The ALZ-113 virus causes the collapse of civilisation. Ten years later, Caesar leads a new generation of apes and an out of the blue encounter with the humans causes hostility between his ranks and the human survivors.
All the ape action one could hope for and more. It’s very rare a sequel can equal it’s predecessor but Dawn is an exception, it not only pays homage to the classic original series it successfully incorporates emotional throw backs to Rupert Wyatt’s Rise notably when Caesar returns home.
The effects trump the first instalment and director Matt Reeves’s film has a better pace than Rise. Using elements from the limited budgeted classic’s follow ups from Beneath, Escape through to Conquest and Battle it also sets new ground in-terms of execution thanks to Reeves skills.
There’s plenty of action set ups from Reeves and there some truly tense scenes notably from a menacing Koba playing a dumb chimp routine or the first human contact with the apes compound. The emotion oozes from Caesar thanks to Andy Serkis and some ingenious effects. With great sets and a real location feel coupled with the music score, immense sound design and some great acting from Jason Clarke and Gary Oldman (slightly under utilised here) it meets entertainment expectations. There’s not just spectacle for spectacles sake, like Rise it feels very much grounded.
Dawn gives apes fans both new and old a fantastic cinematic experience. Granted the story by a handful of writers may not have a lot of twists and turns but Jaff, Silver and Bomback offer an intriguing enough script with both subtle subtext and blatant warnings of both past and present to the viewer. Dawn has plenty to say.
With no time travel loop story element required (as in the original) lets hope the Icarus astronaut’s (from Rise) return thread doesn’t raise it’s head too early and is handled with as much care further down the line as Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has. Yes it’s good. So good in fact you kind of feel guilty for not missing the fantastic Roddy McDowell, bless him. Recommend.