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July 14, 2017

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) --- "The Dawning Of An Ape World May Lead To An Ape Betrayal We Saw Coming."

Plot Summary
Ten years after simian flu wiped out much of the world's homo sapiens, genetically enhanced chimpanzee Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his ever-growing band of followers have established a thriving colony just outside San Francisco in Muir Woods. Meanwhile, a small band of human survivors emerges, which forces Caesar -- as a leader -- to grapple with the dual challenge of protecting his people and re-establishing a relationship with the remaining human population -- the latter being Caesar's secret wish.

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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     Rise of Planet of the Apes (2011) [RISE] is one of the rare remakes that proved to be a success and even enhanced the original film. In addition, the film had heart and an original take on a well-known story.  However, RISE pales in comparison to the almost Sci-fi masterpieces that is Dawn of Planet of the Apes (2014) [DAWN] directed by Matt Reeves (Firefly, War for Planet of the Apes) and picks up 10 years after the events in RISE. There is very few movie today that use an overload of CGI without feeling overused (i.e. Avatar, The Hobbit trilogy, etc) and DAWN is one of those lucky few. The film was seamless and the level of craftsmanship displayed is marvelous,  I forgot that I was mainly watching CGI characters brought to life through motion-capture (mo-cap) technology. But the CGI is not the only thing that succeeded in this film, instead, there are three main parts that without one or the other than the movie would have sunk.

     First, Michael Giacchino is an amazing composure who has worked on a number of known films - like Rogue One, Jurassic World, and Doctor Strange – and here he composes a hauntingly beautiful music score that reflects the needed tone/emotion in every scene perfectly. Our adrenaline pumps during the action sequences and our emotions roll like the waves during the heartfelt/heartbreaking scenes. Of course, the score would not have worked if the cinematography was not done properly and it is a good thing that it was. Secondly, Michael Seresin (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, 2018’s Jungle Book) is a cinematography veteran, having done classics like Midnight Express and Angel Heart. From the first few scenes it is obvious that DAWN is not your typical light-hearted fantasy/action summer movie but instead, it is a gritty, realistic portrayal of a slowly escalating conflict. The climaxing battle scenes are spectacular and mesmerizing visual feats that also prove to be a bit heartbreaking for our favorite apps. And finally, the core of this film is the approach of storytelling. It is intellectually and skillfully told by depicting well developed and believable characters who are played by amazing actors. The main message of the film is the very human conflict between the apes and the humans but it is clear that the rising conflict is based on lies and misunderstandings. The apes view humans as barbaric, dangerous, and distrustful, while the humans believe the apes are responsible for the coming extinction of the human race. And while there are individuals on both sides that are trying to find a more peaceful solution instead of war, the voices of the peaceful fighters are continually undermined by the loud voices of the aggressors.

     Overall, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is as close to a Sci-Fi masterpiece with its marvelous special effects, haunting music score, beautiful imagery, and well-developed story. The film captures this movie's true essence as it follows Caesar’s story and his strive for freedom. It displays the vulnerabilities of the humans and that nothing should be underestimated. It film forces us to question the idea of war: why do we fight each other? Or why are we willing to do whatever it takes to kill each other? It shows that those who cry for war and are willing to manipulate the truth in order to achieve that goal usually come out on top. While those who campaign for peace are seen as weak, unpatriotic, and are sometimes ostracized by their people. This is why I believe that Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is one of the most touching and thought-provoking films of 2014.

“I always think... ape better than human. I see now... how much like them we are.”
- Caesar

Final Vote
Worth Seeing:  4.5 of 5 star
Worth Buying:  4.5 of 5 stars

I hope you liked this post, subscribe to my blog via email HERE, send in your comments, and watch Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014).

Movies Similar 
Godzilla (2014)
Jurassic Park (1993)
Jurassic Park 2: Lost World (1997)
Jurassic Park 3 (2001)
Jurassic World (2015)
King Kong (2005)
Kong: Skull Island (2017)
Legend of Tarzan (2016)
Planet of the Apes (1968)
Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)
Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)
Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)
Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)
Planet of the Apes (2001) REBOOT
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)
War on the Planet of the Apes (2017)

Cast & Crew
Directed by Matt Reeves
Writing Credits
     (Written by) Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa, and Amanda Silver.
      (Characters) Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver.
      (Novel) Pierre Boulle
Produced by 
     Mark Bomback           ---     executive producer
     Peter Chernin             ---     producer
     Dylan Clark                 ---     producer
     Thomas M. Hammel  ---     executive producer
     Rick Jaffa                    ---     producer
     Amanda Silver            ---     producer
     Jennifer Teves            ---     associate producer
     Jenno Topping            ---     executive producer
     Heather Willman        ---     stereo producer: Dimension X
Cinematography by Michael Seresin
Film Editing by William Hoy and Stan Salfas
Production Design by James Chinlund
     Andy Serkis                    ---      Caesar
     Jason Clarke                 ---      Malcolm
     Gary Oldman                 ---      Dreyfus
     Keri Russell                   ---      Ellie
     Toby Kebbell                 ---      Koba
     Kodi Smit-McPhee       ---      Alexander
     Kirk Acevedo                 ---      Carver
     Nick Thurston               ---      Blue Eyes
     Terry Notary                  ---      Rocket
     Karin Konoval               ---      Maurice
     Judy Greer                     ---      Cornelia
     Jon Eyez                          ---      Foster
     Enrique Murciano       ---      Kemp
     Larramie Doc Shaw    ---      Ash
     Lee Ross                         ---      Grey
     Keir O'Donnell              ---      Finney
     Kevin Rankin                 ---      McVeigh
     Jocko Sims                     ---      Werner
     Al Vicente                       ---      Manone
     Richard King                 ---      Stone
     Scott Lang                      ---      Luca
     Deneen Tyler                 ---      Woman
     Lombardo Boyar          ---      Terry

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