Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Review: Et Tu, Koba?

Warning: Spoilers follow.

I just got back from seeing Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and honestly, I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as it did. I’m not going to make a full, “official” review of it here–simply because there are plenty of reviews out there already, and also because there’s a lot I wouldn’t remember, and therefore would be unable to do it justice.

Wandering thoughts:

  • There were plenty of great scenes in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. One of my favorites was when Malcolm’s son sits down to read a comic book with Maurice (my favorite character, by the way).
  • Dawn was a very balanced movie. The slower parts were expertly offset by the action scenes.
  • Speaking of action scenes: the camerawork when Koba hijacked the human tank was eeeeeeeeeeeeeeexcellent.
  • For an action movie, there were a lot of subtleties. My favorite such instance: when Caesar’s son is first called by name (“Blue Eyes”) and not 10 minutes later, there’s a spectacular shot of the main human protagonist, Malcolm, looking up wide-eyed at Caesar. And guess what? Malcolm’s eyes were blue blue blue.
  • Koba’s asking Caesar for forgiveness by way of the Ape gesture (head bowed, arm out, palms up) was beautifully mimicked during Koba’s final scene. Wonderfully done.
  • And how great was it that the final scene took place as the sun came up?
  • I had no idea going in that the soundtrack was composed by Michael Giacchino. But once the solemn piano tunes came in at the beginning of the movie, I was pretty sure it was him. His best since Super 8 (2011).
  • Andy Serkis is to Motion Capture as Motion Capture is to CGI.

TL;DR Dawn good. Go see. (See what I did there?)

Rating: A prodigious soundtrack, a compelling protagonist, and incredible set pieces give Dawn of the Planet of the Apes B+

ASV Scale of Villainy: M
In this particular case, conjecture about Caesar’s efficacy as a villain isn’t really necessary–Koba is essentially Caesar if he decided to use his status for personal gain. And seeing as how Koba got Mufasa’d, I think it’s safe to say Caesar would make a fearsome villain, but definitely beatable.

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