Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Summer is finally here; a time for catching some rays in your back garden, heading to the beach and sitting in a dark, sweaty room, otherwise known as a cinema, to watch the vast array of blockbuster releases. The summer of 2014 sees the likes of “The Inbetweeners 2”, “The Expendables 3”, “Sin City: A Dame To Kill For” and “Transformers: Age Of Extinction” dominating the big screen, alongside “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”.

Set a decade after its predecessor, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes follows a growing nation of genetically-evolved apes, led by Caesar (Andy Serkis), though they are threatened by a band of human survivors of the virus. The two groups reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth’s dominant species.

For the vast majority of the film, the story is highly engaging, as the relationship between man and ape develops over the movie’s course. The plot contains incredibly strong character development on both sides, which is helped by some extremely strong acting performances, especially from Gary Oldman (who plays Dreyfus) and Jason Clarke (Malcolm).

Another element of the script which is particularly strong is the mirror image of the characters. Figures on each side have very strong similarities, which goes to show how alike the humans and apes are.

The narrative is primarily focused on the apes for the film’s entirety, though it seems to work in its favour, as the audience side with the animals rather than the Homo sapiens. This is largely down to the motion-capture technology, which allows the apes’ characteristics and emotions to truly shine through.

Nevertheless, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ visuals aren’t perfect. There are times when it looks particularly shoddy, something that will be become more obvious as the technology progresses. In addition, there’s a lot of reliance on the apes speaking. This isn’t much of an issue at first, though it becomes tedious and annoying during latter parts of the film as they begin to resemble a PG Tips monkey, rather than a genetically-enhanced ape.

Another flaw is that the tension between the humans and apes continues to build and build, though never truly climaxes. Even the big fight scenes towards the end of the film feel incredibly underwhelming, which comes as a disappointment considering the movie’s two hour running time.