|The apes in a contemplative mood|
Two factions are in conflict, with hurt and angry feelings on both sides. Some members of each faction want to go to war and wipe out the enemy, while others want to avoid a devastating war at all costs. Some members can't get past the mistreatment of the past, and are full of hate and bitterness .. and fear. And misunderstandings abound ... That basic situation has been the basis of a great many movies, and it's the basis of this sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes. A contagion has wiped out many humans, and a pocket of them needs the cooperation of the intelligent, talking apes who were created by a lab experiment, but who mistrust human beings. Can they work together, or will violence break out in spite of the best efforts of ape leader, Caesar (Andy Serkis)? Dawn boasts some excellent FX work (although at times it resembles a video game), and some effective scenic design, but its story is so over-familiar and everything is generally so predictable that all you can do is watch the apes go ape-shit and wait for the whole tedious business to be over. I think undiscriminating teenagers who think there's something profound in the ape-human debate made this a hit. The apes, such as Koba (Toby Kebbell of Wrath of the Titans), are much more interesting than the human characters, and usually out-act them as well. Gary Oldman [Criminal Law] is fine as human leader Dreyfus, but he deserves to be in better movies than this.
Verdict: Enough with the apes! **.