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Film Review: Dull Soap Opera in ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’

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CHICAGO – “Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes” just goes to show you can have the most expensive and best looking visual effects money can buy, but it doesn’t mean a damn thing if you haven’t got a good tale to tell.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

The apes themselves, and Caesar in particular, remain technical wonders, but rarely has something so lifelike been in the service of a blockbuster so utterly lifeless. This long, slow moving, self-important, unrelentingly dark and depressive picture is more butt-buster than blockbuster. Those looking for a good popcorn movie about talking apes are in for a monkey melodrama instead. It treats the family tensions inside the ape clan like Shakespeare, but it’s more like a simian soap opera that could have been called “All My Chimps,” or perhaps “The Apes Of Our Lives.”

Picking up 10 years after the events of the first movie, the human race has nearly been wiped out by the simian flu and all of society has collapsed, but small pockets of survivors are attempting to rebuild something resembling the society they once knew.

At the same time, the apes themselves have built a thriving ape colony in the mountains outside of San Francisco. They are led by Caesar, the talking ape with a high IQ. They live off the land, hunt wild animals, swing from the trees and live in a massive tree house. I don’t know if its brave, or just foolhardy but the film begins with nearly 20 minutes of ape grunting as it sets the stage and introduces us to Caesar, his sons, his advisors, the ape code they now live by (“ape no kill ape”) and his loyal but angry lieutenant Kooba.

“Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes” opens everywhere on July 11th, in 3-D. IMAX 3D and regular screenings. See local listings for show times and theaters. Featuring Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, and Judy Greer. Screenplay by Mark Bomback, Amanda Silver, and Rick Jaffa.  Written by Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver and Mark Bombeck. Directed by Matt Reeves. Rated “PG-13”

StarContinue reading for Spike Walter’s full review of “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”

Ape Leader Caesar in ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’
Photo credit: 20th Century Fox

StarContinue reading for Spike Walter’s full review of “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”

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