First there was Rise. Before that there was Tim Burton’s remake. Before that there were five Planet of the Apes films, the first of which has the distinction of being adapted by Rod Serling, so at least it’s subversive and progressive.

Now we’re saddled with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, junk of the highest order, a movie that has a 3-D upgrade for no good reason other than to make money, and to make the screen darker. This time around Caesar (Andy Serkis) and the gang are 10 winters into the future, living in a utopia in which most of the humans worldwide have been killed by a virus.

A few of the remaining humans wander into the simian camp because there’s a dam nearby that can provide hydroelectric power. There’s a convenient plot device that makes one human and one chimp total fucking assholes, the kinds of guys who drive the plot inexorably toward dumb action no matter what.

The humans are lazy-screenplay stupid. Gary Oldman, Keri Russell and Jason Clarke are wasted. The apes look great, but when everything devolves into a Lord of the Flies knock-off in the chimp camp, it becomes one big game of who-gives-a-shit. There’s also a scene in which a chimp goes into genuine Rambo imitation mode. Hey, we’re really not so different! Ugh.



Directed by Matthew Reeves

With Serkis, Clarke and Oldman

Regal Santa Fe Stadium 14

130 min.