Dawn takes place ten years after James Franco said goodbye to Caesar and his crazy monkey tribe on the San Francisco bridge. Since then the monkeys have been blamed for a virus outbreak that has pretty much wiped out humanity, while those immune to the disease have set up a safe haven in the heart of the city. Caesar and his monkey crew on the other hand have built themselves quite a nifty little home on the edge of the city where he and the other smart monkeys teach the rest that knowledge is power.
Everything is going smoothly until a Carver, a human on the search for supplies, comes across Caesar’s son Blue Eyes and friend Ash. After a slight confrontation, Carver shoots Blue Eyes and sets off a chain of events leading to Caesar being forced to show his tribe whether he is a worthy leader, and his leadership qualities being tested by his second in command Koba.
The storyline is something that has been done several times before, where the commander is betrayed by his most trusted friend, but it was interesting to see it being played out by monkeys who have an amazing grasp of sign language.
On the human side we have Malcolm (played by Jason Clarke) attempting to form a bridge between the apes. He understands that they are just like the humans, and they need each other survive. Especially since the apes have set up camp at a vital hydroelectric dam that can give power to the survivors of San Francisco.
Planet of the Apes greatest asset is the graphics on screen, the apes interact amazingly well between the real life actors, with the best scene being Koba riding a horse into war while two huge machine guns (all done with motion capture), it was something totally unexpected but looked very believable on screen.
The film is let down by the typical clichés, from the typical hateful character who puts the entire plan in jeopardy, to the leader of the survivors who is so blinded by his mission he starts forgetting about everyone else (both on the human and monkey side!).
Overall though Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is well worth a watch as it provides unique take on a classic story, while also building well on the previous film, from Caesars character to the downfall of humankind.