News

REVIEW: ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ is the best yet

REVIEW: ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ is the best yet

Photo: YouTube

Genre: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi | Run Time: 130 min | Rated: PG-13
Director: Matt Reeves | Starring: Gary Oldman, Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Keri Russell

By: George Wolf

You can officially forget Dr. Zaius. In fact, if you think Rupert Wyatt’s impressive Rise of the Planet of the Apes from 2011 was the best that particular series could possibly do, you can forget that, too. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is an evolution to a far superior breed of film artistically, visually and emotionally.

The devastating truths of prejudice, bias, fear and powerlust are the foundational planks of any great piece of political theater, dating back to Shakespeare (fittingly) and before. Director Matt Reeves (Let Me In, Cloverfield), along with his team of writers, respects this. It is respect for the content that elevated the previous installment so far above franchise efforts as well as audience expectations.

With that respect and those expectations now established, Reeves picks up Wyatt’s themes and expamds them with breathtaking expertise. The Simian Flu – the virus that gave Caesar (Andy Serkis) and other lab apes exceeding intelligence – proved catastrophic to the human population. Ten years after the outbreak and the “incident on the Golden Gate Bridge”, the apes are thriving in their own society in a forest beyond the city. Meanwhile, what’s left of the city’s human population struggles to survive.

Wisely, Reeves doesn’t pick sides, and in leaving judgment behind we’re able to see this thrilling Man V Ape escapade for its larger historical and human relevance.

These elements coursing beneath the surface of his film help to explain its profound impact, but it’s what’s layered on top that thrills.

In utterly stunning 3D, Reeves fills the expanse of his screen with fascinating and startling images, action sequences and set pieces at once familiar and unlike anything else unspooling this summer. Once again, you forget that half the drama before you erupts between CGI images and trained animals – the image is that true, the drama that compelling.

Dawn is as convincing on every front, even when it has no business succeeding. It is so loud, brutal, and committed to its premise that you cannot but surrender to the chaos. Equally successful as summer blockbuster and political allegory, the film is as well written in both arenas as any you will find.

Darker, more intense and deeply satisfying, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes takes a good thing and makes it better.

Verdict 4 Stars

Recent Headlines

11 hours ago in Local

Police arrest May Day protesters in Seattle

space needle

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle police say they arrested nine people during anti-capitalist protests that injured five officers on May Day. Authorities…

11 hours ago in Local

Missing boy found dead after hiking near the Big Four Ice Caves

ice

Officials report it is unclear how the boy died but it did not involved the ice caves. The trail leading to the caves only just reopened Friday, after a fatal incident last July.

12 hours ago in Local

Seattle traffic is backing up, Viaduct isn’t only construction project causing problems

Seattle

The State Department of Transportation's Lisa Van Cise says the SnoCo Squeeze is also bad.

12 hours ago in Local

Seattle braces for heavier traffic this Monday due to Viaduct closure

traffic jam

If you thought Friday's traffic was bad due to the viaduct closer, the State Department of Transportation says brace yourself for today.

12 hours ago in Local

4-alarm fire in Mount Vernon destroys two businesses

PC: KGMI/ Jennifer Irwin

damage fire

Craft Stoves and Hansen's Furniture were gutted and a carpet cleaning store nearby suffered heat damage.