‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ continues 10 years after the events of ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ (2011). The world changed drastically as the ALZ-113 virus, now known as the Simian virus, claimed most of the world’s population leaving only humans who are genetically immune to survive after every country had fallen to its knees and collapsed. The Simian Virus had caused civil disorders and martial laws which contributed to economy’s around the world failing and society fading.
Caesar (Andy Serkis) is leading a new group of Apes, with some apes returning from the first film, they live in the Muir Woods as what Caesar describes as a ‘family.’ Throughout the film Caesar’s judgement, loyalty and trust is tested which is something that everyone can relate to. Caesar is such a popular character because of how ‘human’ he is, many humans naturally in life think about and look to the future, this is something that we see Caesar do a few times. Everyone looks up to Caesar, and the relationship he has with his fellow apes is strained when Humans are involved, especially Koba (Toby Kebbell), who we learn more about and see more of, but Caesar does show his ‘animal’ side when needed to.
Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) and Malcolm (Jason Clarke) are the two leaders of a group of survivors. The group are in desperate need of a power source due to having very little fuel left for generators. Unfortunately for the humans the Apes camp is near a reliable power source, a dam. When Malcolm, his wife Ellie (Keri Russell), his son with a previous wife Alexander (Kodi Smit-McPhee) , and two other members of the group, Foster (Jon Eyez) and Carver (Kirk Acevedo) go looking for the Dam’s station, Carver encounters two Apes, Blue Eyes, Caesar’s son (Nick Thurston) and Ash (Doc Shaw). In a needless panic Carver wounds one of the Apes with a bullet which sounds loud through the forest leading to many of the Apes being around the group in seconds. This as you can tell while watching was just the first of many tense and awkward encounters that the Apes and Humans were going to have.
Malcolm shows an understanding towards the Apes, appreciating that they are not ‘just Apes’ now. However not all feel the same and this film almost feels like a ticking time bomb waiting to go off, it’s very tense and has you gripped with anticipation. The sub plots are fairly poor, particularly the human ones, relationships are made complicated for no particular reason. Many of the difficulties that as an audience we are meant to sympathise about are not explained or detailed enough, fortunately they don’t have a large effect on the film.
The effects in ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ are brilliantly scary, the surroundings looking like something out of ‘The Last of Us’ or ‘I Am Legend.’ The Apes movement and behaviours are fantastic and really help take this film up a level, without the effects it’s hard to see the film competing but the story would hold its own without the effects.
Caesar has developed massively from the first and impresses throughout the film as he learns more about humans and Apes. Malcolm was a good character and the people developing the film did a great job in having someone influential in a human role after losing James Franco. The film shows a true and graphic interpretation on what life would really be like living in fear of Apes in a worn out, run down world. As good as the film is, not knowing what’s going to happen next is a key factor throughout and now knowing what happens, I’m not sure the film will have the same effect the second time I watch it. Although the film includes trust, family, friends, betrayal, hate and love it comes down to what humans and apes would do to survive?