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Sound Off: Matt Reeves' 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' - Thoughts?

by
July 11, 2014

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Now that you've seen it, what did you think? "Apes strong together." Now in theaters everywhere is Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the sequel to the Planet of the Apes reboot from 2011 called Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Directed by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Let Me In), this latest Apes movies introduces us to a new set of humans: Jason Clarke, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Keri Russell and Gary Oldman. Caesar is back, once again played by Andy Serkis, with Toby Kebbell as Koba. Does it live up to Rise? Is it one of the best sequels ever? Once you've seen it, post a comment with thoughts on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Spoiler Warning: We strongly urge everyone to actually see the film before reading ahead, as there may be spoilers below. We also encourage all commenters to keep major spoilers from the film to a minimum, if possible. However, this is an open discussion from this point on! Beware of spoilers, don't ruin this movie!

This movie is incredible. I've seen it twice already, it's one of my favorites of the entire summer, in fact, it's just too damn smart to be a summer movie. It's one of the best movies of the year. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is an extraordinary achievement of filmmaking craft, from the world itself to the set design to the Apes and visual effects seamlessly integrated with humans to the performances on both sides, and at the same time delves deep into societal issues today that plague humanity. Dawn is not a movie about humans, it's a movie about apes. It starts with apes, ends with apes, focuses on apes as protagonists, and only introduces humans as villains, who disrupt and cause more chaos than any good, even though it's only about survival.

There are so many brilliant scenes, and memorable moments throughout (thanks to outstanding work by Matt Reeves). Every scene involving Caesar is riveting, he is a non-human character who has more depth and emotion than most human characters in most Hollywood movies released all year. When the apes show their strength for the first time, that is an incredible moment. The long-take shot with the ape on the tank was breathtaking, not to mention the brutality of apes with guns fighting humans with guns. The scene about "human work" and the apes slowly learning to speak, to evolve, watching them learn about emotions through betrayal, loyalty, and freedom. Exceptional in every way, it is a triumph of modern movie-making.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

What did you think of Matt Reeves' Dawn of the Planet of the Apes? Stellar sequel or a mess?
We will remove any comments that indicate you have not seen the movie, as this area is meant to discuss the film only once you have seen it and can talk about your thoughts. Please keep the comments civilized!

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  • Tey
    Film of the year if the ending wasn't so rushed.
    • OfficialJab
      Really, I thought the ending kept going. Can't comprehend that Malcom survived though.
  • Tey
    The one shot where the camera rotates as an ape rides above a tank should at least grant the film an Oscar nomination in cinematography come Oscars next year.
    • Jon Odishaw
      Certainly the most remarkable shot of the film.
    • jimfromtoto
      Absolutely agree.... that shot was genius and completely sucked you right into the action.
    • Jacob Crim
      I also really liked the shot of Koba embracing Caesars son while the Ape village burned down. So sick.
    • OfficialJab
      The long take of Malcom running through the building being attacked after he's grabbed the medical supplies.
  • alex james
    groundbreaking movie..........Serkis deserves a nomination at the very least for his performance. unreal!
    • Brian Sleider
      In what category? Surely not Best actor, not when all his facial work is tweaked by a team of artists.
      • VAharleywitch
        Then that implies that any actor/ess that delivers a MoCap performance should never receive acknowledgement of their acting. Actors under prosthetics have been nominated. Why not MoCap? I think continued disregard for quality of acting involving MoCap will mean "known" actor/esses will again shy away from those roles.
        • Brian Sleider
          I am not saying they should receive no recognition but it has to be it own category, for "Ceaser" to win for his role in "Apes" it would have to be Serkis and the team how worked on the animation getting the award. Saying Serkis diserves an award is a disservice to the artists who put all the work in on the animation.
  • VoiceOfReason
    **Spoiler, You've been warned and warned again** Fantastic movie. Caesar was such a strong leader. In my opinion the only thing they failed in was his last scene with Koba. A banishment would have sent a stronger message that "Apes are better" than humans. Overall though it really got me to contemplate how much we've lost of our human connection in this fast paced society.
    • Glorundel
      The way I see it; that was not the message at all...at one point Cesar even said that he realised that they are just as good and just as bad as humans so killing Koba was not a breach of "innocence". Awesome Ape characters!!
      • VoiceOfReason
        The Apes were no better, but Ceaser was. His character was so noble and magnificent. He was not only a king but a savior to his people. He was above reproach the whole movie except for that one act. I don't think it ruined him but It would have been a better reinforcement of his character.
        • TK
          I thought that it fit his character perfectly. His overall position in the end was for the good of his kind. He saw what one bad seed could do and decided that he had to do what he had to. Koba could not live, he was the endearment of hate from what he had gone through and he would never have seen reason. If Caesar had let him go he would have come back to kill him or it would have divided the apes. He made the tough decision and you could see that in the end his resolve had faded. The war has begun and they had to stand together.
    • Brian Sleider
      There is no banishment that would work. Some loyal to Koba would have gone with him, now you have an Anti Human AND anti Ape group roving the woods. And Koba is FUCKING SMART not an enemy to keep alive, unless you cage him up and to Koba that would be worse than death. No, Ceaser made the hard but correct choice.
      • VoiceOfReason
        If their were any that were loyal enough to follow Koba then his death would be viewed as a martyrdom to them. They would see Ceasar as no better than Koba and merely power hungry. After all Koba viewed death only necessary to protect the apes. Ash only died because he was not willing to protect the apes as Koba saw necessary. Ceasar likewise saw Koba's death as necessary to protect the ape's. In the eyes of Koba's followers Ceaser is no better and cannot be trusted to follow his own law. In the end banishment with his followers would have at least separated them and given the enemy a face. Now the followers of Koba are unknown and will seek to destroy Ceaser from within his own family. What's more is they will be able to draw other followers away and gain strength much like they did with Ceasers own son.
        • Brian Sleider
          Only 3 apes seemed to really know the extent of Koba's actions. Not a lot of loyal followers. Sure many followed after Ceasers death, but those did so BECAUSE of Ceasers Death. Once they knew he was alive and saw Koba for the usurper that he was they quickly rallied for Ceaser.
  • tyban81
    The CGI is awesome. It is a little long but overall it's a good flick.
  • Astroboy3000
    I give it a B+ overall. Had Kurt Russell been one of the leads then A+ all the way. Not having Kurt Russell in a film is just a hindrance to any film.
  • Sky
    AMAZING. AS GOOD AS THE FIRST. I have been waiting for this since I walked out of the door from the first one, and boy was I so happy when that first scene started and they started chasing those deer/elk/whatever. Agree that Serkis deserves an award, they academy will not be the one to give it to him, at least until he does his most unsatisfying role, then they will give it to him. Or when he is 87
    • Brian Sleider
      I do not agree that he deserves an oscar, not unless the guy who played Koba should get one too. All the apes did an AMAZING job no one ape out performed the others. A LOT of the performances also comes from the artists after the actors go home. Unless there is a new category only for MoCap it is not even fair to give out best actor to a guy whos facial expressions are tweaked by teams of artists.
  • Jon Odishaw
    Good performance from oldman and a special performance from Serkis. I was impressed by the CGI. Good pacing, solid final battle. A quality movie all around 8/10
  • ali3000
    A wonderful movie. There are a couple of scenes that are incredibly emotional and makes the viewer think about the world around them and what's happening to it. Beautifully done. Great story. [9/10]
  • cg
    In terms of the overall film I was quite pleased with the outcome. It is definitely a 9/10 film. The pacing in the beginning was a bit off, but it was corrected mid way thru. Weta Digital needs an oscar, for their work on this film. Simply amazing, the amount of detail, and naturalness in the work is breathtaking. The emotion with the beats of action solidified this film as a work of art.
  • mooreworthy
    Really enjoyed it; so, so glad I didn't see any previews. I saw one after the movie and gave away the Koba acting like a circus ape, which was so tense and became funny at a drop of a dime, and I'm glad I didn't see it coming.
    • Brian Sleider
      They did a great job with the previews, they misled in a very good way. I was left surprised even after having seen them all.
  • James
    Great movie but I noticed a few mistakes. After the apes return the dropped bag the kid is seen with the bag back on his shoulder. The next scene the father is holding the bag as if he hadn't given it back yet. How many rounds did the the thirty round magazines hold? The Apes didn't grab extra ammunition but still kept firing. Even in the final sequence Koba just kept shooting long after 30 rounds were fired. When I am trying to convince my fellow humans not to blow up a building I always grab a firearm and threaten to shoot everyone. It was a great movie but I can't wait to see the "Everything wrong with..." video.
    • Brian Sleider
      As far as the ammo is concerned, there would be firing and they would cut to humans, they could have reloaded during the cut away. Plot hole (sort of) filled. NO way in hell talking would have stopped them from blowing the building, not when guy is ready to kill himself to "save the human race". I am more bothered by the number of apes, where did they all come from?
  • Brian Sleider
    10/10 this is why I go to the movies.
  • http://www.sonicmayhem.com Sascha Dikiciyan
    Im going to be in the minority here (again) but i only thought it was just barely oh-kay. I expected more from Reeves whose past work i really admire. Weta's work was almost flawless of course and Serkis performance was genius still, it all felt a bit flat and too long, IMO.
  • angelabeisenberg
    like Jacqueline implied I'm taken by surprise that a mom can earn $8130 in 1 month on the computer . see post C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­
  • angelabeisenberg
    just before I looked at the receipt ov $8130 , I didn't believe that my sister woz like actualy bringing in money part-time from there pretty old laptop. . there aunts neighbour has been doing this 4 only about 22 months and at present repayed the mortgage on their appartment and bought themselves a Chrysler . see here C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­
  • TK
    The first scene showed that Reeves has more movie smarts than the entirety of Michael Bay's movie credits. What a movie. Definitely worth every cent I paid and then some. So much raw emotion exudes from the screen and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. It was a smart movie with an incredibly layered performance from Caesar. The people at Weta have once again showed that they are indeed the king of FX houses. The world they built was incredible. It was a very small stage going from SF city to the apes home but it felt like the entire world was riding on every moment. An incredibly smart script truly put to great use by a smart director. I am amazed at how coherent and believable they have made of what seems to be a completely ridiculous premises on paper. Hats of to you Mr. Reeves and crew.
  • Rick
    F-ing loved this movie. I love that the focus is on the apes, and that you feel more for the apes then the annoying humans. I loved the scene where Koba gets caught in the arms depot, it was an absolute genius scene. The core of the story wasn't that original, the betrayal, but all the extra bits and the fact it is applied to apes makes it ok. Def oscar contender/winner for the VFX done by Weta, the facial animation was especially superb.
  • jimfromtoto
    Overall amazing movie. The CGI-Mocap was incredible. For me Maurice was a masterpiece. The facial expressions on the apes were so believable. The ending was incredibly depressing. Which astounded me because I did not expect the movie to draw such deep feelings after watching it. It was brilliant how they used restraint in the vocabulary of the apes. They could have completely ruined it by allowing them to talk at the same level as humans. The tragedy of humans. To smart and selfish for their own good. Wonderful movie and it should get nominated for oscars in so many categories but the old stodgy guard of Hollywood who make up the majority of the Academy wont have the balls to award Serkis for his performance. I know there are lots of comments here about the work that cgi artist would have done to perfect the performance but its more that just the persons facial expressions that make it a dramatic performance. Its about the emotion he exudes in every part of his acting that they get to perfect. Im not suggesting those cgi assists deserve no recognition. They do deserve recognition but not for the acting. This is the reason pay to see great movies and this did not disappoint.
  • valeriedhudson
    before I looked at the check of $8543 , I accept ...that...my neighbour woz like they say truley earning money parttime on their apple labtop. . there sisters neighbour has done this 4 only 19 months and by now cleared the debts on their house and bourt a gorgeous Ford . visit this site C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­
  • Brian Sleider
    I've seen it twice now and I thing nags at me. How many apes do you think are alive in the US right now? Numbers I can find say an estimated 1000 chimps in captivity for research. Thats in all of America. SO what maybe 3000 TOTAL apes in all of America? Did they all migrate to California in 10 years? Because there is NO WAY the apes in Rise bred to those numbers in just 10 years.
  • technoreaper
    Bad movie. Way too many mistakes to be logical. Employed the idiot plot too much.
    • Brian Sleider
      AHHH the first troll.
      • technoreaper
        People that disagree with you are not trolls. Thanks.
        • Brian Sleider
          People who come in and post an inflammatory statement with little or no thought in the content are trolls. You are a troll. IF you came here and said "Bad movie, here is a well thought out reason why" you would not be a troll. AS is you are a troll and I will no longer reply to you on this topic, Feeding trolls is a bad idea.
          • technoreaper
            So, um, let's talk about your problems.... Do you think you own this site or something?
  • JeanHBurdette
    just before I looked at the receipt ov $8130 , I didn't believe that my sister woz like actualy bringing in money part-time from there pretty old laptop. . there aunts neighbour has been doing this 4 only about 22 months and at present repayed the mortgage on their appartment and bought themselves a Chrysler . see here C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­
  • anonymouse
    I didn't see any apes or humans drop and change out magazines on their weapons. These big budget films need a weapons expert on location. That said, I enjoyed the movie and can't wait for the bluray special features!
  • Randall Miller
    Did anyone stay after the credits? There was a huge clue for the 3rd film.
  • Andiamo P
    I'm not sure why it has to be "stellar" or a "mess"....there is actually a large middle ground here for me. I really don't think this was a 5 star movie. In fact, I liked Rise more than Dawn. But I still really enjoyed the film. I thought there were some LOL moments in this film that really kinda took away from the intensity and realism of it though. Why were Apes wearing masks when Caesar's mate gave birth, but both Caesar and his son could be there without the masks? How many times did they have to show Koba riding the horse, firing double machine guns, screaming like Willem Dafoe in Platoon? Why take on a heard of Elk on the ground when you can climb trees and throw spears? How come the smart Apes aren't considerable smarter 10 years later? Caesar's IQ was doubling in the first movie in only a few months. In Dawn he's being outsmarted by Koba. And where are all these "smart apes" coming from? We know only the Apes at the sanctuary were exposed to the ALZ113 (granted there were "hundreds of them") and Koba and probably a few others from Gensys. But how are they passing this intelligence down to their young? The Apes from the zoo were not exposed to the ALZ113, so are they establishing a breeding program to mix smart apes w/ the zoo apes? Or are the zoo apes just breeding on their own and reproducing normal Apes? Or did they steal more ALZ113 from the lab and give it to them too?
    • Brian Sleider
      AS the virus spread other apes were affected by it(a pretty smart way of doing it really). It was said in the first movie one its effects are passed on to the young. They wore masks because in their other life(caged) doctors wore masks. They have no concept of why. He was not getting smarter, he was learning, like a child. He was born with X amount of smarts as he grew that developed. And during the hunt there were apes still in trees throwing spears/bolas, there needs to be some one killing the animals and carting em off.
      • Andiamo P
        If they have no concept of why they were wearing masks, where did they get the idea for War Paint? Why was Cornelia wearing a head necklace. Why weren't they fashioning shirts and pants too? I can get that the "exposed" Apes passed their intelligence to the Apes that they rescued from the Zoo, but Caesar got it from his mother. If the smart apes were able to infect the zoo apes with their intelligence through close contact, I can actually buy that....but it makes Caesar infecting them with the ALZ113 in Rise kinda not necessary, all he would have had to do was breath on them during play time. I realize I'm kinda nit picking. But No Ape should be on the ground during a Elk stampede. That one Ape got trucked and there were no dead bodies to cart off at the time.
        • Brian Sleider
          The concept they have is that "Doctors wear masks", those apes were the doctors, so they wore masks. I think you are getting hung up a little too much on the masks, I myself thought they were a great touch. I got why they had them, even though they had no use, right away. The virus spread via humans, apes got "infected" from HUMANS. Zookeeper gets sick, goes to work, sneezes, BOOM smart apes. It is a clever way to do it, it shows that at the same time humans are getting weak, the "new apes" are being born. Koba's band of apes was ground bound from the start to scare the stampeding herd into disarray. Forming smaller packs that can be then easily targeted. I think here you are also getting hung up too much. They are going from apes(100% ape) to the "New apes" (ape human type from the originals) along the way they will pick up more human like traits. All in all I still think this movie is the best of the year, it has some holes but nothing compared to the average movie. Holds up over multiple viewings (3 times now), is smart, and has some of the best camera work I have seen in years. No reliance on quick cuts, nice long slow full frame shots of well directed action.

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