Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes
STARRING: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell
DIRECTOR: Matt Reeves
THE SKINNY: A virus has wiped out most of mankind, and apes look to be in control. Led by the talking chimp Caesar (Serkis), one ape tribe has created a utopian forest village outside San Francisco. Their peace is disrupted by a group of humans who want to access the dam inside their territory to generate electricity. While most on both sides want harmony, a crazy few are out for war.
THE CONSENSUS: An absolutely rip-roaring adventure filled with terrific performances and superlative SFX
This is surely one of the greatest science fiction films ever made.
If you enjoyed Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, you will like this film even more.
No matter how you cut it, it's a magnificent achievement.
It's a technological marvel with effects that will blow your mind.
The acting - from the apes and humans alike - is almost too good.
The story is gripping from beginning to end, with brilliant twists and turns.
It's thematically rich, possessing that sort of mythological power that characterises the very best sci-fi.
There are individual moments from this film that will remain forever seared into my mind.
For instance, the scene near the beginning in which Caesar is chit-chatting with his orang utan chum.
They haven't seen humans in ages, and they're wondering what happened to the poor fools.
Poignant as hell.
At the other end of the spectrum, there's the climactic battle scenes which are absolutely packed with simian insanity.
The kudos in this sequence goes to the mad chimp Koba (Kebbell) - aka Hell Monkey.
I was obsessed with the original Planet Of The Apes movies as a child, and it's fun to think that a whole new generation of dorks will be going bananas over this film.
It's not that we don't like human beings, it's just that we like the apes a whole lot better.
Apes are better than humans.
What blew me away was how affecting the apes are, and they are scarily realistic.
Rupert Wyatt's 2011 prequel, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, was a game-changer in visual effects.
Here Reeves takes it a step further, with Serkis taking an elephantine share of the credit. His Caesar delivers a much wider and deeper range of emotions than the human actors.
You really feel his benevolent leadership, his love for his wife and sons, his strengths and weaknesses, and his compassion.
Even Koba (Kebbell), his second-in-command, is amazing. You buy into him as a fully fleshed-out character, one whose hatred towards humankind is understandable.
The pair's tested friendship is the movie's driving force, and both are so amazing that you quickly forget you're watching a movie populated with CGI characters.
This is testament to how technology has advanced.
Who needs humans when a troop of apes can do the job - and better too - particularly the epic battle at the end. Not that the humans are all bad here.
Clarke and Oldman offer great support, but they are merely pawns in this series where it's the genetically modified chimps that rule the world.
With Serkis and Reeves setting such a high bar, one can only wonder what trick the duo can pull in the next and concluding episode in the Apes canon.