Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier.
They 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.
“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is a well made movie. It features spectacular special effects with the apes literally coming to life and interacting with one another as well as humans. It features the birth of a young chimpanzee that, despite the CGI, is very well done. The apes also ride horses and shoot rifles and cause mayhem. The acting is solid, the story interesting, and in a good move, the writers featured some very touching and “human” moments. For example, a wounded Caesar (Andy Serkis), is touched by an old video he finds of his caretaker, Will Rodman (James Franco), teaching him the English language.
There are other such moments, such as a young man learning that he had a sister that died as a result of the recent war between apes and humans. Jason Clarke is also effective as Malcolm, who is very much like Will Rodman and wants to have peace between the apes and humans. Kerri Russell is quite good as his wife and has a pivotal scene in which she cares for a wounded Caesar. Gary Oldman adds his talent, playing a human resistance leader that wants to get rid of the apes. On the side of the apes, and beginning to oppose Caesar, is Koba (Toby Kebbell), and his mean side swells as the movie progresses. Malcolm negotiates with Caesar to allow him to use the dam to gain electrical power again for the city. But Koba has other plans. Unfortunately, despite nice themes which include helping those in need and trying to get along with one’s enemy, the movie features a few strong utterances of language in addition to the violence level hitting a three, which places it just outside of our acceptable level. Regrettably, this prevents us from awarding our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal to the movie.