Director: Matt Reeves
Duration: 130 minutes (US)
The early indicators and buzz had already been strikingly positive. The glowing feedback was only enhanced/failed to be dampened (*delete as appropriate*) by news that the teaser trailer in the advert break for the World Cup semi-final on ITV between Netherlands and Argentina sparked over 100 complaints to the Advertising Standards Agency over violent content.
Furore aside, how does the film stack up and what’s it about? This time around, we find ourselves 10 years on from the events in Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) and a world in a state of flux. A burgeoning society of apes, led by Caesar, are confined to the fringes of the city of San Francisco and mankind is in a similar state; hemmed within restrictive boundaries of their own. After an unfortunate incident, the two factions are sent on a collision course that will see a fight for survival and for supremacy.
As detailed in SupaJam’s previous report from the preview clips, the CGI/motion capture work carried out – with maestro of the motion capture art form, Andy Serkis, on board – is startling. Over the course of the film itself, silent awe is invoked at what has been accomplished. The bar has been raised.
Thankfully, unlike Transformers: Age of Extinction, this isn’t an exercise in style over content. In terms of story, there is a tremendously fulfilling and rich narrative stream on display here. There are Shakespearean shades, as director Matt Reeves and writers Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, chuck in the timeless themes of greed, betrayal and lust for power like an ape-tastic take on Richard III.
The performances compliment one another and feel balanced; the exercise in cutting sound, music and angle is practically faultless and the film builds to a satisfying climax. This is a master class in melding potential with realisation. Dawn… surpasses expectactions with aplomb. A massive mainstream summer film that quenches every kind of cinematic appetite you could so desire from it.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is released into cinemas on 17th July 2014.