In the wake of a disaster that changed the world, the growing and genetically evolving apes find themselves at a critical point with the human race.
Starring: Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, and Andy Serkis
Directed by: Matt Reeves
Written by: Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa, and Amanda Silver
Fans have had plenty of gripes with remakes over the years, but there weren't many that had bad things to say about "Rise of the Planet of the Apes." It's a fantastic remake filled with plenty of its own originality. It tops the previous attempt at a remake by light years, but also sets the bar extremely high for any sequels to follow. Enter "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes," the sequel that tries to reach this bar while conquering many challenges on way.
One of those challenges is creating memorable scenes, which it does right off the bat. It opens with an amazing scene of the apes swarming the forest before hunting down their next meal. Not all goes as Caesar (Andy Serkis) plans, as his son, Blue Eyes (Nick Thurston), finds himself face to face with another top predator. With some help, Caesar intervenes in order to save his son, while reminding the audience why they fell in love with him in the first place.
This leads to another challenge they successfully meet, which is adding to Caesar’s legacy. Previously a human pet, he now has a son, and mate to take care of. He's the leader of the apes, who's responsible for setting the example of how this new ape society will act in the present, and future. While the previous movie shows his accession, this movie adds to his legacy by giving him a weakness that almost leads to his demise. He's put in a position where he almost has to start over again, and makes decisions that change the apes’ lives forever.
Another challenge is to keep the human’s story alive without distracting too much from the apes. While the apes are working to establish a new way of life, the humans are fighting for their survival. A small group of humans led by Malcolm (Jason Clarke) gain permission from Caesar to work in ape territory. They do an excellent job of contrasting this small group of human’s story with what is happening within the ape society.
Probably the most important challenge in this new franchise is recreating the powerful messages the original franchise delivers. Caesar tries to build the ape society by avoiding the mistakes he thinks the humans have made. However, because of his and other fellow apes exposure to humans, they are destine to follow in the human’s footsteps. The audience gets to see many human flaws appear in the apes, and how it changes their society.
One of the key moments in the original series is when one of the apes breaks their society's most paramount rule, which is "ape not kill ape." The original series takes an interesting route in showing the ape that breaks this rule, and what happens to him afterwards. This movie takes it many steps further, as it shows an ape that totally goes overboard. He not only kills ape, but also endangers the lives of all of the apes. Continuing with the message theme, he displays many of the bad attributes power hungry humans get, which sometimes leads to changes in the course of history, as it does here.
The original "Planet of the Apes" series should be required watching for everyone while growing up. It tells so many terrific, and important messages, almost forcing people to look in the mirror. The new franchise is heading right down the same path. "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" is such a great movie on so many levels that it's almost hard to believe they could make another movie live up to its standards. Well believe it because "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" rises above all challenges, and meets the bar set by its predecessor. I give this movie the rare ranking of 5 pools of blood.