Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) – Review

I’ve been looking forward to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes ever since I review Rise of the Planet of the Apes back in 2011, so when the chance came up to get to see the movie at a midnight showing how could I refuse, so after first catching Transformers: Age of Extinction, I took some time to relax and take in a large measure of coffee to stay awake before heading in to see the 3D version at Vue Cinema in Rhyl of the movie.

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.

Yet again Andy Serkis dons the CGI persona of Ceasar and this time it’s war as the human race decides try to take back the world from the apes, not an easy task when you have one the smartest leaders of the simians trying to defend themselves against the warmongering human race led by Dreyfus (played by Gary Oldman) who is seeking revenge on the apes for unleashing the virus which killed his two sons.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Review

What really stands out about Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is the use of CGI throughout the movie, even though it was only back in 2011 that the earlier movie was released the technology has come on in leaps and bounds, with the finest details of the apes skin and hair all done to a point that you start to believe that the apes on the screen are indeed real, the CGI is flawless.

But the film is an emotional ride as we are taken on the next chapter of the life of Caesar as his life has changed over the years since the rise of the apes, his family, his commitment to being leader and the love and loss that he has had to endure, now with a battle looming on the horizon he has to defend the decisions that he has made.

There are moments during the film where even I had a slight tear in my eye, as I started to feel for the apes, especially when humans arrive on the scene, showing that we are indeed a destructive race.

Michael Giacchino’s soundtrack for the movie works perfectly to bring you the feeling of anger, shock, fear and peace during the movie and this tied in with the way the film is edited and indeed the way the cast perform all works great together in one superb package.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Review

The performance via the use of motion capture for Andy Serkis is fantastic, as I mentioned earlier about the details of the CGI of the apes but it’s Serkis and Toby Kebbell (Koba) that have brought the apes to life with their movements, with the apes standing more than on all fours, they have a feeling of stature and power that is quite scary, to say the least, but still fascinating to see.

Adding to the overall feel of the movie are the sets, most of the filming took place in a Vancouver forest and on the decimated city streets of New Orleans, which were chosen to double up as a post-apocalyptic San Francisco, the apes home is amazing to see, which you can get a glimpse of in the trailer, and was built next to a disused theme park reclaimed by nature after Hurricane Katrina.

The overall feeling of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is that this is a movie that is going to spawn several movies to follow and is by far probably the best of the Planet of the Apes movies so far (since they have been rebooted), my recommendation is to not miss this one on the big screen. Available now on Blu-ray and DVD.

Originally Posted 17 Jul 2014.

Karen Woodham
Karen Woodham is the founder and owner of the Blazing Minds. She is also a Cinema reviewer, based at the Scala in Prestatyn and at the many Cineworld screens, where she reviews the latest movies, she has also had several articles published in various publications. In 2015 she became an Award Winning Blogger and also has her website listed as one of the UK's Top 10 Film Blogs.
Karen Woodham
Karen Woodham