APES ON HORSES! As the gentlemen over at Schmoes Know have affectionately named the newest installment in the long lived Planet of the Apes Franchise. The much anticipated sequel to 2011’s Planet of the Apes reboot, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. This film has been one of the top films I have been looking forward to this year. Rise was such a surprise and phenomenal film Dawn had a lot to live up too. Needless to say, not only doe Dawn live up to its predecessor, it may even surpass it.
For 10 years what has been known as the Simian Flu has plagued the world. The survivors that still do what they can to combat the virus, have come to a thin line of peace with the genetically evolved primates led by Caesar. Caesar who still has a soft spot for humans due to his upbringing. The peace as thought proves to be too fragile to keep and war breaks out to determine who will survive as Earths dominate species. Man, or Ape.
The film stars Andy Serkis in the role as Caesar, and as Serkis has become the king of motion capture in film, this is no exception. Alongside Serkis are Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell, Judy Greer, and, Kodi Smit-McPhee. Dawn is written once again by Amanda Silver, Rick Jaffa, and joining them is Mark Bomback. This go around Matt Reeves takes up the director’s chair.
Everything about Dawn is incredible. The script is nearly perfect. Every time you think you know where the story is going, there is a turn you don’t see coming. It is almost predictable. Watching the film I saw where it was going and said to myself “ok here is the story, got it, pretty cool….. Oh wait no” and that happened numerous times! The Story is not complex, but it is deep. It shows what can be wrong with society, and how bad things can turn quickly.
The Apes have built up their community, and are living in their society and you sit there in awe of what the film makers were able to do. You believe in the trust and strength within the Ape community. And each Ape has their own personality, the actors behind the Motion Capture do a wonderful job.
Speaking of Mo-Cap. I find it would be incredibly disrespectful not to mention how Andy Serkis deserves a freaking Oscar nomination. He brings Caesar to life. You see Serkis behind the eyes of Caesar. You see him in his movements. This isn’t some CGI monkey. Caesar is Serkis. And he is just perfect in the role. You feel for him, you care about him. When he is off screen, you notice he is not there. Not that the film is lacking anything when he is gone, but at the same time, you wait and are ready for what Serkis brings to film.
As Rise was in fact James Franco’s movie, stolen by Serkis’ Caesar, Dawn is Caesar’s film, Stolen by Kebbell and his portrayal of Koba. You remember Koba, he was the bad mother F’er that showed up in Rise knowing the drill in labs. He is Caesar’s right hand Ape, yet is not afraid to tell Caesar when he is wrong. Even with all the power Caesar holds over the Apes, Koba will let him know what is up, but is quick to back down to place. And Kebbell is instrumental in bringing Koba to life. What Serkis has done to Caesar, Kebbell is doing with Koba.
When it all comes down, I ranked Dawn of the Planet of the Apes pretty high. I gave it a 5.6, with a full bonus of .5 for APES ON HORSES! That rounds the score out to 6.1, our second JEEBUS-TACULAR of the year!