#33 – Dawn of The Planet of The Apes – by Nick Andersen

Dawn pic review

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a 2014 science fiction film directed by Matt Reeves and written by Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver. It stars Andy Serkis, Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell and Kodi Smit-McPhee. The film is a sequel and is set 10 years after the events of Rise of The Planet of The Apes (2011). The film follows a group of people in San Francisco struggling to survive while Caeser tries to keep the balance over his community of intelligent apes. You may have seen Tim Burton’s terrible attempt at a remake of the original film, back in 2001 and felt disappointed, but a lot has changed in the special effects department since, and this film is definitely mind blowingly good.


Rise was already a leap into motion capture but Dawn took the cake. Within three years the crew on Dawn had enhanced the visual effects of the apes so much that it looks just about real. Of course, the story is set 10 years ahead so Caeser is now a full grown adult ape with a wise old man’s look. The CGI work done on this film is absolutely stunning and is hard to believe that no monkey suit or makeup was used in the making.

What makes this an amazing film is of course Andy Serkis and the rest of the apes’ acting. Andy Serkis whom you might better recognize as Gollum from The Lord of The Rings trilogy, is an outstanding actor. The beautiful and flawless moments aren’t in the action scenes but in the silent ones. In the simple yet deep facial expressions, something that amazes me how motion capture can pick up even the slightest micro expressions. It is in the listening and sign language performed by the apes to communicate with each other, that we experience the raw talent these actors really have. You can feel the struggle they go through and the hope that they would be left alone.

The story is good and sets the stage for the next film. The performances by the human characters are also very good and each of the main names have an important part to play which they all succeed in. It’s always enjoyable to see Gary Oldman and he delivers a good role. You can’t go wrong with Gary Oldman. I’m baffled that he’s never won an Oscar before. The cinematography is wonderful. Still you can notice some presence of CGI but great camera work and lighting. Let’s not forget the soundtrack composed by Michael Giacchino. It’s perfect for each scene and tells greatly the air of the situations in the film.

I highly enjoy the relationship these apes have with each other and we get to see the real intimacy and way of life that they share among themselves. I can’t express it enough what a groundbreaking performance Andy Serkis has shown us with the charismatic and wise Caesar that everyone has grown to love. Also an impressive job done by Toby Kebbell as Koba. You can sort of guess where this story goes but you’re just taken away by the amazing acting that brings these CGI apes to life and makes you forget about everything else.

I absolutely loved the film and would immediately recommend it to anyone to watch it right now if they haven’t yet.

Thanks for reading my review!

– Nick Andersen

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