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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Reviewed by Galen Strickland

Hail Caesar!

The opening and closing shots in this film are close-ups of Caesar's eyes. There's a lot of action and exposition in between, but in reality not much happens in the way of a story arc. We knew at the end of Rise of the Planet of the Apes that a confrontation between humanity and the newly-intelligent apes was inevitable. At the end of this film we know another confrontation between the apes and a military unit making its way to San Francisco is inevitable. In the middle we get conflict and then conciliation, trust and then betrayal. We see good humans and bad humans, good apes and bad apes. There is gunfire and explosions and pyrotechnics galore. Lots of action, but so very predictable, and still not really leading anywhere.

I am not saying this is a bad film. The special effects are terrific, the motion capture and CGI work for the apes is superb, and there are actually a couple of good performances from the human half of the equation. I'm sure the majority that see it will like it. Even though predictable, it's not boring, and I enjoyed most of it while watching, even though major doses of suspension of disbelief were necessary on at least three occasions. But in the end I was left unsatisfied. The major problem is that this is just a transitional film that leaves us in the same position at the end as we were at the beginning. It will do enough business that a third film is a foregone conclusion, but I lost interest in the original Apes films after the second one, and I think the same thing may happen this time around too.


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