Matt Reeves' DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
Review by Dennis D. McDonald
DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES effectively portrays a clash of civilizations and uses drama and technology to make this clash real. Ape and human characters are front and center and we understand their motivations and their fundamental similarities and differences. Conflict is portrayed cinematically but realistically. There is much violence punctuated by occasional “humanity” on both sides. Plus, the director and storytellers resist the many opportunities for mawkish sentimentalism.
Yet, there is a grim and humorless tone that permeates the film. We are witnessing a world at war with itself but just can’t seem to raise itself out of the circumstances the civilizations find themselves in. On the one hand we see the surviving humans who are desperate and know they are sliding back into very hard times. On the other side we see the apes’ slowly evolving bucolic culture that knows humans can’t be trusted. It’s a no-win situation.
I can’t say I really “enjoyed” the film. It’s not clever like Edge of Tomorrow and it’s not original like Snowpiercer. Overall it’s a real downer. Yet I must credit the artistry at work and the storytelling. As the very final credit says, 15,000 people were employed as a result of this film’s production and the results are there on the screen for all to see. I just don’t think I’ll be seeing this one again.
Review copyright (c) 2014 by Dennis D. McDonald