2014 | 130 minutes | Rated PG-13
Bare minimum—minimum—Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a movie that features monkeys firing machine guns while riding on horses. By any reasonable measure, that fact alone makes Dawn a very special film—but director Matt Reeves and writers Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, and Mark Bomback have gone a step further. They've gone and made an outstanding war movie. It's great: When was the last time you saw a war movie that captured, earnestly and insightfully, both sides of the conflict? When was the last time you saw a war movie that works just as well when its characters are speaking to each other—or scheming against each other, or trying, and failing, to trust each other—as it does when ladling out bloody, fiery spectacle? Dawn pulls off those feats—feats that most movies about humans can't even manage.
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