Dawn of the Planet of the Apes - 3 Stars
The most recent apes movie is slightly drawn out, but hits home.
The strong focus of this movie is on the apes, their home, and their survival. The CGI (provided by New Zealand company WETA) was superb. After using motion capture software on the actors playing the apes they were able to retain their movements and facial expressions to make the apes realistic. Throughout the film we see well over 1000 apes and each one is different and overall the CGI is astounding.
For a science fiction movie the story is quite intricate. The characters, including the apes all have strong motivations and characteristics. There is no pointless violence in the film and it can be watched without seeing the previous instalment.
The whole films looks and sounds wonderful and I think this has succeeded where films like Avatar have failed. It has been shot beautifully, but sadly at times the editing seems rushed and hasty, and scene transitions look tacky. I think there were scenes that could have been shortened, but overall this didn’t detract from the enjoyment of film.
In the leading human role was Australian actor Jason Clarke who delivers a strong overall performance. There was a real connection between him and Caesar (Andy Serkis). Keri Russell plays his girlfriend and a scientist, but her performance is less convincing and she doesn’t deliver any rapport with Clarke. Andy Serkis provided the voice and general movement for the leading Ape Caesar. Serkis frequently performs in roles where motion capture is used. Between his experience and Weta’s animation the character was aptly brought to life. Gary Oldman played a supporting role in the film as the leader of the human colony, but was perfect for his character and stole every scene he was in. This was certainly one of Oldman’s better performances.
Director Matt Reeves and writing team Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver have successfully created an entertaining film with a reasonably strong storyline, credible acting and outstanding CGI.
Review by Benjamin Maio Mackay
Movie screening courtesy of Palace Nova Cinemas