There’s been a lot of anticipation for the second movie in the new Planet of the Apes saga. The revelation and shock that greeted the original movie can never be repeated, but what the makers of the new film have up their sleeve are an intelligent script and special effects that make the apes look more real than ever.
Andy Serkis’s Caesar has both charisma and sensitivity as the leader of the ape community that inhabits the woods above San Francisco.
It’s 10 years on from Rise of the Planet of the Apes and the human race has been almost wiped out by the virus unleashed in the simian lab where Caesar started life.
Dawn opens with a remarkable scene of the apes hunting deer and encountering a grizzly bear, and we are wholly immersed in a world that resembles something like that of our distant ancestors.
The peace of this Eden-like haven is broken when human survivors turn up with guns. They are running out of fuel and want to restart the hydro station that sits right in the middle of ape territory.
And so begins an age-old cycle of distrust and fear that reminds us of too many human conflicts of the past and present.
Caesar’s lieutenant, the fearsome Koba (Toby Kebbell), thinks Caesar has gone soft on the sympathetic humans led by Jason Clarke, while ignoring the generally hostile attitude of man to ape.
These creatures are brilliantly realised by the filmmakers, none more so than the terrifying Koba, who discovers the humans’ armoury and gets the idea to take the weapons and start a war.
Director Matt Reeves has given the ape franchise a very impressive reboot, one that builds powerfully and more than delivers in the action stakes when the battle finally starts.
Review by Joe Gill
Taking the premise of the original Purge film and exploring its theme of America’s class divide, The Purge: Anarchy gets a lot more out of the premise of an annual 12 hours of lawlessness. It’s 2023 and five characters – three women and two men – are brought together as the annual purge commences. They must try to get across the city until they are captured by the purgers who take them to a grisly auction of death run by the rich.
A sterling cast of British actors get dressed up in top hats and bonnets for this Victorian-era fantasy based on a series of novels. It stars Aneurin Barnard as the young hero Mariah Mundi, the son of two distinguished archeologists, who must find the golden box of King Midas before evil mastermind Sam Neil gets his hands on it. Barnard is no Indiana Jones and this is not the next Harry Potter.
It’s out with Shia LaBeouf and in with Mark Wahlberg as a car mechanic who finds an old truck that’s none other than Optimus Prime hiding out in the Texas cornfields. This brings a lot of unwanted attention for Wahlberg and daughter Nicola Peltz from the CIA and biotech boss Stanley Tucci, who are working together to eliminate Autobots and Decepticons from the planet. With legendary Michael Bay at the helm, it’s a blowout of mindless CGI action — poor old Chicago gets trashed — with product placement, unwarranted close-ups on his pretty young stars and a T-Rex Dinobot from Hong Kong thrown in to please the all-important Asian market.
This is Sajid Nadiadwala’s directorial debut and it seems he wants to make a big impact with this action spectacular. It stars Salman Khan as a mask-wearing hero called the Devil, who at one point rides a bicycle and, in one of the film’s many eye-popping scenes, ploughs a double decker bus through the city of London, destroying everything in his path. Khan’s eyes are turned by Sri Lankan star Jacqueline Fernandez, while his evil nemesis is played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui. If the film can live up to even half the hype of the trailer it will be doing alright.