Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (12A)

Directed by Matt Reeves
Starring Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, Gary Oldman, Andy Serkis, Toby Kebbel

I must admit, I've never been a big fan of these movies. The talking monkeys always just seemed silly, and the TV show with Roddy McDowell from the 70s wasn't great. So I didn't rush to see this when it was released a few weeks back. However, having caught up with it today, I actually really enjoyed it. Yes, it's still lots of CG and motion captured chimps that is a bit daft at times, but the best thing about the film is that you soon forget the technology and get involved with the story of humans vs chimps.
It's 10 years after the previous film, and 99% of the human population has been killed off! A group of survivors immune to the virus are struggling to survive in San Francisco. Heading up to the surrounding woods to get a hydro electric power station running, they encounter a group of chimps led by Caesar, who are signing and sort of talking to each other these days. Unfortunately, the human survivors includes a trigger happy redneck bigot and before you know it, the peace is broken as the chimps discover guns, and start questioning Caesar's patience for those pesky humans. Meanwhile, the threat of talking, horse riding, spear wielding monkeys gets the people worried and gearing up for a battle. You know its not going to end well...!
The film is an interesting look at paranoia in extreme circumstances. The 2 sides are not in a place to be diplomatic, despite the efforts of Caesar and Jason Clarke's character Malcolm. Guns are the chief baddie!
It's an exciting, fast moving action drama and its blockbuster credentials are sadly confirmed by the crappy female roles! Keri Russell gets to be nurturing, Caesars wife gets to have a baby and be ill. Both get left behind while their males do the action stuff *sigh*. However, this is a visually stunning, thrilling film that had even a non-apes movie fan like me engrossed, 7/10

July 2014

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