Monday, January 30, 2023


July 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s hard to recall a summer blockbuster that has received more euphoric praise from critics than Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. For example, there’s this opening paragraph from Joe Neumaier in the New York Daily News: "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is awe-inspiring. Just when it seemed like blockbusters could never evolve, in rides this extraordinary epic — a towering fable of humanity and brutality that takes a great movie myth and launches it forward." Or this from A.O. Scott in the New York Times: "It is technically impressive and viscerally exciting, for sure, but it also gives you a lot to think, and even to care, about." Or this from Kyle Smith in the New York Post: "The eighth Planet of the Apes movie is easily the best, suspenseful and scary and cured of the silliness that infused all previous iterations." And this from Peter Howell in the Toronto Star: "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is the best and brainiest blockbuster of the summer, the kind of movie you hope for when you pay your money and buy your popcorn." The film does not escape criticism even in otherwise positive reviews. Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times faults the screenplay, saying that it "lacks the urgency and interest" of the previous film. "Tepid lines like ‘Try not to speak, you need to rest’ and the inevitable ‘I thought we had a chance’ do not help matters." Ty Burr in the Boston Globe writes: "Visually, this movie is big, bold, often awe-inspiring. Narratively, you’ve heard it all before." Claudia Puig in USA Today concludes: "The film is about 15 minutes too long, but while it drags slightly in the final third, it never gets dull." Singled out for special praise is Andy Serkis, digitally costumed in the role of Caesar. Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal calls him "the Bard of Body Language." Dave McGinn in the Toronto Globe and Mail says, "He deserves a best actor nomination from the Oscars." It is Serkis’s performance, writes Michael Phillips in the Chicago Tribune, that makes the film "noteworthy." He concludes: "At this point in the motion-capture effects industry, there’s little question of believing what we’re seeing. We believe. We believe there is an actor, a real actor, in there, behind the eyes of the digital creation. This is why the film, despite its bloat and its overfondness for scenes of massacre, feels as if it were made by actual humans."