Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

ACTION; 2h 10m

STARRING: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Keri Russell

Hail Caesar: Serkis (left, with Nick Thurston)

Ten years after a virus ravaged Earth in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, a community of primates lives peacefully, led by the imposing Caesar (a phenomenal Serkis). Looking fully-fleshed and damn fine in their motion-capture majesty, they’re a fearsome tribe of spectacular mass. Mankind has, meanwhile, carved a San Franciscan niche with a pressing power problem. A nearby dam would solve it, but the dam is in the apes’ jungly backyard and as Caesar makes clear, in English, in his growly basso profundo, humans and apes don’t mix.


And no, they don’t, basically because, in diehard American fashion, the humans refuse to sacrifice their right to bear arms. By warily giving them access to the dam, with simpatico Malcolm (Clarke) and his medico wife, Ellie (Russell), at the helm, Caesar creates tension in his ranks that erupts into fiery violence.


Let Me In director Matt Reeves layers moods with seamless finesse, the surreal shock of hectic simian carnage intensified by the tender beauty of the fragile détente that preceded it. It’s those quieter moments with Caesar and his uncannily expressive clan that are the beating heart of the matter.