Sci-fi classics really aren’t what they used to be. Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is the latest to get the Hollywood re-envisioning as a follow-up to the excellent Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes.
Director Matt Reeves brings his AAA game to this sequel, which sees the story pick up ten years after lab-boosted intelligent simians slipped the shackles of their human oppressors and escaped in the woodlands near San Francisco.
While the super-monkeys led by Caesar (Andy Serkis) were building an impressive treetop homestead, humans have been having a bad time of it. Simian flu has wiped out many and those who survived have turned into a lawless rabble fighting over dwindling resources.
So ‘Dawn’ takes us into an ape-pocalyptic future where the balance of power has shifted – and details what happens when the human remnants of San Francisco accidentally run into monkey territory. Cue a knife edge potential for all out ape /human war.
The first thing that hits you when watching ‘Dawn’ is that the CGI effects have moved on to a whole new level.
These monkeys are absolutely works of art. The real craftsmanship on display that uses painstaking motion-capture is something you really have to see on the biggest screen you can find. I’m not a fan of 3D movies generally, but this one works a treat, giving impressive depth to the visuals and never trying the ‘oh watch out it’s coming out of the screen’ cheap shots.
‘Dawn’ pulls you in to the horribly escalating conflict, then delivers a full on visceral showdown – where the victor is uncertain and the battle footage deeply unsettling. There is a beating heart of emotion that makes you really relate to characters on both sides of the conflict. I’d never have thought I’d be moved watching two apes interact.
Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is a masterclass on how to re-create a film series, improving on every single element of the source material. We can finally put the memory of Tim Burton’s messy attempt away and revel in what is a new simian master race of sci-fi entertainment.
Superior monkey business all round!