DVD Review: Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes
Sitting down to watch Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes I had to struggle to remember what happened in the first film, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes. Sure, I knew the basic storyline, and that it was an enjoyable film, but it wasn’t, obviously, an absolute stunner of a film. More of a firm foundation to build a reboot of Charlton Heston’s original.
Rise however was sounded like a great film. Set a decade or so after the first film ends, with the simian virus spreading around the globe, killing most of humanity an plunging the world into a man made apocalypse.
Caesar, the star of the first film has set up a nice ape community in the hills overlooking San Francisco. He and his fellow apes have grown and evolved, teaching themselves to communicate and build a decent society. They’ve not seen humans for two winters and assume that they last of them have now perished.
That is until a small band of survivors from San Francisco, stumble on the Apes whilst trying to locate a dam, in hopes of getting power restored. This confrontation leads to one of the Apes being shot and the survivors being told to “Go!”
After this Malcolm and Caeser try and work together, to get the dam working again and to prevent the unavoidable Ape-human war. But antagonists on both sides mean that war is inevitable, and so it begins.
The film is naturally Ape heavy, with most of the film being centered around the Apes, so it was essential for the film to succeed that Andy Serkis and his band of CGI Apes look and act realistically on screen. And they do.
To be honest, if I didn’t know that the who thing was CGI, I’d have spent most of the night wondering how the heck they managed to train the Apes to act so well.
Whilst the visuals are stunning, they alone would only make for some awesome eye candy, and eye candy alone does not make for 2 hours of solid entertainment.
Cue Matt Reeves, relative newcomer to the Directors seat, but having enough talent for JJ Abrams to take a punt with him on Cloverfield and then be given the reins to the American remake of Let The Right One In. Matt takes all this eye candy and turns it into a devastating action flick that draws you in, then has you hanging on the edge of your seat, and occasionally hiding behind it.