Film review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (8 out of 10)

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Not surprisingly with this latest Planet of the Apes movie in cinemas, the 1968 original with Charlton Heston was screened on TV over the weekend.

It still stands up pretty well even after all these years.

But the change in special effects is incredible.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has even moved a step further than its 2011 predecessor Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

The motion capture (Andy Serkis and co in their strange costumes which are transformed into just about anything) can now be done properly outdoors rather than adding outdoor shots afterwards.

But enough of the technical stuff.

This movie doesn’t need to dwell on background or establishing characters like its predecessor, so there’s plenty of time for action.

It’s set nearly ten years after ‘Rise’ with the human population decimated by a man-made virus and fighting among themselves.

The genetically modified apes have grown in number and established their own ‘city’.

In charge is Caesar (Serkis), but it’s not long before humans stumble across the apes.

And there is soon plenty of conflict as both parties look to survive.

Australian Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty) plays Malcolm, one of the few humane humans while Yorkshire’s own Toby Kebbell is unrecognisable as Koba, Caesar’s friend who was previously a lab animal and who, not surprisingly, doesn’t care much for mankind.

The conflict between the two species is well worked and it’s a tough choice for us the audience at times who to cheer.

Gary Oldman turns up as Dreyfus, the leader of the band of humans. Although I guess he’s supposed to be the baddie, it’s more complicated than that as he attempts to save mankind from almost insurmountable odds.

The 3D action is superb with plenty of spectacular shots.

On the down side, the film does tend to get a bit melodramatic at times and the music towards the end is overwhelming.

One thing for certain, though, this isn’t the end of the story with ‘Dawn’ leaving plenty of room for another episode at least.

Film details: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (12A) 130mins

Director: Matt Reeves

Starring: Andy Serkis, Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, Toby Kebbell

Screening courtesy of Cineworld Crawley