WARNING, CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (and possibly for The Dark Knight Rises)
by Rohan Gotobed
This film was pretty amazing, unlike this review which was quite shocking. A review without spoilers that conducts itself with more decorum will be up soon.
San Francisco has had a very tough year; after Godzilla crushed it in the spring it has struggled to recover a couple of months later. However, plot twist, this film actually takes place in 2021 with the vast majority of the human population dead from the killer disease that was spread in the closing credits of the previous film.
After the American government for some reason decided not to nuke the redwood forest, Andy Serkis (Caesar) and pals have built their own fortress where they live. They teach human letters and hunt elk for food; a pretty good existence. Caesar has two sons (the second being born whilst he is out hunting) one of which is called ‘Blue-eyes’ which is pretty racist.
As you might have guessed, the two villains of this film are Gary Oldman and the ape from the previous film that suspiciously looks incredibly evil. I say ‘Gary Oldman’ when in fact it is obvious that Commissioner Gordon – having survived The Dark Knight Rises – has come to San Francisco and started a partnership with all-round nice guy Jason Clarke. Jason Clarke, along with some random woman, his son (a crap drawer) and the stereotypical close minded arsehole who inevitably gets killed, manage to persuade the apes to let them repair the hydroelectric dam and get electricity reconnected to San Francisco. Joining them on this frankly tedious mission is two guys who don’t really do much before completely vanishing from the film midway through (more on that later).
Caesar is pretty lenient. Despite the humans completely failing the three strike system, Caesar decides to allow them to stay which angers Koba because he doesn’t like humans blah,blah,blah. After finishing the dam they plan to have a ‘Return of the Jedi’ –esque party at the village before being gate-crashed by Koba. Koba shoots Caesar (that’s what you get with a name like that) and burns the apes’ home whilst framing the humans. Koba then leads the apes off to San Francisco to avenge Caesar whilst letting the only humans they personally know walk away towards their cars (which is when two of the guys disappear without a trace).
You still following?
On their way back to civilisation, Jason Clarke finds Caesar who turns out to be still alive. He is pining for the fjords, he’s resting, and he’s certainly not an ex-ape. Thus Clarke drives Caesar back to San Francisco and stop at the house where the ape grew up with James Franco.
Meanwhile, in a pretty epic battlescene, Koba and Blue-eyes attack the humans and take many of them prisoner (apart from Commissioner Gordon). This scene is pretty cool despite the fact that the horses seem quite keen to run through fire and hails of bullets.
After some tense scenes and awesome tracking shots of Jason Clarke, Blue-eyes frees the Caesar loyalists and meet up at James Franco’s house to plot as to how to take down Koba. They march on the tower where the apes are hanging out (apart from Clarke’s son and special friend who disappear at this point as well). Whilst Gollum Caesar goes up to face Koba, Jason confronts Gordon beneath the skyscraper who suddenly has explosions and is planning on blowing up the tower (a plan which doesn’t work as the main casualties of the attack are him and his cronies).
Meanwhile, Koba and Caesar fight on the top of the skyscraper with the best put-down ever performed by an ape.
Koba: Caesar is weak
Caesar: Koba is weaker
Koba dies. Caesar saves the day and everyone goes down and hug and stuff with lots of pretty flowers. Wait. That’s not what happens. As Gordon has already put up the batsignal, other humans (which may or may not include Mr Wayne) are coming who would kill the apes. Caesar warns Jason Clarke to get out (how can he be John Conner in the new Terminator movie if he’s still tied down to this franchise?) and the film closes with a shot of Caesar’s eyes.