It's a rare thing to see a sequel that is better than the original, but Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was simply amazing. Director Matt Reeves delivered a hell of good story with a solid script and spectacular special effects. This movie proves a point I make time and time again, which is that a big budget special effects heavy movie can also have an incredible story with brilliant performances from the actors, unlike Michael Bay's Transformers: Age of Extinction.
As I look back on the movies I've seen this summer, this is easily one of the best that has been released. Hell! It's one of the best movies of the year. One of the main things that I loved about was the emotional weight it carried. Family was a main focal point of the story. It's something that everyone can relate to, and you feel sympathy for both the apes and the humans. It's a story that you really can't pick sides on because you want them to be able to coexist in this world!
This movie tells the story of how apes and humans had a chance to work it out, but because of some dumbasses on both sides, that doesn't happen. It's not a spoiler to talk about this because we all know what happens in the end. This is all leading up to the very first Planet of the Apes movie. It's just so frustrating to watch these two groups get so close finding a way to live together in this world and then have it slip right through their fingers.
On top of the brilliantly emotional story there was the insanely good acting from everyone, both the humans and the actors who played apes. I swear, Andy Serkis deserves some kind of Oscar for this. He brought the character of Caesar to life in a way that no one else could. There were moments when I was watching his character and I could see into his soul! There were a few times that I actually got choked up watching him interact with other characters in the film. Toby Kebbel played the ape Koba, and holy crap! He was so intense and absolutely terrifying. A few of the other main players include Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, and Kodi Smit-McPhee, all of whom gave stellar performances.
Those ape performances wouldn't be anything without the all the work that went into the visual effects of the film. The VFX in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes are phenomenal! I honestly can't believe that they are able to pull this stuff off. The facial expressions and emotions that you can see in the eyes of these characters is mind-blowing. Every time the ape characters were on screen, I was in awe.
There's honestly nothing I could think of that could make this movie better. This was a dream project for Reeves. He's been a huge fan of this franchise since he was a kid, and he knew exactly what kind of story he wanted to tell and how he wanted to tell it.
I know there are some people who are skeptical about this movie, but don't be. This movie lives up to the hype it's receiving, and you have to watch it! There's no way you will be disappointed in what Dawn of the Planet of the Apes delivers.