This weekend I rented Dawn of the Planet of the Apes from Redbox because Interstellar wasn’t available at the nearest kiosk.
If I was rating this move on Andy Serkis’ performance alone I’d give it a solid 5 stars. His portrayal of Caeser saves this film from the trash bin. Unfortunately, there are some things in the film that I feel made it fall short.
Note: This review is full of spoilers. You have been warned.
First, the premise: Are we really supposed to believe that a few hundred people in San Francisco can’t find an alternative form of power other than a hydro-electric dam where the apes have made their home? Surely there would be enough solar panels in the city to provide power for the small group of people living there. San Francisco has an average of 259 days of sunshine! This took me right out of the movie.
Second, the performances: Like I said, Andy Serkis’ performance was outstanding. The performances of the other apes were OK and the only performances that stood out among the humans were those of Gary Oldman as Dreyfus and Kirk Acevedo as Carver. I don’t hold this against the movie but if Oldman would have had the lead role of Malcolm this film would have been much better.
Third, the special effects: Most of the special effects in this movie were excellent. There were a few scenes where I felt like I was watching a video game but most of the time I thought I was watching real apes on my TV.
Fourth, the plot: there were some points in the story that I thought, “That’s stupid.” For example, when Koba kills the two guys “testing” the guns from the FEMA cache nobody 1.) comes upon their dead bodies or 2.) notices that they’re missing. Also, no apes except those loyal to Koba notice him setting fire to their home and walking around with a machine gun. I’ll give the screenwriters the benefit of the doubt that Koba could dodge thousands of bullets being fired in his direction while riding on a horse for the sake of the action but these two egregious plot holes ruined the final third of the movie for me.
It’s the premise and the plot holes in this movie that lead me to give this movie 3 stars. If I’d seen it in a theater I would probably have been sucked in by the cinematic beauty and the great soundtrack but having watched it on the small screen makes me a little more critical.
This isn’t a bad movie. The accolades it received for special effects and for Serkis’ performance are deserved but the whole premise is weak and the plot holes I mentioned make this an average film. Is it worth $1.20? Sure. Now go home!