Rickly Reviews DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

I don't monkey around when it comes to Caesar. But is he really the OG, double OG, triple OG we all anticipated? Well, I got news for ya...

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By Anil Rickly - 7/7/2014

If ever there was doubt as to Andy Serkis, please remove. If ever we needed a time machine to go back and get him that Oscar, please build. If ever there was a time fanboys needed to ponder something Age of Ultron, Serkis' role would be just that. He acts as the linchpin for an Apes sequel that not only utilizes its cast as a hidden trump card, but builds a strong foundation on the thoroughly engaging script, all topped off by the pillar that is Serkis' Cesar.

Not divulging much, the film picks up from Rise in a pretty coherent and fittingly chronological manner. It's dystopic and post-apocalyptic in its own right but the story places the apes and humans, front and center, yet precariously perched. Cesar's ebb and flow brings about the fine and delicate balance which Gary Oldman tempers so well as a foil. The tone of the film isn't that much a stark contrast to its predecessor but it's much more brooding, grim and bitter as one would expect - with blame, tension and many tentative elements sewn and threaded at just the right plot points. The suspense is neatly built in along with some riveting action sequences that really leave you pondering what's CGI and what isn't. 

Rupert Wyatt started the story off slowly a few years aback and this patience comes full-circle. Rise was meant to be a precursor in every sense of the word and we see why here. Dawn is fast-paced, breathes at opportune moments for exposition while letting the human element take spotlight, when needed. It's not just bland and overdone a la Godzilla or Signs or Transformers. These components play off each other's strengths but give the talisman called Cesar his time to shine. He does so remarkably and may well be the best character we connect with and empathize with this summer.

Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver continue in the same marvelous writing vein as before but more so, they have Matt Reeves' unique vision here to bring about the most dire of circumstances. His cinematography makes you care and it has you well-submerged in the intensity on-screen, the rivalries and of course, immersed in the impending wars. This film isn't about just suspended belief but it's about morals, rights, politics, cynicism and other satirical POVs and perspectives which we need to answer and tackle. Thank God it's done by Serkis' facial expressions, some cheeky dialogue, nifty science and homage to what sci-fi needs to be as it evolves. The franchise, the genre and so many other things are done right, that it's hard to ignore or underplay how big this movie is. You connect with the characters, ape and humans alike, and feel what they feel. Top-notch storytelling and stellar visual direction. 

One of the, if not THE, best movie of the year, rivalling The Winter Soldier.
Grade: A+

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16 Comments
Starkasm - 7/7/2014, 9:10 PM
Didn't read. A+ doe...
Superzero - 7/7/2014, 9:13 PM
Great job as always Rickly.
THEDARKKNIGHT1939 - 7/7/2014, 9:13 PM
Can't freakin wait. Loved the first one, it's one of my favorite movies of all time.
3DWitchHunt - 7/7/2014, 9:17 PM
Calling it. Best summer film of the year.
l0rdleg0las - 7/7/2014, 9:18 PM
I don't know about the movie, but there is a tv preview I saw the other day that creeped me the hell out with this movie.

In it, Koba I think the Apes name was. Basically the ape that was Cesar's second in command walks up on 2 drinking humans and plays the part of dumb chimp takes a gun from the guys and blows them away. Just the way the scene played out and the look on the chimp's face was creepy.

I saw that and was like, "well I am never going to the zoo again."
Superzero - 7/7/2014, 9:30 PM
I hope they drop some sort of hint about the "missing astronauts" from the first film but am REALLY thinking that they will show up in the next part, taking it somewhere along the lines of the original film. I hope that was more than just a "nod".
staypuffed - 7/7/2014, 9:30 PM
Nice job! I'm jealous that you've already seen it.
staypuffed - 7/7/2014, 9:31 PM
But I will add that I loved Godzilla.
TheRationalNerd - 7/7/2014, 9:44 PM
That's right Caesar! Take your throne as ruler of 2014!
THEDARKKNIGHT1939 - 7/7/2014, 9:46 PM
Koba scares the shit outta me
JamesMan - 7/7/2014, 10:02 PM
Seeing a double feature on Thursday night of Rise and Dawn of the the Planet of the Apes. As a POTA fan, I am so hyped!
MrFridayNights - 7/7/2014, 10:25 PM
This is Fox year
X-Men DOFP and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes are not only the best movies of the year but also Oscar quality movies.
Andy Serkis deserves a Oscar for his performance as Caesar.
P862010 - 7/7/2014, 11:28 PM
FOX is slaying the summer this year!!!

how things have changed
SuperCat - 7/8/2014, 2:06 AM
Saturday for me!
CJJ - 7/8/2014, 8:52 AM
"One of the, if not THE, best movie of the year, rivalling The Winter Soldier."

Your last sentence is your undoing; Cap 2 had no character development and a half baked story, I don't know how standards have dropped so much since the days of Spiderman 2 and TDK, which were deep and full of character development. TWS has action and little else. So many cliches too.
SauronsBANE - 7/8/2014, 11:43 AM
"Your last sentence is your undoing..."

His last sentence, which accurately reflects the majority opinion of The Winter Soldier and is a perfectly apt comparison to make in this review, is his "undoing"? Sure.

Anyways....excellent, well-written, awesomely descriptive (but non-spoilery) review man! Seriously, this should be on main if it isn't already. My anticipation is through the roof for Dawn, and if it even comes close to topping the quality of The Winter Soldier, I'll be one very happy fan. Good stuff!

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