Dawn of the Planet of the ApesThe reboot of the Planet of the Apes franchise keeps making excellent films. Rise of the Planet of the Apes from 2011 set the bar high for future Apes movies and this weekend’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes proved itself to be a worthy sequel.

The film picks up roughly 10 years after Rise. The pandemic that’s hinted at in Rise has happened and virtually no humans are left. In fact the intro to the film quickly, and interestingly, chronicles the end of the humans. The film quickly catches up with Caesar and his band of apes. Those apes soon find humans among them and it doesn’t take long for conflict to arise as the two sides don’t understand or trust each other.

NOTE: There’s some spoilery material in the following paragraph…

The film is extraordinary on many levels, starting with the story. Good science fiction points out where human problems are and this shows exactly how quick a misunderstanding creates war that cannot be stopped. To make it all the more wrenching, each time it looks like peace might be achieved, it’s shattered again. Andy Serkis as Caesar and Jason Clarke are the emotional core of this film and their performances are great. I think this is Serkis’ most emotional motion-capture performance to date.

The movie presents a simple story, but its one you can easily imagine playing out among human around the world (and in some places it already is), which I think is what makes it very difficult and tense to watch at times. The technical aspects of the film are amazing. You truly forget you’re watching a lot of CG because it all comes across as so very real. The filmmakers should be proud of their accomplishments and hopefully they will be honored for their work during awards season at the end of the year.

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This is my second movie of the summer (the first was The Fault in Our Stars). I’m very happy I’m 2 for 2 in excellent movies this summer season. I also hope Fox considers a third in this new set of Apes movies. If they can find a story as compelling as what they’ve done with the first two, I’d go see it for sure.