Caesar, portrayed by Andy Serkis (in performance capture suit), is the leader of the ape nation as seen in DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, a film directed by Matt Reeves. Photo credit: WETA TM and © 2014 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved.
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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)
Opened: 07/11/2014 Wide
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Trailer: Click for trailer
Rated: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief strong language.
In DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES a growing nation of genetically evolved apes, led by Caesar, are threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth's dominant species.
At one time the concept of successfully rebooting the Planet of the Apes series into a viable new franchise seemed impossible. But 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes, along with the majestic performance of Andy Serkis and groundbreaking visual effects from Weta Digital, did indeed launch a new franchise. The film became a global hit, grossing nearly $500 million and receiving critical and audience acclaim. It was the first live-action motion picture to star and be told from the point of view of a sentient animal -- a character with human qualities and with whom moviegoers experienced a real emotional bond.
Rise was an emotionally arresting story, which the filmmakers wanted to carry forward in DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. Rise of the Planet of the Apes concluded with the apes breaking free from their human captors -- just as a deadly human-created virus spread globally. Caesar, the benevolent ape leader, leads the apes to Muir Woods, a haven outside of San Francisco, where Caesar, then a young chimpanzee, was taken by his human friend Will to escape the confines of the city.
DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES director Matt Reeves wanted the continuity of his movie to fit into that timeline. "The story we are telling will lead to Planet of the Apes, and not Planet of the Humans and Apes, so it's about how this film fits into that narrative."
In the new story, the apes have continued to build a community in Muir Woods. Beyond the apes' enclave, a pandemic, the Simian Flu, has wiped out much of the world's human population. Gradually the lights of civilization began to dim and become non-existent. For all intents and purposes, humanity has perished.
Producer Dylan Clark notes, "A viral apocalypse hit the humans and 10 years later, their numbers are severely depleted. Apes, on the other hand, have done quite well. Caesar has led them to freedom and he's built a new home. The apes have risen, and the humans have declined. And now they're about to collide."
Still, DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES is about survival and not an apocalypse. "There is a sense in the beginning of the story that apes have inherited the Earth," says Reeves. "A small group of humans is struggling to come back from devastation, and the apes are fighting for survival. It's an ape world, and we explore whether apes and humans can figure out a way to live together without violence."
These events again revolve around Caesar, whom Andy Serkis brought to life in an acclaimed and stunning performance in 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes. In DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, Caesar rules a nation of apes, having established a rich life for the simians in the years that followed their liberation. Now, a decade later, he finds himself grappling with the challenges of maintaining his benevolent leadership, and protecting his mate and two children in the face of renewed interaction with humans.