Posted July 9, 2014 by Yuri Mangahas in Movies/TV


No Apes are reported to be mad with this review. No, none at all.

What made Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes spectacular were the themes it explored. Unlike the classic series featuring late great Charlton Heston, it presented ideas and concepts that are very much relative to our society today. Equality, the twisted nature of humanity, as well as revolutionary undertones were depicted smoothly, breathing fresh air to the Apes franchise. It’s not just any typical sci-fi eyefest, but one which tests our sensibilities and opens our eyes to a brand new world. It was nothing short of classic.

Which brings us to its sequel, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes. If the first movie brought the ideas I’ve mentioned to the plate, Dawn expounded on them, whilst giving us a glimpse of a tomorrow that has plagued their universe’s humanity.

Ten years have passed since the Ape breakout at San Francisco. For a decade, mankind has suffered from the effects of the ALZ-113 pandemic, creating chaos and desolation on a global scale. A huge chunk of the world’s population has been shaved off, governments were shut down, and cities were left to rubble. The Apes on the other hand have prospered and settled to their new home. Under the leadership of Caesar, everything is at peace. However, an unlikely string of events ignites the humans’ hatred against Apes, and in turn, carves the path to war.

Right, you are now seeing primates riding horses and firing guns. Scared? You should be.

It was made clear from the opening moments of the film that the Apes are the main stars of the movie and not the human characters, with a few from the latter side playing as casual antagonists. There is also a high degree of contrast in terms of characterization. If the original Apes flicks showed a very black-and-white conflict in their entirety, we now see varying shades of gray, as shown by Caesar, Koba, Malcolm, and Dreyfus. They were given layers which provides us scope with their motivations and feelings regarding the events of the story.

Andy Serkis and the motion capture cast shell out an amazing amount of depth with their performances, pushing us to sympathize with their characters and in a way, forget that it was actual humans who did the cave work and not the CG-rendered Apes. Everything felt natural – their movements, nuances, and expressions didn’t feel awkward at all. It was very humane to say the least.

What’s nice about Dawn is that while we still see foreshadowing glimpses of the future as seen in the original 1968 Planet of the Apes – humans being caged, for instance – the sequel doesn’t try to hit the viewer over the head with references to the original movies as Rise sometimes did – well, apart from the score, that is. The music was a complete homage to the classics, and complemented some of the scenes nicely.

The CG is also phenomenal, to the point where we could not even distinguish the line between what was real and what was rendered. They just looked real down to the last touch. There are amazing set pieces and incredible production designs built for the film, with a few of them giving an air of dread and desolation. It easily separated the sequel from Rise, which is far more grounded than any of the movies in the franchise. Matt Reeves definitely stepped up his game this time, with Dawn becoming a visual departure from his usual style.

In conclusion, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes turns out as one of the best sequels made in history. The presence of real-world themes, the CG-work, a strong script, as well as a brilliant performance from the cast sets it apart from recent summer blockbusters. Definitely a must-watch for everyone.

10 Raging Primates Out Of 10!


Special thanks to 20th Century Fox Philippines for the invite.



Yuri Mangahas

Yuri is magnanimously juggling between two managerial jobs: A technical manager position for an advertising/copy-writing company, and an associate editorial position for a fashion and lifestyle magazine. Nevertheless, he still finds time taking photos and seeking for geek nirvana.