Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Review by Joseph Akers
Verdict: One of the best blockbusters this year, and that’s not saying much…
Recently, I feel I have been extremely harsh on some of the big blockbusters. Transformers: Age of Extinction is one of the worst movies of the year so far, X-Men: Days of Future Past was average, and Johnny Depp’s Transcendence was atrocious. Walking in to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the trailers made it look like most of the big, bad, over-explosive blockbusters we’ve seen this year. But, remarkably, this film actually had a story.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes was an absolutely astonishing film due to the amazing human and ape relationship between James Franco and Andy Serkis. Unfortunately, that relationship is basically not present here. Instead, we have Jason Clarke who, although is decent, doesn’t particularly own his role. The supporting cast consists of Keri Russell, Gary Oldman and Kodi Smit-McPhee. While the supporting characters are basically given nothing to do, these actors are still very enjoyable to watch on screen.
The directing by Matt Reeves moved at a very consistent pace in the first act, but in the second, the movie gradually started to become slow. Then it quickly speeds up at the end of the second act for the enthralling finale. The movie is 2 hours and 10 minutes. Did it need to be that long? No. This movie would’ve been a decent 100-minute movie. The fight scenes, while engaging, are too long in length.
The motion capture was very realistic, in which I commend all the motion capture actors — especially Andy Serkis, who plays Ceaser.
If I had to compare Dawn’s writing to Rise’s, Dawn’s is missing the emotion. While there were attempts at an emotional core, it felt like it was trying too hard. The action is, like every blockbuster, explosive and fun to watch. The story is well executed and well thought out. But I think the film would’ve been better if the whole human aspect was cut out. The human element of the film was boring and it felt awkward going from the apes’ story to the humans’ story because they didn’t fit together in the same movie. They were two completely different components.
The music was one of the best components of the whole movie (besides the motion capture), but, it was at times over-used.
Overall, if you loved the last 20 minutes of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will probably be your favorite movie of all time. But, if you are looking for an emotional core, look elsewhere.