Andy Serkis proves himself king of the motion-capture role yet again in a taut sequel to the reborn sci-fi franchise
It’s genetically modified humanoid apes versus genetically modified humanoid raccoons — well, one raccoon at least — on DVD shelves this week. And while both have their individual fighting strengths, you have to hand it to the simians: Matt Reeves’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (Fox, 12) is a dynamite extension of a franchise that should by rights have run out of story space-years ago. Smartly fashioned less as sci-fi than as an all-out, dirt-on-the-lens combat film, it’s the most satisfying Apes adventure since Charlton Heston’s spaceship first crash-landed on not-so-unknown territory.
While the war between man and monkey is more heated than ever in this 2026-set sequel, the human characters here are simpering ciphers compared to the film’s richer, gutsier, considerably hairier ensemble of ape characters, realised with jaw-dropping digital fluidity. Now a colony leader and morally equitable warlord, Andy Serkis’s Caesar has evolved into a magnetic protagonist, flesh and blood in all but his technical constitution. He would hold together even a film less urgently paced and sharply crafted than this one. Continue reading...