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Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes Movie Review

Reviewed by on Jul 12, 2014
Rating: 4 Star Rating

Check out Kidzworld’s review of the emotional actioner Dawn of the Planet of the Apes movie!

By: Lynn Barker

Caesar (Andy Serkis) and Malcolm (Jared Clarke) are two peaceful “guys” whose motto should be “Why can’t we all just get along?”. The fact that one is a very highly evolved “ape” and the other a human won’t make a shred of difference after you watch their story.


Continuing from the last “Apes” movie (2011), it is now ten years after chimp Caesar was given a test drug supposed to aid victims of Alzheimers. Caesar evolved quickly mentally and emotionally but even his human friend could not heal a feeling of betrayal that caused Caesar to lead an ape rebellion.

Ten years later. only one in five hundred humans world-wide has survived a virus that escaped from a lab. Apes were given the virus as test subjects and are blamed for the tragedy by many humans but did not cause it.

Caesar (Andy Serkis in mo-cap suit) confronts MalcolmCaesar (Andy Serkis in mo-cap suit) confronts MalcolmCourtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

Ape Metropolis

Now, an older Caesar lives with his wife and son Blue Eyes, a newborn son and old buddies from the evil ape sanctuary, Rocket, Maurice and Koba, the chimp who was the victim of cruel experiments. Their ape city in Muir Woods, north of San Francisco is thriving.

Caesar feels betrayedCaesar feels betrayedCourtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

From Across the Bay

Survivor Malcolm, his scientist wife Ellie (Keri Russell), son Alex (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and others, including ape hater Carver, enter ape territory looking for a dam that could provide power for the dying city. They encounter Blue Eyes and his buddy Ash (Rocket’s son) and Carver, frightened, shoots and wounds Ash. The humans are kicked out by angry apes.

Ellie is enchanted by Caesar's baby sonEllie is enchanted by Caesar's baby sonCourtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

Later in Town

Caesar and his evolved apes enter the ruined San Francisco in strong numbers to warn the humans to stay away from their territory. Settlement leader Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) reminds ape-friendly Malcolm that the settlement is out of power. They must get the hydroelectric dam in ape territory working or die. He gives Malcolm three days to convince Caesar to let a band of humans fix the dam. Secretly, Dreyfus arms his men for war with the apes if necessary.

Caesar allows Malcolm to work on the damCaesar allows Malcolm to work on the damCourtesy of Twentieth Century Fox


Caesar allows Malcolm, whom he senses is good, to work on the dam with wife Ellie and a few others but they can bring no weapons. Carver hides a gun and when he threatens Caesar’s newborn son with it, he is banished while Ellie is allowed to treat Caesar’s very sick wife with antibiotics. The dam is repaired and lights go on in town.

Koba poses as a stupid ape to humansKoba poses as a stupid ape to humansCourtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

Koba’s Crew

Koba distrusts all humans and leads a spy mission to the city where he discovers the hidden armory manned by Dreyfus’s team of gung ho shooters. Koba returns, kills Carver and after sabotaging Caesar, he frames the humans for destruction and takes over as lead ape while he gathers his army and attacks San Francisco, taking human prisoners.

Angry Koba wants revengeAngry Koba wants revengeCourtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

Caesar Rallies

Malcolm and family help Caesar make it to town and, after resting in his old, abandoned San Francisco home (from the last movie), a stronger Caesar reunites with his son who unwisely followed Koba and with good humans and some of his loyal followers he goes back to the city to face Koba’s forces. Will there truly be an ape/human war?

Caesar tries to get Koba to choose peaceCaesar tries to get Koba to choose peaceCourtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

Wrapping Up

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes succeeds on all fronts. The CGI effects from a ruined San Francisco to apes on horseback are totally believable. The masterful and touching performances of Andy Serkis as Caesar and all the motion capture actors portraying apes are simply phenomenal and deserve a special Academy Award.

Caesar leads his ape followersCaesar leads his ape followersCourtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

Yes, war action, battles and hand-to-uh-paw? combat is very well-choreographed and exciting but it is the heart of the story; the hope against hope for peace and family normalcy within the ape culture as well as the human that will make you want to cry at points in the film. I did. You may never see an ape of any species in a zoo again without feeling a bit sadder.

The filmmakers have done a great job of moving Caesar and his tribe ahead a bit on the evolutionary trail by having them use the sign language taught to Caesar in the past and add a simple, broken speech pattern that gradually develops. In other words, we don’t just jump from “dumb” animals in captivity to apes wearing costumes and speaking perfect English as we saw them in the old 1960’s Charlton Heston film.  This is the “Dawn” of the intelligent ape culture and it is perfectly portrayed.

An angry Caesar protects his homeAn angry Caesar protects his homeCourtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

No film is really perfect or I would go five stars. As is, everyone except very young kids who might be frightened by the angry ape army, should see this film and take in what it has to say about morality, pride, family love, what’s right and wrong and the fact that yes, animals do have souls. I go a strong four stars.

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes Movie Rating:4

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes PosterDawn Of The Planet Of The Apes PosterCourtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is in theaters now!