The law of diminishing artistic returns.
A sequel to a reboot of a very successful franchise from the 60’s/70’s was always going to be an uphill struggle.
When Rupert Wyatt had finished Rise of the Planet of the Apes he began work on the sequel but, when the May 2014 release date had been announced by the studio, he felt there wasn’t enough time to make the sequel properly so was quickly replaced by Cloverfield director, Matt Reeves.
Here, Reeves does a decent enough job building on the story and, as it’s set 10 years after the end of Rise, there is a whole new generation of apes to contend with.
The Simian flu virus has all but destroyed humanity and with the apes and a handful of humans immune to the virus we are thrust into a dystopic world which makes for a great visual backdrop.
Caesar (the brilliant Andy Serkis) is still in charge of the ape colony and now has a son, Alexander (Kodi Smit-McPhee). When a group of humans enters their domain seeking access to the dam in order to generate power for the humans still living in San Francisco, order is upset. Koba, now played by, the always interesting English actor, Toby Kebbell, has his mind set on destroying the humans, having been tortured and experimented on by them in the first film. Here lies the drama, the liberal understanding of the goodness that exists in humans from Caesar and the relentless hate that Koba has for them.
Can ape and human live together in harmony? Not if Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) has anything to do with it. He brings gravitas to a poorly written stereotypical role. Jason Clarke plays our main human protagonist, Malcolm, who sympathises and has empathy for the apes. Kirk Acevedo (Oz) plays Carver, the human trouble-maker.
It’s an age old story of fear and the difference that lives within us that many times creates wars and dis-harmony.
Dawn is a good effort, falling short of being brilliant by some muddy composition.