All blockbusters should be made in the same vein as Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Sure, we're reaching a bit, but experiencing the quality of storytelling firsthand will make you forget about all the paint-by-numbers summer hits this season.
The film begins with multiple news stories relaying the fall of civilization. Due to the events that occurred in its predecessor, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, a virus has wiped out most of mankind. The apes, led by alpha male Caesar (Andy Serkis, proving once again that his pathos penetrates the CGI) have created a haven up in the woods by cultivating a working society with the absence of humans.
But not all humans have been wiped out. A small community rests in the city ruins, struggling to survive and in search of an energy source. And when a group of men accidentally stumble upon Caesar’s kingdom, the apes make a stand: in order for peace to reign, man must stay away.
These are no ordinary monkeys. They’re talking, horse-riding, spear-wielding primates. Bananas are not their first priority. This fact threatens the already-scared homo sapiens, and as thoughts of fear spark ideas of war on both camps, it becomes obvious that violence is inevitable.
There’s a harmonious communion between drama and action in Dawn. Instead of just relying on oversaturated explosions and bumper-sticker-like one-liners, it draws on empathy and hyper-real kinetic sequences that never leave room for a breather.
Simply put, we recommend it. And if you need further proof, below are seven other reasons why the film will make you go ape-shit for it in excitement!
1) THE UNENDING TENSION
Ever felt like there’s an evil gorilla at your back just waiting to rip you to shreds just because it could? Well, that’s the kind of emotion the movie invokes.
The scenes are so seamlessly crafted together that it’s able to hold the suspense for a good two hours, which isn’t easy. (Right, Michael Bay?) There’s one specific scene where Kabo, Caesar’s right hand spies on the humans and when he’s caught, taunts and teases them to distract. The tension built is so potent that the audience is never sure who is going to pounce first, igniting within a primordial predator-prey idea that both scares and gets the blood going.
There's absolutely no way a movie about monkeys with shotguns can't be entertaining
2) SLICK CGI: IT’S BANANAS
The movie monkeys make King Kong look like a riotous joke. The fluidity of the technology used in creating the CG characters is a mind-blowing nod to how far we’ve gone since the days of crappy graphics in flicks like The Scorpion King (sorry The Rock, it just had to be said).
As they swing from branch to branch, stab mighty bears to protect their own, or even give birth to little bapes (that’s baby apes, and yes we totally made that up), there are no lapses in visual aesthetic.
"O, pogi no?"
3) TALE AS OLD AS TIME
In Dawn, there’s an attempt at diplomacy by a couple of sympathetic humans led by Malcolm (a heart-wrenching performance by Zero Dark Thirty’s Jason Clarke), a man who forms a friendship with the misunderstood apes. But their pseudo leader Dreyfus (the always effective Gary Oldman) refuses to trust in the primal beasts, loading up on heavy artillery.
Breaking Bad's Walter White makes a cameo (LOL JK)
This provokes human-hating Kabo to strategize before their race experiences genocide. The story of two warring civilizations: classic catalyst for entertainment.
4) WE <3 KERI RUSSEL
If you’re old enough to remember (and hopefully enjoyed) the cult college drama TV series that was Felicity, then you’ll get a kick out of seeing actress Keri Russel. As Ellie, Malcolm’s wife and constant confidante, she too sees that humans aren’t so different from the animals they fear.
And she does all this while looking all scathe and sweaty, without losing that coquettish sexiness that made Felicity such a campus heartthrob.
You know what we say about women in layered clothing: longer stripteases!