Dawn of The Planet of The Apes: Review

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In a summer which has so far seen mutants, aliens, city-levelling giant robots and lizards, who would have thought that it would be lowly apes taking the crown for this year’s best blockbuster.

In Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, it’s been 15 years since the simian flu epidemic, wiping out the majority of the human race. Whilst the last remaining humans have struggled to survive, the ape colony led by Ceaser have been far from monkeying around.

Having built themselves a home, complete with a school (headed by orang-utan Maurice), their peace and future seems secure. However, when a group of humans stumble upon the ape sanctuary whilst attempting to find a new sustainable power source, their two worlds collide and Ceaser must try his best to avoid war.

Quickly taking its place in the IMDB top 250 films of all time (at a respectable 156th position, just behind Gone With The Wind), DOTPOTA is a remarkable achievement from start to finish.

As far as summer popcorn films go, this has all you could ask for, with spectacle and action aplenty. A lot more than simple cheap thrills however, it successfully manages to transcend its blockbuster label.

This is undoubtedly thanks to the addition of Cloverfield director Matt Reeves, who seems to have taken some notes from heavyweight film maker Christopher Nolan on how to take a franchise and make it epic.

With some clever and brave choices made by Reeves and his writing team, DOTPOTA isn’t all about explosions and loud noises, but instead works best in the many of the film’s quieter moments.

Rather than one incoherent fight scene after another, what we get is a film that goes for the slow build, packing in as much tension as possible before its final adrenaline-inducing finale. With a layered and deep script, we’re given a chance to get to know and invest in the characters, who are fully formed and three dimensional, especially the apes.

I’ve always been a firm believer that the best ‘villains’ in film are simply the ones who think that what they are doing is right, and this film completely gets that; even the most horrid of characters gaining my sympathy.

In addition to a well written script, the technicality that has gone into bringing the apes to life is truly impressive. WETA have once again set the benchmark even higher with the special effects and motion capture in this film; the amount of detail gone into creating every bit of hair on an ape’s body is clear to see.

The effects showcased in this promise an exciting future for film and make me excited for the amount of fully realised creatures and characters we will be able to see on screen in years to come.

Andy Serkis’ performance as well as those from his other ‘performing monkeys’ are equally as impressive, and for the first time in motion capture you really can see the actor behind the special effects.

With great direction from Matt Reeves, incredible visuals from WETA and a rock solid script, Dawn of The Planet of The Apes is one of this year’s best films so far. Thrilling and absorbing in equal measures, it deserves to sit beside some of the greatest summer blockbusters ever made. Go see it.

Image credit to http://www.imdb.com

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