Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, film review: Super simians outshine bland humans
(12A). Dir. Matt Reeves; Starring Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, 130mins
Thursday 17 July 2014
The latest entry in the man-versus-apes film series is set a mere "10 winters" after the events of 2011's reboot, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, yet the odds have already tipped in the favour of our great ape cousins. We've got the guns, but they've got the numbers.
Simian flu has decimated humanity, and while there is a functioning community of survivors barricaded in an armoury in San Francisco, they are running out of fuel.
And access to a nearby hydroelectric dam requires an excursion into the wooded territory ruled by Caesar, the genetically modified intelligent chimpanzee hero of the previous film.
As anyone with even the most cursory knowledge of sci-fi is aware, humanity and the ape's burgeoning civilisation will not prove able to peaceably co-exist.
What is, perhaps, surprising, is the way the film aligns our sympathies with the apes. Once again, Caesar is the most fascinating and well-drawn character. His Iago-ish companion Koba is a close second.
With its brilliant special effects work, its detailing of the burgeoning of simian culture and social structures, and the mere sight of talking apes on horseback, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes questions the validity of our assumptions about human exceptionalism in a way that is both chilling and thrilling.
Read more: The evolution of Andy Serkis
Andy Serkis' Oscars chance in doubt, says Gary Oldman
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer sparks 100 complaints
Andy Serkis is an extraordinarily expressive Caesar
The only pity is that it rather cheats, by making the human characters so bland, and leaving the detail of the post-apocalyptic human society so sketchy.
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 VMAs 2015: Was Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus' awkward acceptance put-down real or staged?
- 2 If you're not already angry about the migrant crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
- 3 Rules on 5p plastic bags likely to lead to arguments at the check-out
- 4 Chaos breaks out in courtroom as father attacks killer of three-year-old daughter
- 5 I like Corbyn, but let's face it: we don't need another white man at the head of a political party
X Factor hopeful Mason Noise: 'How is Cheryl Fernandez-Versini in the music business, let alone a judge on the show?'
Trevor Noah, Edinburgh Fringe review: New Daily Show host warms up in inspired style
X Factor 2015: Ratings drop almost 2 million compared to last year's launch show
VMAs 2015: Kanye West runs for president, Nicki Minaj calls out Miley Cyrus and the list of winners in full
VMAs 2015: Taylor Swift and her buddy Kendrick Lamar clean-up at awards - full list of winners
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up