Film not worth going ape over

IT MAY come as a surprise to some people that Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is the eighth Planet of the Apes film to be released since the original in 1968.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer

After the 1968 film Hollywood released four more Planet of the Apes films (Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and Battle for the Planet of the Apes). All of them received poor-to-average reviews

Tim Burton’s 2001 remake (starring Mark Wahlberg) also got poor reviews, which makes it surprising that the franchise was given another chance in 2011.

Three years ago Rupert Wyatt got decent enough reviews for Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which starred James Franco as a scientist who developed a drug to not only cure Alzheimer's disease but also increase the brain power of animals who took it.

It worked well for apes but made humans sick and resulted in widespread illness all over the world. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes picks up from here with the apes having established themselves in a forest outside of San Francisco, which is now overrun with trees and devoid of life.

A few hundred people remain holed up in the city’s centre but are forced to go and try to repair a hydro-electric dam to provide power for the city.

LEADER: Andy Serkis reprises his role as super-intelligent ape Caesar in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

LEADER: Andy Serkis reprises his role as super-intelligent ape Caesar in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

The group of humans are caught in “ape territory” but permitted by Caesar (the main ape from Rise of the Planet of the Apes) to quickly finish and leave.

Caesar’s decision is questioned by some of the apes including his vicious advisor Koba, who was mistreated by humans while caged in a lab, and Caesar's son River.

Tensions between ape and human eventually (and predictably) rise and lead to a major confrontation.

Australian Jason Clarke is solid as the human who believes in the apes’ intelligence and is well supported by Gary Oldman, Keri Russell and fellow Australian Kodi Smit-McPhee.

Andy Serkis continues to show his talent for motion-capture roles as he reprises his role as Caesar in this film.

Serkis also played Gollum in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit franchise, King Kong in the 2005 remake and Captain Haddock in The Adventures of Tintin.

In all, audiences who have seen either Planet of the Apes will know how this will end. But whether the journey is worthwhile remains to be seen.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (M) is now showing at Bendigo Cinemas. See page 3 of the Bendigo Advertiser for session times.

Follow film review Chris Pedler on Twitter @FilmNerdChris

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