Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

Post  BoG on Tue Feb 24, 2015 5:31 pm

Sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011), which began the new Apes franchise (so this is the 2nd film in the new film series).  Ten years have passed since the previous film, during which a pandemic has swept the planet and 90% of the human population has died. Like the previous film, this still takes place in the Bay Area and what used to be San Francisco, but James Franco's character is not around - probably a victim of the sickness. Nature has done a good job so far in reclaiming the ground; everything is overgrown with new green growth. Chimp leader Caesar (motion capture by Andy Serkis again) is in charge of a large conclave of apes in the North Bay, where they hunt for food in the new wilderness in the manner of pre-industrial American Indians; their only problems seem to be other predators such as bears. But, in the city, there's a large conclave of surviving humans, led by humans played by Gary Oldman and Jason Clarke as Malcolm, who takes a small party with him to seek out the power source of the still-working hydroelectric dam. They run into the talking apes and, needless to say, the sudden confrontation is a revelation to all involved.

This was a colorful post-apocalyptic adventure, reminding me a bit of I am Legend (2007), probably because the FX are similar. Some of the plot copies the old Battle For the Planet of the Apes (73) film, in regard to that now-famous ape law, "Ape Shall Not Kill Ape," and that there's that one evil or deranged ape (named Koba in this case) who will not follow this law in secret (then, not so secret), demolishing all hope for a peaceful co-existence between apes and mankind. The computer FX are still problematic for me - half the time they're impressive; the other half, I'm reminded that I'm looking at real humans and animated apes, like in a high-end video game. Most of the humans, however, I found to be uninteresting and unlikable; they're all either fearful, stupid or, in one case, both - again, that one idiot prone to panic who will ruin things for all involved. Keri Russell plays the main female human role and she's OK. There's also a rather lame deus ex machina ending in which some military base is contacted, putting an end to the conflict for now. BoG's Score: 6.5 out of 10
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