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Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

July 17, 2014

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (***) PG-13

It’s funny how a film can taint one’s memories, be it good or bad. Take the original Planet of the Apes films, for instance. So many people that I run into seem to have only memories of actors running around in makeup maestro John Chamber’s ape masks, which tend to color their feelings. Any of you who have shared these sentiments until this point only need to see the technological advancements on display in the latest entry of the series, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. The marvels in special effects technology have even evolved since the previous entry from just three years ago and they were impressive then. In this film, you don’t even question that what you are seeing is an effect. If you’ve seen the trailers this won’t be news to any of you reading this but it’s worth mentioning for those who’ve been sitting on the fence as to whether they should invest time once again in a Planet of the Apes franchise. The answer is yes.

Still, the advancements in visual effects are not the only reason to see director Matt Reeves initial take on the new series of Apes films. Reeves, along with returning writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, who are joined by Mark Bomback this time around, have concocted a story that seems like the next logical step in the evolution-pardon the pun-of this series.

It picks up some ten years later after the events in the previous film. Caesar (Andy Serkis, once again in an amazing motion-capture performance), his female companion (Judy Greer) and son (Nick Thurston), along with their ape comrades, have been living peacefully for, apparently, quite some time.

The sudden appearance of humans led by explorer Malcolm (Jason Clarke) and his wife, a doctor, (Keri Russell) at first threatens to intrude upon the state of tranquility that the apes seem to share. In time, Caesar comes to feel that humans and apes can co-exist while Koba (Toby Kebbell), a distrustful chimp still harboring emotional scars after being used in lab experiments, is at odds with Caesar on this. Koba and Caesar’s differing opinions form some of the dramatic zip that propels the film into its final, rousing act, which is the best part of the film.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is certainly a good film. My only complaint is its leisurely pacing during the first hour. Once things get going the film is an involving spectacle sure to please even the most jaded movie goer. How you feel about sitting through almost an entire hour of the Apes speaking to each other via subtitles, with only small advancements in the plot, however, is certainly going to color things. Overall, it’s still one of the more and intelligent and nuanced films of the summer and definitely recommended.

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is playing everywhere this week, including the Carmike in Hickory.

Questions or comments? Write Adam at




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