‘Apes’ sequel ‘Dawn’ is even better than ‘Rise’

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Moot contributor Lewis Bostock checks out what could be one of the year’s best blockbusters.

The reboot to the original Apes series continues to deliver. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the stunning sequel to the surprise hit Rise of the Planet of the Apes, will thrill sci-fi fans, but excite general audiences. Both will enjoy its compelling human-ape drama and combat. This is a blockbuster that is thoughtful and engaging of head and heart even after it delivers stunning visual effects and action, which will bristle the hair on the knuckles of either human or ape.

10 years after the events of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, a deadly virus has nearly wiped out the human race. A team of desperate survivors led by Malcolm (Jason Clarke) and Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) search for the key to their survival in the forests north of San Francisco, where the apes and their formidable leader Ceasar (Andy Serkis) have thrived in greater numbers. Ceasar remains fiercely protective of his ape family, despite Malcolm’s efforts to cooperate with him and the apes, but ape Koba (Toby Kebbell) and human Carver (Kirk Acevedo) have other plans, which have devastating consequences for both sides.

The director Matt Reeves of Cloverfield and Let Me In fame plums the themes of the original Apes series; The fact that we humans share this planet with creatures who may have an evolutionary future beyond our own. “Damn dirty apes!” However, the way his camera captures the powerful ape collective presents that future as a terrifying prospect. The way this film treats the complexity of war and sees how both sides act in a way that is justifiable to them will likely draw parallels with Middle Eastern conflicts. And its evidence that this film has an intellectual substance beyond the draw of apes wielding weapons, riding horse back.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is certainly the best blockbuster of the year, hell, it may just be one of the best films of the year. See it at the earliest opportunity.