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The Saratoga Falcon

‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ nearly ape-rfect film

The planet lies in ruins. A disease has crippled governments worldwide and the remaining survivors have banded together for survival. No, this is not the zombie apocalypse. It is the ape apocalypse.

Matt Reeves’ “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” a sequel to “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” takes place after the “Simian Flu,” a virus meant to cure Alzheimer's, escapes from a laboratory after an ape revolution. It is found to be lethal to humans, but radically increases intelligence in apes.

Ten years later, intelligent apes, led by a chimpanzee named Caesar, have created a community in Muir Woods outside San Francisco, where the surviving humans live. However, humans and intelligent apes eventually make contact, and tension begins to rise.

The movie depicts the human and ape communities similarly to two countries that are unable to get along. The cleverly crafted plot builds tension through multiple events, and viewers are able to sympathize with both sides.

Reeves depicts Muir Woods and San Francisco in a post-apocalyptic setting by making the woods dim and barren. The city is overgrown with vines to give the audience a sense of how degraded and abandoned it has become.

The special effects also allow the viewer to look into the apes’ eyes and see the apes as more than wild animals. The graphics bring out the apes’ personalities and allow them to show an unprecedented level of emotion and expression in their faces, almost on par with humans. If the audience looks just long enough, they can almost see a reflection of themselves in the primates.

This is especially evident in the ape colony. The apes have formed infrastructure similar to a human civilization by creating a school for their young, learning sign language and assigning each ape a job.

They even adopt the term “ape no kill ape,” which proves they are capable of compromise and cooperation.

If I have anything to criticize about the movie, it would be the vague backstory. It explains how the virus wipes out a large portion of mankind, but elaborating on how the nations fell would paint a more complete picture of the plot.

“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is a good sci-fi movie that breaks away from typical apocalyptic movies. It provides a scenario that could result if apes were to become more intelligent and establish their own colonies.
The crew did not monkey around when they produced this movie.

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