Hollywood isn’t exactly in the greatest state anymore. Year after year we get reboot after reboot, prequel after prequel, and sequel after sequel. It’s getting stale but people still continue to buy into it. But if there is one reboot/prequel/sequel that I want people to buy into, it’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and the sequels to follow. The fact of the matter is that this new rebooted franchise and its two films have become some of the smartest films to come out of Hollywood as of recently. Both have an incredible balance of well-crafted action pieces and dramatic scenes and Dawn only emphasizes that more.
Dawn takes place ten years after the original film and Caesar played wonderfully once again by Andy Serkis leads apes in a community, some of them being from the previous films (Koba, Rocket, and Maurice). Caesar is also married to Cornelia (Judy Greer) and they have a son named Blue Eyes (Nick Thurston). Everything actually seems fine for this community at first, they haven’t seen humans in two winters according to one of the apes but they eventually run into a pack of humans who simply want to get power using a generator at the dam nearby the ape’s community. This obviously leads to some serious problems with argumentation on both sides with humans vs. humans, humans vs. apes, and apes vs. apes. Though it also has a sense of empathy and understanding between some of the human and ape characters that made the Apes franchise what it was in the first place. The movie manages to craft together a riveting drama that never lets up and is incredibly entertaining and thrilling to watch for the entire run time and that in itself is great to see in a Hollywood blockbuster.
It isn’t just repetitive action scene after action scene instead the scenes have depth and wonderful cinematography as well. The action scenes can even be frightening to watch and are extraordinarily gripping and feel very similar to the scenes from the previous Apes’ films: Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and Battle for the Planet of the Apes. But the scenes are even better in Dawn with the gorgeous CGI the movie has that makes these apes so utterly believable. The movie manages to throw allusions out to those sequels in a playful and smart way (especially with the very last shot of the film) instead of in a forceful way; it’s genuine treat for fans of the franchise…as this entire film truly is.
Dawn just makes me a happy filmgoer. It makes me excited to go to see big budget movies again if they can actually be like this. The movie manages to explore real, serious conflict between these characters and give them strong emotional resonance without it seeming forceful and in the way; it feels real and honest and not hollow and shallow like so much is nowadays. It isn’t cliché or contrived rather it is intelligent and absolutely engaging to watch on screen, the story is strong and so are the characters that inhabit this story. The characters are truly complex on both sides and aren’t two-dimensional and it’d be almost impossible for the main set of characters to be two-dimensional with the conflict set upon them. As a whole, Dawn is an extremely violent, enveloping pushing Hollywood drama but it never leaves its science fiction or genre film roots, it manages to remember what it is while also giving something entirely engaging and unique in the realm of repetition, it is exactly what Hollywood needs right now. As a new fan of the Apes franchise (I just marathoned through each and every film fairly recently and you can read about that here: https://smallerthangalaxies.wordpress.com/2014/07/07/a-retrospective-on-the-planet-of-the-apes-franchise/), this movie places second out of every single film with only the original being the better film mostly for the sole fact that the original film certainly had more interesting political/social commentary than this film really had but Dawn decided to move away from strong political commentary and went with a solely riveting drama and dammit, it worked. Oh I forgot to mention, Michael Giacchino’s score…holy shit. That is all. Just incredible, I don’t even need to talk about it more; best score of the year so far, just absolutely sweeping pieces of music.
Author of this post (and every post thus far and maybe forever more):
Jesse Jordon is an aspiring comedic writer/filmmaker/performer/pieceofshit who writes this garbage on these blogs to (hopefully) make you laugh or learn something I guess. Follow him on Twitter @WhyShitSoCrazy for bad, witty tweets.