The blockbuster genre has always had some formula or a pre-defined way of playing out. The very purpose of the genre is to appease public interests. The common blockbuster films, including even some very good ones, end up following very similar storyline structures and three-act writing. They all have action, catchphrases, a moment of origin, the hero’s struggle, and the hero’s final triumph. All of these were found in Rupert Wyatt’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the classic Planet of the Apes films, as well as almost all blockbuster films, good or bad.
Matt Reeves, however, is one of the most original blockbuster film directors of the modern day, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was his first prominent showing of that.
With compelling characters, its own pacing and structure, philosophical narratives, original storytelling, excellent visual storytelling, and near perfection in technical aspects Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is easily one of the most original blockbuster films ever, on par with Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, and something that despite not earning fame upon release, will remain an absolute classic.
How to Stream or Download Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
To stream or to download the movie, click on the Download button that is located below this review. Check out also what we think about the sequel to the film which is War of the Planet of the Apes.
The Movie Review
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is set ten years after the events of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, with the Simian flu now having wiped out the majority of the human population.
The apes have settled their own civilization in a jungle, and Caesar now has a juvenile son, and his wife is pregnant with a second child. After years of peace, the apes are invaded by a few humans. And even though it’s for good reason, a bad apple in the batch ruins things over. Among the apes, Koba’s already established hatred for humans only grows further.
Caesar, the wise leader, has the opposite approach towards humans for making a statement of peace. Humans, however, seek to get an old dam running for the sake of electricity, and won’t back down from requesting assistance from the apes for this mission of restoring electricity.
The humans sent to the job are compliant and are eventually trusted by Caesar (especially Malcolm, his wife Ellie, and his son Alexander), besides one of them who still carries a discriminatory attitude towards the apes, and had killed one of them in the very beginning. Though in the background, there’s the ex-military officer Dreyfus, who’s secretly planning more action against the apes.
Koba’s hatred for humans was already nicely defined in the first film, but here, it’s taken to a much deeper level. The way Koba skeptically judges any human proposal or action. He keeps a vengeful eye on the humans of the city, and upon seeing the developments among the human militaries, he concludes violence as the only solution, to the extent that he’d have to subtly overthrow Caesar and lead the apes towards a complete demolition of humans.
It’s interesting that the only bonobo character in the entire franchise turned out to be the darkest and the most violent ape, provided the lively and peaceful nature of bonobos in general. It’s not just the escalation of Koba’s hatred, but also Caesar’s journey of understanding more perspectives.
The mindset of Koba would vaguely influence him in War for the Planet of the Apes, yet the compassion of the few humans he’d befriend is what would still devote him to his mission of peace. The storyline is downright amazing, and the script by Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa, and Amanda Silver perfectly execute it all.
Matt Reeves is amazing at visually telling his stories. He knows how to carry the POV of a developing character, and then to view that character from the audience’s eyes when he/she is at the very best state. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is made even greater by Andy Serkis’ performance as Caesar, and the film’s music and cinematography.
Michael Giacchino is easily one of the best composers of modern-day films, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will remain one of his most memorable original scores. Michael Seresin’s cinematography is beautiful and makes almost every frame memorable. The way Andy Serkis pulls off such great performances as CG characters is worthy of immense appreciation too.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is easily one of the most original blockbuster films of recent times. It has its own narrative, complies very little with general blockbuster standards, is amazingly directed, and has some of the best character writing of recent times in general. It gets a little repetitive in between, but its authenticity is still hard to match for blockbuster films unless they recreate the very ways of telling a story to such a degree.