I loved the original Planet of the Apes films from the sixties and seventies. I loathed Tim Burton’s attempt at a re-boot. I liked Rise of the Planet of the Apes a lot. So now you know where I stand on all the Apes films up to the latest. I saw Dawn of the Planet of the Apes tonight.
It’s really good. It feels like a more confidently made film than Rise. The opening sequence involves no human characters and no spoken dialogue; it takes confidence to do that. The result is a really well-paced movie. It takes it’s time developing characters so that, when the battle scenes come, they’re not just meaningless battles scenes; you’re actually interested in the fates of each battler. It’s quite a long film but it doesn’t feel long and that’s always a good sign. Another big plus point is the CGI. Normally I hate CGI heavy films and this is more CGI heavy than them all. But, for the first time, you actually believe that you’re watching live action for most of the scenes.
On the minus side, I was a bit bored about a third of the way in when the story focuses on diplomatic moves between the humans and the apes. Also there is one rubbish character; the stock arsehole character who keeps ruining every attempt made by the humans to create peace with the apes is a bit cheesy.
Overall, though, it demonstrates how you can have a blockbuster, CGI-heavy, successful film which incorporates good characterisation, proper pacing and intelligent ideas. One question; will there be a sequel to the sequel? I hope so.