Overall Grade: (A+)
An exceptional sequel that used breathtaking special-effects to tell a dramatic and intriguing tale of adventure, survival and trust.
“DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES” continues years after the events in the first film and delves deeper into the repercussions on the make-up of civilization the prior entry began.
The remaining humans live by a new set of rules to ensure their survival and the apes have sought refuge in the deep forests. Spending years apart from one another both have accepted and adjusted to their new way of life, both sides still extremely weary of one another and both considering the other and enemy.
As the inevitability of running out of power becomes an up and coming fact the humans will journey out into the forests in search of a power station they hope will ensure their group power for months to come. While searching for this station they encounter the apes and when shots are fired a sudden uneasiness between the two sides will rear its head. In order to survive and use the power station for their needs the humans will form an uneasy treaty with apes as they work under their ever watchful supervision. While both sides resist the inevitable fact that they may need one another to survive.
There were so many strong aspects to this film it is hard to decide where to start. I guess it all comes down to a compelling story-line and this one certainly had one. It was grand in scope and told and intricate tale of how life had changed since the first film, and the current state of the human/ape dynamic. There were so many suspenseful and dramatic moments it would have been hard to count them. That is not to mention the tense scenes that developed from the extremely well written script that kept you completely enthralled.
The cast was excellent with their performances. Jason Clarke stepped in and made for a convincing leading man. Veteran and excellent character actor Gary Oldman was strong in his performance but was clearly relegated more to a strong side character. It would have been nice to see him worked more into the framework of the script. Clarke was believable and conveyed all the needed emotions for the plot of the film and was able to provide the viewer some fantastic chemistry with Serkis who played the role of Ceaser. With his performance and the state-of-the-art CGI it resulted in a seamless visual flow and pure intrigue.
The level of detail in the complexity of the script and the detail of the few subplots was matched only by the top-notch level of the special-effects created for this sequel. Movies of the past with this amount of CGI can often have the feel of an animated scene no matter how detailed it may be. The look, motions and expressions by the apes in this film were so detailed you would forget they were in fact not real apes to begin with, let alone the fine detail taken into the skin, creation of a language and realism of the apes movements.
Using great capture motion technology and special-effects the addition of the apes in this film were spectacular. The many scenes where Ceaser asserts his dominance with mere expression alone all land perfected and deliver their intended message. All of these aspect made this film hard to take your eyes off of from start-to-finish. Unlike the ‘popcorn flicks’ of the summer season this one boasted all the stunning visuals you would come to expect, but the real surprise that truly make this an excellent movie was the grand scope of the story-line, the attention to every detail and clear ambition you can only appreciate.
The quality of this film carries over into the settings and locations. The landscape of the planet, how the cities have eroded, forests taken over and without question the design of the apes home were nothing short of spectacular. The creativity can be seen and with the current state of cinema being flooded by post-apocalyptic themes, this film managed to keep a look all to its own. Using lighting, angles and weather elements the director was able to capture the true somber feel that was intended.
Added with the great locations, dramatic moments, skilled writing and unparalleled special-effects was a story-line the built suspense and adequately paid it off with climactic and well orchestrated battle-sequences. They were well designed and captured the intensity you as a viewer want when watching films like this. With great character development you can truly vest your interest in their outcome and after your attention is taken, the story progresses to take you on an amazing adventure leaving no emotion un-turned. This sequel is without a doubt a must see for science-fiction fans or not.