Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes Reviews

Page 1 of 413
December 11, 2017
Entertaining sci-fi-ish action flick. I still hate CGI characters, although this movie does it well. I watched the whole thing without ape subtitles because I pirated it thinking the audience was just supposed to infer what the apes are grunting and signing about...I feel dumb
½ December 9, 2017
Riveting and beautiful, the second PoA film ups its already good predecessor with intelligence and intimacy
½ December 4, 2017
"Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes" rises to the occasion. "Dawn" builds off it's predecessor's success by making a bolder and emotional resonance film. Plus a knockout performance by Andy Serkis and grade 'A' special effects.

When it was confirmed that 20th Century Fox was going to reboot the Planet of the Apes series it was clear that there were only going to be two outcomes ... it would suck or it would wow. In 2011, Rise of the Planet of the Apes clearly wowed viewers and critics alike with the exception of its title. Now, set eight years later, after the events of the first film Dawn of the Planet of the Apes succeeds in almost every way for sequels. It's a more ambitious, thrilling and emotionally resonant film from its predecessor. Taking over the director's chair from Rise's Rupert Wyatt is Matt Reeves (Cloverfield and Let Me In).

From the beginning of the film Reeves immediately throws us into the action to get your pulse racing. This informs us of the chaos and tension left from the first film. We meet Caesar (played by Andy Serkis) and his loyal group of primates, who have grown a community in San Francisco's Redwood Forest. Serkis is top-notch like he was in the first film. He gives Caesar a sense of morality and leadership. Every move of facial expression Serkis makes through the motion-capture acting is perfection. Caesar and his family have also matured over those eight years by building a community and using signs to communicate. They are in peace away from the humans. It's a shame that it doesn't last long because those "damn dirty humans" show up.

Most of the humans want to exterminate the apes for giving them a virus, including their leader Dreyfus (Gary Oldman), but Malcolm (Jason Clarke) sees differently. He wants to make peace and befriend the apes. Caesar is cautious at first but ends up warming up to the humans. Of course, with this being a film not everything falls into place. Koba (played by Toby Kebbell) doesn't like it. He despises the humans because of his past and wants them annihilated. Caesar's fight for peace puts him into mortal conflict with Koba. The human performances were good, but the real show is stolen by the performances of the apes. Serkis and his crew triumphed at the motion capture acting.

Their performances were stunning and it made the apes feel even more real. Apart from the acting is the groundbreaking special effects. Reeves and cinematographer Michael Seresin bring a sense of awe to the screen. In the end, Dawn triumphs Rise by a long shot and leaves you eager for more sequels to follow. Charlton Heston's original 1968 Planet of the Apes is still one of my favorites in the series, but after seeing Dawn it is clear that we may have a new winner. These apes are dynamite entertainment.
December 2, 2017
A visual marvel, the sequel to the prequel of the reboot of the planet of the apes manages to remain interesting and engaging story of survival and companionship.
November 19, 2017
Groundbreaking and phenomenal, the sequel trilogy has a wonderful outlook after the performance of this film. The Villain is amazing and scary and tackles many metaphorical allegories for those who listen and watch closely.
November 17, 2017
This film is the most incredible film I ever watch in my life. Dawn of the planet of the apes is so much better than the first one I can tell you that with good acting and outstanding directing by Matt reeves and I can wait for war to come out. Love this fucking film ever and this trilogy love can wait for war.
½ November 8, 2017
Certainly an improvement over it's predecessor, 'Rise For The Planet Of The Apes', this sophomore effort proves to be an emotionally compelling experience. The general premise is very interesting and the beginning sequence was strong and after the human characters and problems are established it becomes more engaging as it progresses. The human characters are far better in this one. The special effects were quite impressive.
½ November 8, 2017
A fantastic concept executed in a story with constant tension, three-dimensional and morally complex characters brought to life by great performances (apes and humans alike), and some spectacular action in the second half.
November 7, 2017
Like its predecessor it can feel a bit hammy and predictable at times but the VFX and the acting is good enough to make it enjoyable
½ November 6, 2017
Despite some of the human characters, everything else is breathtaking.
½ October 29, 2017
I have seen all of the Planet of the Apes movies. I have been a fan since I was a kid. This movie is by far the very best Planet of the Apes movie ever made! A masterpiece!! A must see!
½ October 28, 2017
You would think that the decline in quality of the original 5 "Apes" movies, each one lower-budget and worse quality than the one that preceded it, would give filmmakers pause, but since 2001 we have endured 3 awful s/prequel/remakes.   And yet these films do well at the box office, and are generally well-reviewed.

If this were the "Transformers" series I would care that much, but the original "Planet of the Apes" is indeed brilliant. Based on Rod Serling's adaptation of  Pierre Boulle's novel La Plančte des singes , it was released in 1968, and features zero CGI.  Instead it featured real actors doing "acting" while wearing make-up and simian-looking prosthetics.  These devices were considered advanced at the time, but now appear rather primitive:

Still how scary-looking is that?  Roddy McDowell, Kim Hunter, and Maurice Evans used their costumes to enhance their performances, to give them an "otherness" that they employed, but also had to overcome in order to create full characters. This is the opposite of what Jack Nicholson said about his role as The Joker in 1989's "Batman", essentially to "let the costume do the work".

The tension between artifice and reality is something CGI erases.  While this makes for more realism, it also seems to infect movies with a slackness when it comes to developing stories and characters.  Critics praise CGI and forget that a realistic wink or tear does not a character make. This was the case for the second remake of King Kong, of which A.O. Scott said:
The sheer audacious novelty of the first "King Kong" is not something that can be replicated, but in throwing every available imaginative and technological resource into the effort, Mr. Jackson comes pretty close.
Novelty and technology can't sustain a movie for 3 hours, characters and narrative can.  Inexplicably Roger Ebert called Kong II "A stupendous cliffhanger, a glorious adventure, a shameless celebration of every single resource of the blockbuster, told in a film of visual beauty and surprising emotional impact."   Roger Ebert is a wonderful human being, but I find his writing unmemorable.  A.O. Scott seems to specialize in plot summaries.  Plot summary + apologia that this is a "spirited" movie that isn't perfect = A.O. Scott review. 

Despite my griping, I too wanted to see chimpanzees on horseback firing machine guns (I'm only human).  I found that it was just not as thrilling as what the original "Apes" movie did for me: imagine a world where humans are no longer the pre-eminent species, where it's payback time for the creatures we have abused for millenia.   Jerry Goldsmith's eerie modernist score helped create this sense of unease - so different from the crash, boom, bang of near-constant violence in "Dawn", which has a strange calming effect on me because it seems to be in almost every movie now, and signifies that the good guy is going to win.  The other parts of the score could have been used in a life insurance commercial.

Speaking of good guys, did Director Matt Reeves have to make ape-leader Caesar into an absolute saint?  Consider the strategy in the original "Apes" franchise.  Caesar is a killer, but you understand his rage as he sees his enslaved ape-brothers stun-gunned, and watches his kindly guardian, played by Ricardo Montalban, die in order to protect him.    I go to movies to see people who are worse than me, not better.
 
Recall the harrowing last scene in "Planet of the Apes" with Taylor and Nova about to enter into the Forbidden Zone after seeing the ruined Statue of Liberty:

Final verdict on "The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes":"You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!"
 
Postscript:   "Planet of the Apes" features one of my favorite opening scenes in movies, Charlton Heston, the spaceship captain is smoking a cigar on the bridge, recording into his log before he goes into suspended animation:
"Tell me, though, does man, that marvel of the universe, that glorious paradox who sent me to the stars, still make war against his brother...keep his neighbor's children starving?"

Post-postscript: Really getting tired of seeing Gary Oldman, one of my favorite actors, trotting out his American accent in these trumped-up, square-spectacled Commissioner-Gordon-type roles.
½ October 27, 2017
Emotionally resonant, smart and ambitious, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' blend of exhilarating action and stunning storyline make it a fresh addition to the franchise.
½ October 27, 2017
You've got to see this movie its concept and excecution are amazing!
October 21, 2017
I like "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" very much and while I still like 'Rise' a little more, this is a fantastic sequel and an impressive sci-fi film that takes the franchise to a higher level. It is visually spectacular (the apes look even more realistic here than they did in 'Rise'), highly ambitious in terms of narrative, and enthralling all the way through. The film is confident in its pacing and willing to spend a lot of time on developing characters, expanding this world, and deepening the relationship between the apes and humans. The action is exciting and spectacular, and Matt Reeves and his stunt team stage and present action set-pieces beautifully without losing the track of their characters. The film has some issues. It is meandering, the story is very much male-centered, and what Gary Oldman's character does toward the end of the film doesn't make any sense. But everything around it is so meticulously crafted and the story is so beautifully told that I can easily look past these flaws. This is first-class mainstream entertainment.
½ October 15, 2017
So awful! Stop watching halfway through and just fast-forwarded. Just couldn't stand how predictable it was, how syrupy and mawkish, just nonsense. Did see lots of pyrotechnics and cool special effects in the second half, so if you don't mind the apes, could be OK for some fun.
October 12, 2017
Excellent movie! The pace of action is good throughout and the acting was fantastic! If you are looking for a post-apocalyptic tour-de-force, look no further!
October 10, 2017
Rewatched 2017-10-10
½ October 10, 2017
With considerably more thematic and narrative depth than its rebooted predecessor, "Dawn" carries the "Apes" franchise to bold new heights.
½ October 9, 2017
Man was Gary Oldman wasted in this or what. Brilliant sequel. Koba was an unforgettable villain
Page 1 of 413