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Wick's Review

Created Jul 12, 2014 12:47AM PST • Edited Aug 08, 2014 06:30PM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Really Great 4.5

    Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a superior successor to 2011’s Great Ape Movie, the terrific Planet of the Apes reboot. An upgraded human cast rectifies the origin movie’s one significant flaw, while the ape acting – previously Bogart quality – has become downright Brando-esque. #DawnOfApes misses perfection only by being the middle cog in what is shaping up as a cinematically significant trilogy.

    This is the summer of upgraded casts in blockbuster sequels. Mark Wahlberg and Nicola Peltz upgraded Transformers. Now Jason Clarke and especially Gary Oldman upgrade the latest Planet of the Apes. Unlike its predecessor, the apes are not the most impressive performers on screen. Umm, OK. Caesar and the other apes are still the most impressive characters in the movie, just by not as much as in the last one.

    Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa & his wife Amanda Silver’s screenplay is a meditation on how conjoined civilizations can end up going to war. Each side has good actors – in the moral sense – and bad actors. The casus belli can easily come from the bad actors, with really bad ones killing their own to light the tinder that leads to conflagration. Autocracies are particularly vulnerable to such heinous acts of treason.

    Caesar is the autocrat of the apes, a benevolent and wise autocrat, but an autocrat just the same. The incomparable Andy Serkis plays him with Shakespearean levels of emotional sophistication. Speaking of Shakespeare, Caesar fully inhabits his Ides of March name in a story with enemies foreign and domestic.

    #DawnOfApes achieves deep simian greatness. The next installment, due in 2016, could achieve perfection.

  3. Great 4.0
    • Andy Serkis as Caesar, a common chimpanzee who is the leader of the apes, king of the ape colony, husband of Cornelia, and father of Blue Eyes and an infant son. He is also the honorary uncle of Rocket’s son, Ash. More importantly, Serkis is an actor of uncommon physical élan. His Method-derived expressions? Perhaps more the credit to FX than to the man in the monkey-suit, but all together an Oscar caliber performance. Oscar for Caesar!
    • Toby Kebbell as Koba, Caesar’s ruthless bonobo adviser
    • Judy Greer as Cornelia, Caesar’s wife, mother of Blue Eyes and a newborn son, and honorary aunt of Ash
    • Terry Notary as Rocket, a common chimpanzee who is Caesar’s second-in-command and one of his most trusted friends. Because of this, he is Caesar’s children’s honorary uncle.
    • Karin Konoval as Maurice, Caesar’s Bornean orangutan third-in-command and member of the ape council
    • Nick Thurston as Blue Eyes, Caesar and Cornelia’s teenage son, honorary nephew of Rocket, and honorary cousin and best friend of Ash.
    • Doc Shaw as Ash, Rocket’s teenage son, Caesar and Cornelia’s honorary nephew, and Blue Eyes’ best friend and honorary cousin.
    • Jason Clarke as a leader of a small group of human survivors
    • Keri Russell as Ellie, a former nurse who is his second wife.
    • Kodi Smit-McPhee as his teenage son.
    • Gary Oldman as Dreyfus, the leader of the surviving humans. Interesting that Gary Oldman’s character is named Dreyfus.
    • Jocko Sims as an ally of Dreyfus.
    • Kirk Acevedo as a guy with an attitude problem and a strong hatred for apes.
    • James Franco, from Rise of the Planet of the Apes, is seen in a posthumous cameo video.

    Source for these Cast Notes: Wikipedia

  4. Male Stars Perfect 5.0
  5. Female Stars Great 4.0
  6. Female Costars Very Good 3.5
  7. Male Costars Great 4.0
  8. Really Great 4.5

    The film is an exceptionally good SciFi action-thriller, no mean accomplishment in this golden age of such high brow and jaw-droppingly expensive productions.

  9. Direction Really Great 4.5

    Given the exceptionally good job Matt Reeves did directing #DawnOfApes, it’s a good thing he’s also directing 2016’s third installment of the trilogy.

  10. Play Great 4.0

    Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver wrote the terrific screenplay, albeit it had to carry a lot of water given #DawnOfApes middle movie responsibilities.

    Jaffa & Silver came up with the characters, meaning Caesar and his compatriots is their invention. Here’s an interview with them.

    Pierre Boulle, now deceased, wrote the original novel La Planète des Singes. Gee, what’s that translate to?

  11. Music Perfect 5.0
  12. Visuals Perfect 5.0

    San Francisco and environs, yet again: The world’s most cinematic city, bridge and nearby redwood forests are fantastically recast as the redoubts of bedraggled survivors – simian and human.

  13. Content
  14. Risqué 2.2
  15. Sex Innocent 1.0
  16. Violence Brutal 3.0
  17. Rudeness Salty 2.5
  18. Supernatural 3.5

    Reality Note about the Production: Final frame says that 15,000 jobs were created by the movie. Interesting that right before that credit came up, the previous credit informed us that this San Francisco set movie was shot in British Columbia. So, many of the 15,000 jobs must be Canadian.

  19. Circumstantial Surreal 3.0
  20. Biological Supernatural 4.0
  21. Physical Supernatural 3.4


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Jul 12, 2014 2:09PM

Regarding BrianSez’s Review
“Yes, ape and human should be brothers, but stupidity and war-mongering abound on both sides. Sound familiar? Yeah, of course it does.” Well said.