Rise of the Planet of the Apes was one of my favorite movies in 2011, and it was mostly thanks to Andy Serkis’ moving performance as Caesar. Now, he’s back again in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and he was more than ready to steal some hearts.
Ten years after the Golden Gate Bridge event, Simian Flu had spread and wiped about 90% of human being off of the earth. A group of survivors led by Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) managed to hold out, but they’re running out of power. Their only chance for survival is a dam in the Muir Woods.
Unbeknownst to them, deep in the woods is where Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his colonies build their civilization in peace. The peace that’s about to be threatened when both the humans and the apes belief they’re better than the other.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (DotPotA for short) was great. It was emotional, with just the right touch of violence and chaos. Just like RotPotA, this movie focused more on the apes and their way of living. It’s the human that became a threat and throughout the series, it’s just impossible not to be sympathetic towards the apes. Especially Blue Eyes because he’s just down right adorable. Just like it’s predecessor, DotPotA showed us just how alike human and apes can be.
DotPotA tell a tale that got you gritting your teeth in anger. It’s the kind of story were the conflict could be avoided if only both sides show a little more willingness to discuss and understand each other. But then again, both sides have ego the size of a mountain and firmly believe that they’re better than the other. It was easperating, because it gave you the urge to scream “NO, FUCK YOU, DON’T DO THAT ARE YOU STUPID?!” at the screen, and you’ll found yourself with a lump in your throat as the story progress. It made me want to wail in desperation and frankly, I blame the human more than I blame the apes.
To be fair, DotPotA does focus more on the apes and paint in them in considerably better lights. They were the first to raise the gun and inflict harm. They were also the one that underestimate the primates – Dreyfus’ insistence to call the primates “Animal” in the sense of lower being than human really irked me to no end – and from the way they act, they deserved everything that befall them. TV Tropes made a good point about lack of communication skill being the source of trouble, though
The humans are also what made DotPotA, in my opinion, fell short compared to RotPotA. I do get that this is a movie about apes, and the focus lies on Caessar and his colonies. It does not mean they could get away with the sorry excuse of human ensemble they casted. Gary Oldman was great, he was desperate and under pressure, and he made his mark. But the other humans…not so much. They barely left any impressions, and are all replaceable. At least with RotPotA, I still developed some attachment towards (James Franco and his dad) and I could still recall
Draco Malfoy Tom Felton’s character’s sadistic act. Malcolm and his entourage, however, will be easy to forget. They were just there to start the trouble, and to show that some human are still good. Nothing more. I don’t even remember their name, especially the two that were not Carver.
The apes, on the contrary, was stellar. Andy Serkis is as good as always, breathing life into Caessar and every little thing he do, portraying him as strong willed yet caring and protective leader/father. Toby Kebbell’s Koba was fierce, loyal, and yet he elicite fear with his sadistic behavior. Judy Greer’s Olivia, Karin Konoval’s Maurice, and Terry Notary’s Rocket may have been demoted to extra and doesn’t have that much of a screen time, but their presence was still noticeable. Nick Thurston’s Blue Eyes, however, was a total scene stealer. He started off as a rebeliious son, and throughout the movie we see just how alike he actually is with Caessar. His expressions are just totally adorable, okay. And his friendship with Ash are also cute. And his unnamed baby brother is the cutest thing alive. Can I have one please?
Still, DotPotA was an utter joy to watch. Michael Seresin’s scenery porn was lovely, and I also love how Matt Reeves could direct the battles into such beautiful chaos. Every chaos and violence was a statement to drive a point about how alike human and apes actually are. And after I watched this movie, I just can’t help but to hate human even more. Oh, and it has some pretty heart-wrenching throwback to RotPotA which, for me, is one of my favorite parts.
Director: Matt Reeves. Writer: Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver. Released on: 9 July 2014. Casts: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Toby Kebbell, Nick Thurston