|Caesar (Serkis) is back in the best Apes film yet.|
Directed by Matt Reeves
Produced by Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver
Written by Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver
Starring Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell and Kodi Smit-McPhee
Set ten years after Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Dawn opens on Caesar (Serkis), the ape who led a mass exodus for genetically-enhanced apes in the previous film. He is now the leader of a large group of them, and they have their own city in the California woods. Meanwhile, humans have largely been wiped out by the Simian flu, with survivors spread throughout the world. When a few humans encounter the apes and shoot one, it heightens the tension between them. Koba (Kebbell), Caesar's second-in-command, hates the humans, and this one incident slowly festers into an all-out war between the two parties. As the human numbers dwindle, they might not stand a chance against the apes.
What a surprise this was! Matt Reeves has delivered a stunning work, as rich in story and character development (especially with the apes) as it is in first-rate visual effects. I'm only a casual fan of the Apes franchise, but this has me excited for another film. Andy Serkis continues to push the boundaries of motion-capture performance, and his ape counterparts - particularly the oft-underrated Toby Kebbell - are also terrific. The actors portraying the humans are very good too, but their roles are more serviceable to the story of the apes. Michael Giacchino's pounding score is an impressive contribution, and the film manages to showcase some fantastic action sequences only when necessary to the story. Easily the finest Planet of the Apes movie to date, this grounded blockbuster is also one of the best films I've seen this year.
Oscar Potential: Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, Best Visual Effects