It’s been ages since Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes was released and for one reason or the other, this film eluded me. I had every intention of watching this film in the best possible 3D but I just couldn’t make ends meet. However more than 3 months after the release of the film, I finally got to watch it and it turned out to be just as swashbuckling as the universally positive reviews had to reveal. This is probably a film which is 100 % CGI with the CGI finding a place in almost every frame of the film. If the first film was about how the apes get super smart and find themselves a world to call their own. This one is about them coming to terms with their own differences. A difference which is spawned by a singularity whom you might remember from the first installment.
An epidemic known as the Simian Flue has swept across the world and reduced mankind to nothing more than packs of scattered individuals trying to find themselves sources of energy as their reserves are dilapidating fast. One such group finds a source of power plant in an area controlled by the apes across the bridge. Incidentally one of the men in the team ends up shooting an ape which results in much hue and cry but Caesar the leader of the apes ensures that they are not thrust into a ful fledged war and tries to barter peace by allowing the humans limited access to the power plant to fuel their requirements.
Koba, the terribly scarred ape from, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, strongly believes that the humans are only generating strength to wipe them off eventually. He runs into a few tiffs with Caesar before finally doing something which would bring the humans and apes face to face in an all out war. Koba now leads the apes against the humans as Caesar tries to get back in power but as he puts it aptly that “Apes hang on to the strongest branch” which at that point of time is Koba unless Caesar can beat him in a duel and prove otherwise.
Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is human drama of the highest order. The film is about the apes and the director doesn’t scare off from making a film which has more Ape drama and action than human interference. It has to be accepted that the human are crucial to the plot and play the catalyst for the story but the apes here take center stage. It’s shocking to see the kind of facial expression and dark mood that the director is able to generate using the CGI created apes. When the apes are communicating among themselves using hand signals and all, the viewer even without reading the subtext will be easily able to comprehend the mood of their conversation.
Make no mistake people, this is in no way an action film. After the initial burst of scintillating action involving the apes and some other animals including a giant bear, the focus of the film shifts to the high friction drama involving Caesar and his support for the human cause and Koba who wants to simply get back at the humans for the torture he faced in their hands. While Koba is in debt of Caesar for saving his life, his hatred gets the better of him and he gives in to his cravings for carnage and human blood. There is a key scene where he kills one of his own kind just to prove his supremacy which sends down the perfect signals of how he was completely blinded by his lust for power and revenge.
Koba’s characterization is in the same zone as that of Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight. Similar to Ledger’s Joker, he lusts for only mayhem, carnage and anarchy. He kills one and all and takes pleasure from his own pains and sufferings. He is the true Psychopath in the best of American traditions. Watch out for the scene which shows him pretend as a mare ape in front of some people before he snatches away their weapons and kills them with a wicked grin. That is one terrifically done scene. You will also notice the charming craziness that we associate with the Joker in Koba.
Jason Clarke and Gary Oldman are the only two prominent human characters who are noticeable in an otherwise Ape-dominated sage. Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is able to rise above its content which may seem corny to many and is able to create a potent drama which is very humane in nature. The same old conflicts of greed for power, anarchy and need for revenge is shown plaguing the Ape- world who are otherwise oblivious to these feelings. The human intellect which they discovered in the first installment comes back to sting them with one of the most primary of human flaws. I thoroughly loved this film. Highly recommended.