‘Dawn”s predictability overshadowed by pure entertainment

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First Posted: 7/13/2014

If you’re on the fence about sitting through “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” and unsure whether you want to invest the money or time to see this in theaters or download it illegally on the internet, I feel it is important to let you, my friends and neighbors, know this: that at one point a horrifically scarred bonobo ape with one working eye is shown emerging from a wall of flames, while on horseback, as it fires two uzis at the same time into a crowd of confused and terrified human onlookers.

Are you still reading this? Why are you still reading this? At this point, you should have rushed out of your house, thrown this newspaper at the windshield of an oncoming car, dragged the driver out of his car, punched him hard in the ass, and “borrowed” his car to get yourself to the nearest movie theater. If you haven’t done this already then what are you waiting for? The rest of this review is just going to be an extended plot synopsis and a glowing appraisal of Keri Russell’s hair. Put this paper down (as violently as you possibly can) and see “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” you dum-dum!

For the rest of you precious, weak babies who need to learn a little more about a movie before they risk serious jail time over it, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” picks up 10 years after the events in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” The apes have not only grown in numbers, but in intelligence. Believing that humanity was destroyed by the Simian Flu outbreak that was introduced in the 2011 reboot, Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his band of apes receive a surprise visit from a group of human explorers that happen to be scouting the area. However, when one of the apes is wounded by a gunshot, the already shaky relation between human and ape breaks down even further.

Being that “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is a sequel to a prequel to an established and arguably classic film series, critics have noted that “there’s just no suspense in a franchise whose history is already written.” Although I do believe there is some truth to that statement, I also feel there is no suspense in a franchise whose history has yet to be written, either.

Take “The Avengers,” for example. Where’s the suspense in that? We already know that the Avengers will defeat James Spader in “The Age of Ultron,” so why bother watching? Well, because it’s entertaining, and that’s what “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is, an admittedly simplistic but incredibly enjoyable summer blockbuster.

How enjoyable? The film opens with a scene in which a grizzly bear attacks several apes and closes with a harrowing confrontation at a construction site that gives us an idea of what a “Donkey Kong” movie could look like. But best of all, unlike this summer’s “Godzilla,” director Matt Reeves largely minimizes the roles of his human protagonists and pushes his cast of primates front and center to give us such indelible and unforgettable characters like Koba, the aforementioned heavily scarred ape who violently manipulates his way into your heart by providing some of the film’s darkest laughs.

Like its predecessor, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is a slightly more than solid summer movie that may not offer much in the way of surprises, but is so purely entertaining that you can’t help but overlook its frequent lapses into predictability.

And if you stopped reading this review when I told you, you could have seen that scarred gun monkey on horseback. Instead, you just sat and read this whole stupid thing on the toilet like a jerk. I’m so ashamed of you.

Rating: W W W V