Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Film Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Copyright: 20th Century Fox
This movie is one exceedingly solid piece of cinema. From the first moment director Matt Reeves dabbles with risk by placing the viewers in the shoes (figuratively speaking) of the apes, a species who weren’t decimated by the outbreak of a powerful fly epidemic a decade earlier which practically annihilated humanity.

The apes, led by Cesar, create a vibrant society with different roles and tasks, as well as a completely gestural communication. A chance encounter with a group of human survivors sets these groups on a collision path.

 Reeves chose to show his viewers the apes before he showed them the humans, and this move pays off really well. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, unlike many others set in a post-human world, excels in showing the Earth after our current civilization was wiped out and transported to the past. It doesn’t show a crumbling substitution of a former system, but a crude blossom of something completely new.

When the perspective switches, the same feeling continues to linger on, creating a bond with characters in both camps, which is a fantastic achievement in itself. Although the film includes many action sequences, it never becomes a simple story. Instead, it faithfully  follows the real action – those that take place in the hearts and the minds of both humans and apes.

It is also worhty to notice that once again, Andy Serkis is brilliant in his work. Every facial expression coming from Cesar is amazing, and the CG effects additionally enforce this incredible transformation. When Cesar struggles to uses human language, these expressions are even more powerful. Serkis is a master of his unique art form.

Matt Reeves should be congratulated for creating one of the most memorable post-apocalyptic films in recent memory, and more that a worthy continuation of the Planet of the Apes saga.