If you enjoyed Rise of the Planet of the Apes, you'll likely enjoy Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. That in itself is no small feat: Rise had the power of surprise on its side, as nobody expected it to be a decent film. We all saw Dawn coming from a mile away, but it manages to live up to, and occasionally surpass, those heightened expectations. Dawn has the same strengths as Rise: The acting and special effects are just as good, if not better, the second time around. Andy Serkis brings a bit of a self-conscious Shakespearean intensity to his performance as Caesar, bestowing upon him the grace of a man—or a mostly man-shaped thing—who knows he carries the future of an entire species on his shoulders. Toby Kebbell is maybe the first motion-capture actor to give Serkis a run for his money as Koba, an ape who doesn't share Caesar's fondness for human beings. While other motion-capture apes in the film have distinct personalities—Karin Konoval's Maurice deserves a Best Supporting Orangutan nod—Kebbell gives a true performance, delivering a subtle series of dueling emotions beneath the surface of Koba's simmering anti-human resentment.
by Paul Constant
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