The fantasy story of smart apes taking over our planet is slowly getting to its climax in this sequel. Based on the original story by French writer Pierre Boulle, the film series is definitely taking its time on bringing us to the era of apes. <Dawn> started with a prologue that ‘kills off’ most of the homo-sapiens, taking us straight to the point where the apes and humans were almost equal in terms of community strength. The apes, under the leadership of Caesar, were building their own society in the forest, living harmoniously in their isolated home. The remaining human survivors, on the other hand, were camping in an abandoned building down in the city. The conflict started when two of the species made contact in the forest, after all those years of not knowing the other still exists.
At first, I was seriously expecting a lot of fighting and shooting in this movie. I bet most of you did too, having seen Caesar riding on a horse holding a gun in the huge movie poster. Honestly even if this is truly what the movie is solely about, I would still gladly pay for it. Who wouldn’t wanna see the incredible CG of an ape army marching down the road? However, as the story unfolded, it turned out that the movie was never really an action film. The focus of the story was on a number of far more complex issues – politics, loyalty, racism, friendship, family and things that you could think of when it comes to war and conflicts between two communities. And the big question that came along as the intensity built up in the story was: “Who is going to be the one pulling the trigger?”
The atmosphere surrounding the question excited me more than seeing scenes of guns firing and blood spilling. There were people who acted more amicably to avoid quarrels; but deep down were actually worried about the risk of trusting the opponent. And then there were also people who wouldn’t compromise at all. Can two different entities live peacefully under the same roof? Can mutual understanding be achieved when there were histories of violence and hatred? In the end, the movie chose to reveal the ugly truth: war is inevitable.
Whether the movie was just trying to fulfill the major appetite of action scenes, or it’s a fact that violence is simply unavoidable, I felt that the trigger point of the war was a bit lack of planning, and predictable. The buildup of the story at the first half was engaging, but the answer to that great conflict wasn’t as sophisticated. The doubts and uncertainties of the two groups were simply ended by a villain who was actually determined to start the war from the beginning. Yes, the bad ape had it all in his mind, he could never trust the human and when his anger got the better of him, he did everything he could to revenge. Of course, his motive was logical and understandable, I only felt that it was too easy to put the key to everything on one unstable character.
Despite the little dissatisfaction I have about the story, the film did address something profound and inspiring that I really admire. One of the truest and heartfelt statement I found was from Caesar, when he said “I thought apes are better than humans.” He was obviously heart broken to witness the violent side was on his own kind. Well, who wouldn’t? We are often emotional driven, and are loyal to our own kind, but sometimes we have to get pass the loyalty bit for a greater good.
A great movie with excellent visuals and extraordinary story idea. I rate it 4.5/5.