Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Acting
Directing
Cinematography
Script
Timeless
4.8Overall Score

When summer hit the theaters, this movie was my No.1 choice to be seen in theaters but with my natural inhibitor not living in the US any longer, the window of opportunity is much smaller. By the time, I was able to finally go to the movies, the English version was no longer playing…and it was a long long wait until this remarkable piece of science fiction finally hit the iTunes Store…and all I can say is: WOW! What a great movie this was, I was at the edge of my seat from start to finish. Everything was absolutely perfect, the script, the acting, the atmosphere and the CGI (most importantly the use of it) … just everything. And one thing is for sure, if you liked the first installment of the Planet of the Apes franchise from 2011 – which I did – you will most certainly love this one – which I did as well.

Courtesy of http://screencrush.com

Courtesy of http://screencrush.com

Right when the movie starts, it sets just the perfect tone; summarizing rather quickly what has happened to humanity when the first movie ended. And what happens afterwards was just cinematic mastery – no humans for about 25 minutes into the movie just showing the regular life of the apes – with human-like interactions, conflicts and relationship dynamics – all without a single word spoken using mostly mimics of the apes – well with subtitles. And what comes after is perfect drama, perfect thrill and perfect action set pieces for another 90-95 minutes. I first thought that yet again the trailer had completely spoiled everything but there is so much more happening in the movie that you can safely take a peek at it and still thoroughly enjoy this film.

Courtesy of http://movieboozer.com

Courtesy of http://movieboozer.com

Now what was it really that made this movie so vividly entertaining and awesome; when looking at it a little closer, it perfectly exposes the root cause and problems of war. Why do we go to war, what do we hope to gain from it and what the “final drops in the bucket”? The movie attempts to make an idealistic statement about it but still a very valid one. Nobody really gains from war because in the end there are just casualties and the final drops are mainly caused either by hardliners who wanted to go to war all along and didn’t really intend to give diplomacy a chance or by just terrible circumstance (yes, I am aware that this is a very simplistic view on a very complex topic). The other element which is a central element is the matter of leadership – how much it matters and how important it is what tone the leader sets for its people – Caesar is a very strong leader and his strength is mainly derived from wisdom and foresight. Something which other apes (and humans) strongly lack. But in the end even a strong leader with the best of intentions is sometimes bound by the circumstance he or she finds themselves in. And that will finally determine the path of your people (and apes).

Aside from that, I absolutely loved the character development mainly on the ape side – all main ape characters Caesar, his son, Kobe, Maurice etc. were absolutely fantastic and their development, mimic and reactions were captured in such a fantastic way. And maybe this is the only shortcoming of the movie after all – the apes get main stage and the potential of the human actors was not utilized to their full potential – as great of an actor Gary Oldman is – he was a very one-dimensional mirror of his ape counterpart (you will know who I mean once you see the movie). When watching the movie, I was all in all so captured by it that I didn’t really stop to think how much work went into the post-production (i.e. CGI) of this movie. And as already kind of stated above, it is really astonishing what great nuances are delivered through the facial expressions made with CGI (and of course some acting) of the apes. Also the post-apocalyptic San Francisco was such a fantastic stage design – and so fitting for the atmosphere of the film. Random side fact which I learned in my movie podcast was that one scene (attack of the apes on the city) took an astonishing 1300 shoots.

I think that is all the advertising on the movie, the rest you really have to see for yourself. Probably one of the best movies in 2014, and having missed this in the big theaters actually makes me sad…. So all in all – an absolutely fantastic ride which you don’t want to miss.

The Good

  • Awesome throughout every little detail (script, acting, CGI, atmosphere)
  • Even better than the first installment
  • Caesar should be nominated either for a TED talk or the Oscars

The Bad

  • Very high focus on the apes which, thus human actors are somewhat interchangeable
Info
Courtesy of http://impawards.com

Courtesy of http://impawards.com

  • Running time: 130 min
  • Genre: Science Fiction, Drama
  • Year: 2014

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