At The Omniplex: ‘Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes’

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Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

By John Lyons

dawn apes 1ANOTHER week, another sequel.

Over the past decade Hollywood has taken an extreme liking to rebooting, remaking and adapting any popular property that could conceivably make a nice chunk of money. Not the least of which is the ‘Planet of the Apes’ franchise, which was rebooted in 2011 with ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’.

However, whenever it’s announced that there’s a new film coming out that’s based on an absolute classic, it’s only reasonable that fans approach the news with a combination of scepticism and cautious optimism.

In fact, a feeling of combined scepticism and cautious optimism perfectly describes how I felt when I went to see ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ in 2011. I’m a huge fan of the original ‘Planet of the Apes’ film starring Charlton Heston, and I didn’t want a poor modern-take on the franchise to diminish the classic film which I love.

Luckily, ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ turned out to be the must-see summer blockbuster that year. Screenwriting partners Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver did something very clever by researching real-life experiments on chimpanzees which were done in the 1970s and using it as the basis for the ‘Planet of the Apes’ reboot. By doing so, they grounded the film in reality and gave it a more believable quality.

It was a great film all-around.

Now the next entry in the series, ‘Dawn of the Planet the Apes’, has been released. It’s a tall order to make a worthy successor to the last film. Once again, I went to the cinema with that same combination of scepticism and cautious optimism.

I had my doubts that the filmmakers could catch lightning in a bottle the second time around. Especially since I hadn’t seen any of the trailers, so I had no pre-conceived notions about what the film was actually about.

But by some miracle, the filmmakers delivered again.

The film takes place ten years or so after the apes uprising, and has a completely different cast of characters, with the exception of some of the apes.

The apes are living in a giant colony that they’ve constructed in the middle of the wilderness, under the careful guide of their leader, Cesar (played again by Andy Sergis). The apes have adapted to their new way of life and are living in harmony amongst themselves.

They’re under the impression that the last of the humans have died off. The virus that gave the apes increased intelligence seems to have spread worldwide, having a lethal effect on the humans.

But sure enough, the apes encounter a small group of humans in the forest, and trouble comes into paradise.

Through superb storytelling, the film progresses in such a way that proves that the apes can be just as bad as the humans that they’re trying to avoid. I absolutely love the way that the story unfolds, but I’ll refrain from talking about it in order to avoid spoiling it.

‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ is a great example of exceptional storytelling in a mainstream Hollywood blockbuster. The visual effects are groundbreaking, but they’re only used in order to service the story.

The film expertly explores themes of loyalty, betrayal and vengeance. There’s several incredibly tense scenes, dazzling action sequences, shocking twist turns, and even some quieter moments that are actually quite touching.

Not only is the film a worthy successor — it surpasses the original.


• ‘Dawn of the Planet the Apes’currently playing at Tralee Omniplex.

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