Socialist Worker

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a rare blockbuster that challenges its audience

by Tom Kay
Issue No. 2414

Andy Serkis as Caesar in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Andy Serkis as Caesar in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Directed by Matt Reeves
Twentieth Century Fox 
Out now

When the film’s prequel Rise of the Planet of the Apes was released in 2011, there was a sense that it truly fitted the period. 

King of the Apes Caesar and co were rising against the ills of human society. 

At the same time workers across the Arab world were demanding “Bread, Freedom and Social Justice” and toppling dictators.   

I remember thinking that the crisis must be truly deep if even Hollywood was producing film after film focusing on rebellion. 

The parallels with the world continue today. 

The film unfolds as a fledgling ape community meets a group of humans, who are resistant to a virus unleashed in the prequel.

The film itself is a triumph.  It manages to reflect the complex arguments and thoughts between the camps, as different characters seek varying solutions to the conflict. 

Mark Bomback’s script grapples with some interesting concepts. 

In the beginning the apes have developed a complicated form of linguistic signing which involves both gesture and sound.

The apes begin speaking English as the film progresses. But the initial break produces a powerful moment, when Andy Serkis, who plays Caeser, switches to English in order to refute his human counterpart.

The film is a technical and visual triumph that doesn’t sink to generic blockbuster film making, but seeks to challenge the audience. 

It’s conceptually interesting, and full of action without compromising the storyline.

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Tue 29 Jul 2014, 18:12 BST
Issue No. 2414
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