Set 10 years after the events of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Dawn opens with men and apes coexisting by staying out of each other’s way. But with his fuel stockpile running out and in desperate need of power for his city, human Malcolm (Jason Clarke) leads a small team into ape Caesar’s (Andy Serkis) forest home to ask permission to repair a hydroelectric dam. Nuts in each camp — led by Koba (Toby Kebbell) in the ape enclave and Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) in Zone 2, the human city — would rather wipe out the other side and be done with it. Frankly amazing ape effects that are so real they rarely amaze lay bare an all-too-conventional story of enemies learning to respect and care for each other. A movie with no surprises and little to delight the audience (other than a cute scene with a baby ape). And, in spite of the bad guys of both species understanding “human” nature better than their peace-loving leaders, no irony or satire either. Less a science fiction film than a slow-starting action movie, but well made.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014), directed by Matt Reeves