Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Despite his humble beginnings, Caesar soon emerges as an imposing leader of the new, emerging nation of simians.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the hotly anticipated sequel to the critically acclaimed Rise of the Planet of the Apes released in 2011, is the second instalment of 20th Century Fox's reboot of the Planet of the Apes franchise.

In the year 2016, the out-of-control genetically engineered virus ALZ-113 (originally designed to cure Alzheimer's disease) causes death on an unprecedented scale and the eventual collapse of the entire human civilization following years of steep economic decline, civil unrest and catastrophic breakdown of law and order in virtually every country of the world. In stark contrast, the same virus, lethal to humans, is not only completely harmless to other non-human primates but also greatly increases their intelligence as an unintended side-effect.

Prompted by Koba, a bonobo who holds a particular grudge against humans, Caesar brings a large group of the apes to the city for an impressive show of power.

Ten years later, a growing population of highly-evolved and intelligent apes led by their leader Caesar live in a budding community located in the Muir Woods. After years of oppression and mistreatment by humans, they hope for a brighter future brought about by a new generation of this young, emerging nation of simians.

One day, while walking in the forest, Caesar's son Blue Eyes and his best friend Ash encounter a human, who, in panic, shoots Ash, wounding him. Carver, as the human is known, calls for the rest of his small party of survivors, led by a man named Malcolm, while Blue Eyes calls for the other apes to come to their help. After a short confrontation, Caesar orders the humans to leave their forest.

Highly intelligent and charismatic leader of the apes Caesar can show empathy and compassion towards humans and would prefer to live with them in peace…

One of the isolated settlements of what now remains of the human civilization is located in a guarded tower within the ruined remains of what was once San Francisco. Its inhabitants, genetically immune to the virus, are bereft of electricity and resources. Impelled by Koba, a veteran bonobo chimpanzee holding a particular grudge against humans for his previous maltreatment, Caesar brings a large group of the apes to the city for a blatant show of power. He delivers a message that while the apes do not want war, they will fight if necessary, to defend their territory and their way of life.

Malcolm visits Caesar and convinces him to give humans a permission to undertake repair work on the power generator in a hydroelectric dam located within apes’ territory, as the generator, if repaired, could provide long-term supply of electricity for the city. As Malcolm, his wife Ellie, and son Alexander work on the repair, they slowly bond with the apes and the initial mutual distrust gradually abates. The bond only deepens when Caesar's wife Cornelia becomes seriously ill and Ellie treats her with antibiotics.

…but revengeful and unforgiving Koba has other ideas how to deal with the ‘human question’.

Unfortunately, the fragile truce between apes and humans proves to be short-lived. Dismayed Koba is not happy with this status quo and seeks revenge on humans via a fiendish ruse. He sets fire to the ape settlement and in the ensuing panic shoots, unseen by the others, Caesar. With the Alpha male absent, Koba takes charge, placing the blame for the arson squarely on Malcolm's group and ordering the apes to go to a war against the humans.

The apes plunder an abandoned armoury, and thus armed, attack the fortified human settlement in the city. Despite heavy casualties, the apes win the battle and imprison all the captured humans. Meanwhile, Malcolm's group finds Caesar badly injured and barely alive and transports him to safety. Unknown to the apes, the surviving men, who avoided capture by going into hiding, have made in the meantime radio contact with another large group of humans, located at a military base nearby, who are now on their way to help fight the apes.

State of the art computer generated animations combined with the motion capture, produced by Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital, are the real stars of this film.

In the end, recovered Caesar defeats treacherous Koba and regains control of his nation, but he is left with no option but to watch helplessly as the both sides are brought to the brink of a bloody war that will determine who will eventually emerge as Earth's dominant species.

There is very little to add to the widespread acclaim the film received, but to reiterate that the sequel not only met all the expectations, but exceeded them. Andy Serkis, who reprises his role as Caesar, gives an outstanding performance as the imposing yet humane leader of the apes. Performances of the supporting actors are also excellent, the plot is tense yet plausible and, if that is even possible, the special effects are even better than in the first instalment. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is not only one of the best science fiction films out this year – it is one of the best science fiction films, full-stop.