much to say. Yes, in order to make a successful sic-fi action movie, there is a certain plot pattern that you must follow but Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is still original in every sense of the word. That pretty much sums up the bad stuff.

    Now on to everything else. I will start with the CGI(computer generated imagery) effects since that is the biggest achievement of the film. I have not seen this good of CGI since Avatar. The way that make it seem like those are real super-intelligent apes and gorillas standing there next to humans is incredible. I was particularly impressed with the confidence the effects department had to use close-up shots on the apes faces and show all of the detail. It was not just the apes that were a CGI challenge either, the effects department had to CGI horses, deer, and obviously a near-destroyed city. I hope that get the credit they deserve for this because they should be given an oscar for the incredible work they have done.

    For full review and more, http://reviewsbywest.com/dawn-of-the-planet-of-the-apes.html

  • “I always think… ape better than human. I see now… how much like them we are.”

    After the magnificent “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” from 2011, Caesar the legendary ape who started the revolution for his species, can show up again in this sequel. It’s 10 years later and the world has been decimated thanks to the Simian virus. This flu originated from a genetically engineered virus and ensured that the apes became systematically wiser. The magisterial beginning shows Caesar in close-up and from there it’s a run-up to an amazing first 20 minutes in which no human is seen and we witness the ins and outs of the apes commune, who communicate by use of a kind of sign language. They have retreated into a mountainous forest near San Francisco, where they have formed a primitive society with Caesar as the absolute leader. They lead a peaceful existence, not aware of the fact that humanity has survived the pandemic. Until such underdeveloped biped turns up one day and immediately shoots an ape at first sight. And that’s the beginning of a very interesting struggle for power between two different cultures with survival instinct, self-preservation and demarcating the territory as a central issue. Eventually you start to wonder who really are the primates.

    Is it necessary to see this movie in less than no time because of the original story with surprising twists? Nope, not at all. It’s not really that exciting and even a normal chimpanzee can predict the outcome. But, it’s the amazing design of the apes and the sometimes real human actions and emotional traits that they show. Probably the fact that the actors are “motion captured” has something to do with it, but it’s still breathtaking to watch. At certain moments the CGI wasn’t quite correct. Especially the fragments of the horse riding apes. You can notice sometimes that these were computer animations. But that’s really nitpicking. The Most part looked lifelike and one can only conclude that the authentic episodes of “Planet of the Apes” from the 60’s were irrefutable populated by costumed actors.

    The final confrontation between humans and apes, with Caesar, again played by Andy Serkis (who formerly also performed as Gollum in TLotR), and Malcolm (Jason Clarke) as the two righteous leaders of the two parties, is of course inevitable. Clearly a sociopolitical theme was ingeniously woven throughout the cheap, ordinary Hollywood entertainment. The mutual distrust with revenge as the cause for the sneaky tricks and treachery. One group is pissed off because the apes are supposedly the origin of the extermination of mankind. The other group is unnerved by the years of abuse in laboratories and a doomed life in captivity. The result, of course is a clash with also some internal feuds and conflicts.

    Unfortunately after several memorable and downright masterful film clips, we’re treated with some ordinary, cheap action movie scenes. A kind of “Expendables meets The A-Team” with heroically swinging of automatic rifles, rockets whizzing around the ears as if the third world war just began and even a tank broke loose. Next to that a big can of sentimentality is pulled open quickly leading to an engaging conversation between Caesar and his son. And then the curtain falls across this magnificent epos with a picture of a real Messiah who parades among his followers. An open end that yearns for an overwhelming third part. But beyond this kitschy final offensive you can admire a few cinematic gems like the appearing of the apes colony in the big city, where they speak to the crowd in an admonishing tone. You could feel the consternation of the crowd after hearing the first words of Caesar. And also the magnificent mimicry Koba used at one time to deceive two armed men. A moment where CGI and facial expressions blend effortlessly. Yes, that’s the reason why you should watch this movie.


  • There seemed to be a lot of audience participation going on during a screening I attended for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. One guy sat near the front and laughed at scenes that were not supposed to be funny. Another guy sitting near me, actually fell asleep for twenty minutes and preceded to snore loudly. Then there was someone who sat in the back and uttered things that made no sense throughout the film’s most pivotal scenes. Myself, well I kept looking at my phone (I don’t wear a watch so I kept checking the time) because a majority of “Dawn’s” running time plodded along while recycling the same screenplay (which contains themes of authority, status, and governorship) over and over again.

    Listen, even after eight movies in the Planet of the Apes franchise have ventured into theaters, humans and hunched over, furry creatures still just can’t seem to get along. Oh and I almost forgot, their own kind for some reason, can’t see eye to eye either. In this 2014 release containing a large dose of bland, straightforward storytelling undercut with battle scenes borrowed from Saving Private Ryan, the apes grovel and fight with each other till no end (the violence is of the gore-free, PG-13 variety but it still stings).

    Containing at times, one of the most annoying musical scores in many a moon, featured as a sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes with almost none of that film’s returning cast members, and harboring sequences that show gun-toting apes riding wild horses (giddyup!), Dawn of the Planet of the Apes reverts to scenes depicting the aftermath of ten years later. In San Francisco, a virus called ALZ-113 infected humans causing their way of life to almost come to an end. In present day, apes are on one side of said city and said (leftover) humans are on the other. The two sides, trying to refrain from starting an all out war, somehow meet to power up a hydroelectric dam set to better San Fran’s power generation abilities. The humans, who live in a sort of dystopian future, form a group of leaders led by Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) who believes in saving the human race while forgetting the apes, and Malcolm (Jason Clarke) who wants only peace and overall equality from the two sides.

    Now “Dawn” with its lush, dark direction by Mark Reeves (he shot 2008’s Cloverfield) and its strong cast, still left me feeling uninterested. It’s obviously well made but at times, lacks any adage of genuine thrills, suspense, or perilousness. Also, I miss the old movies in this franchise where the apes almost looked human and spoke perfect English. “Dawn'” and the previously released Rise of the Planet of the Apes (from 2011), feature apes that well, look almost exactly like apes. They communicate mostly with sign language and speak minimal dialogue (an example would be one of them spouting the line, “Apes! Together, strong!). And now as a result, the novelty attached to what’s on screen in general, is wearing thin with me. The old ones were tongue and cheek with a smidgen of dark humor. The new ones come off as a little boring and almost too serious.

    The acting is decent enough even though some of the characters fade in and out of the proceedings. Gary Oldman’s Dreyfus is a variation and it piggybacks on his RoboCop performance from February. Nobody wines and winces with his line readings quite like Gary Oldman. Then we have Keri Russell giving a deep, subtle performance as nurse Ellie, a strong woman who grieves the loss of her child from the previous epidemic. Her role is somewhat undeveloped but it’s surely no fault of her own. Head ape Caesar is played by Andy Serkis and he’s just fine donning the costume and nailing the operatic mannerisms. That leaves Mr. Jason Clarke outgunning everybody with an amazing screen presence and courtliness as a sympathetic figure in Malcolm. He was brooding and intense in 2012’s Zero Dark Thirty and he sure does shine here as well.

    In conclusion, a mixed review is as much praise as I can give Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. I liked the creative opening title sequence, the opening zoom out shot, and the first set of minutes that felt like they came out of the silent film era. But as successful and long running as these films are, I find myself watching the same one over and over again. Evolution says that we came from apes (Darwin to be exact). You’d think that our species and their species could I don’t know, at least try to cohabitate. Some much for that. As expected, “Dawn” leaves the door open yet again for an inevitable sequel (or prequel or whatever). I have a couple of suggestions for working titles: Growing Tired of the Planet of the Apes and Have Had Quite Enough of the Planet of the Apes. Slammer!

    Rating: 2.5 out of 4 stars

    Check out other reviews on my blog: http://www.viewsonfilm.com

  • When Rise of the Planet of the Apes came out back in 2011, I must admit, I didn’t think it was going to be a hit. After all, reboots for the most part do tend to disappoint here and there. But Rupert Wyatt, James Franco and the rest of the cast completely shocked me with the film they put out and I firmly believed that Rise of the Planet of the Apes is one the best reboots to a franchise ever. Just when Dawn of the Planet of the Apeswas set to release, Wyatt left the project due to the rushed production schedule. RED LIGHT! The man I have just praised for directing one of the best reboots in a franchise’s history is now leaving it? Time to expect a bad cliché sequel. But the replacement that was chosen was the right choice, Matt Reeves. His last two films Cloverfield and Let Me In were good enough (both received a grade at minimum of 75% on the Tomatometer on Rotten Tomatoes) to make me regain confidence in the franchise. But will Reeves’ impressive resume continue the successive rebirth of the Planet of the Apes trilogy?

    A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar (Andy Serkis) 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.

    The opening scene gives you a great taste of what you’re about to experience. There are nearly no words spoken between the apes but you have a good sense of what the relationship is between them as they partake in an animal hunt. Reeves and the screenwriters does an amazing job defining every relationship and how the humans and apes feel about each other. In the first film, the relationship between human and primate is what draws our attention but in this film it demands it by making it more engaging than ever. We are given Caesar, who wants to trust the humans due to the relationship he had with Will Rodman (James Franco) in the first film and we are given Koba (Toby Kebbell) who wants nothing to do with them due to being subjected to animal testing. That alone creates another interesting relationship between the two primates as they go through their own trust battles. The opening scene was impressive and very enjoyable but the other two fight scenes in the film tops it and will have your eyes wide open throughout each.

    As for the visuals, it’s hard not to be impressed with the lifelike CGI apes but the WETA team brought it up an extra notch with the effects being better. But it was not only the visuals that made the apes so amazing but the actors who played the roles. Serkis and Kebbell’s commitment to the roles were truly amazing, especially in the second half of the film when Koba becomes more aggressive and violent. The combination of the two makes everything about the apes flawless and secretly makes you wish that the WETA team made the horses CGI as well for the next film.

    As the primates impressed, unfortunately the human actors did not follow suit but on their behalf it is not totally their fault. Perfect example was the usage of Dreyfus (Gary Oldman), he is gone for huge chunks for the film. Which makes you wonder, why cast such a talented actor if you aren’t going to use him as much as you can?

    Overall, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has everything you want in a film: great visuals, acting and story. If there was anything I would have changed about the film it would be the length of the final battle scene and the usage of some of the human actors, but even then I should remember that the film isn’t called “Dawn of the Planet of the Humans” for a reason. I highly recommend you see this film when it hit theaters as you will truly not be disappointed.

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