Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Movie Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Michael Bay needs to take a page out of Matt Reeves' movie-making playbook. Reeves' new movie, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, is laden with special effects and CGI...and yet instead of ruining the story, it actually enhances it. That might also have to do with the fact that Dawn's story is well-paced and logical, with dialogue and character development that (for the most part) feels organic and cohesive. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is not just an action-packed summer blockbuster - it is smart, tense, subtle, and emotional. Definitely one of the best movies I've seen this year (it's up there with X-Men: Days of Future PastCaptain America: The Winter Soldier, and How to Train your Dragon 2).

The movie takes place ten years after the first film in this series, Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The laboratory-made-cure-for-Alzheimer's-gone-wrong Simian Flu, which fast-tracks the apes' evolution, giving them human-like intellect and speech, has all but wiped out the human race. The apes, led by Caesar (motion-capture portrayed by Andy Serkis) have flourished deep in the woods outside San Francisco, and assume all the humans have died out. But when a group of humans led by Malcolm (Jason Clarke) who are immune to the Simian Flu stumble upon the apes while looking for an old dam for power, the tension immediately jumps to an eleven. The humans need Caesar's permission to fix the dam and reroute the power...and the tension jumps to a twelve.