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All Hail Caesar – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

July 11, 2014


Though I’ve yet to have anyone adequately explain to me how something can rise before it dawns, the new installment in the rebooted Planet of the Apes franchise has been one of the most anticipated movies of this summer’s crop. Why? Because Rise of the Planet of the Apes was that rarest of multifaceted things: a reboot/remake that outperformed and was *gasp* an enjoyable watch. You know, not a movie that makes you want to hit yourself in the face with a shovel, i.e. any Michael Bay Transformers installment, take your pick. The new chronicle of Caesar, the intelligent ape who leads his simian kin to planet-wide ascendancy, should have collapsed under the weight of seen-it-before and the unspeakable smugness of James Franco — but it didn’t. It was actually damn good. It’s still a little hard to believe.

So here we are: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. And, believe it or not, it’s better than the first, with the reborn series now standing on its own two feet, forging a new direction and shucking off fealty to the 1970s mythology. The apes themselves are magnificent, some of the most nuanced characters you’ll see in any big budget movie ever, period. It’s more than worth the price of admission, even if the human component of the story falls back too often into cliché and formula.

Observations, with slightly spoilerish discussion, are sequestered over on the next page. Click below if you’d like.

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