Generally favorable reviews - based on 48 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 747 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , , , ,
  • Summary: A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is 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. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 44 out of 48
  2. Negative: 0 out of 48
  1. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Jul 10, 2014
    The film forges ahead, in vivid 3-D, with such energy, expertise and thunderous conviction that you readily accept its basic premise β€” the pell-mell emergence of great intelligence, plus moral awareness, in primitive bodies β€” and find yourself exactly where the filmmakers want you to be, swinging giddily between sympathy for the apes and the humans in what threatens to become all-out war.
  2. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Jul 10, 2014
    Director Matt Reeves, working from a script by Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver and Mark Bomback, elevates the apes to primary importance in this intelligent thriller.
  3. Reviewed by: Dave McGinn
    Jul 10, 2014
    Good news – it’s incredible. It sets the standard for blockbuster action movies, and manages to be even better than its predecessor.
  4. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Jul 9, 2014
    Eschewing a tidy wrap-up, Reeves doesn't leave us feeling manipulated, as so often happens in films like this. Instead, we want to know where the story goes from here, and that's no small accomplishment.
  5. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Jul 9, 2014
    The narrative and its attendant lessons about how one rotten ape and/or human can spoil the bunch are engaging, although I found myself drifting during the battle sequences.
  6. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Jul 9, 2014
    Dawn is dynamite entertainment, especially in the rousing first hour.
  7. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Jul 10, 2014
    Any film that begins with one of those fake-news montages, where snippets of genuine CNN footage are stitched together to concoct a feeling of semi-urgency around its hackneyed apocalypse, already sucks even before it gets started.

See all 48 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 15 out of 201
  1. Sep 2, 2014
    Matt Reeves has done it again. I can't believe this movie was as good as it was! It was action-packed, emotional, and enjoyable. It doesn't just focus on the impending war between the apes and the humans, but it focuses on the interactions between the humans and apes, which results in a very emotionally intense film. It also had great acting from everyone (apes included) and some beautiful cinematography. Expand
  2. Jul 14, 2014
    The visual effects were breathtakingly spectacular as you see the sweat dropping off the hair bristles of these intelligent apes. You learn something here about human nature and survival through these apes, and the end results will have you already anticipating the third installment. Expand
  3. Jul 11, 2014
    Nothing, absolutely nothing, in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes falls short of being amazing. An emotionally heavy and truly moving film, Dawn is an absolute marvel of modern science fiction, building upon the strong and unmovable foundations Rise of the Planet of the Apes had left earlier. With a plethora of solid characters from both ends of the tale, an explosive sequence of events and a rather poetic script, Dawn raises the bar for the Planet of the Apes franchise and other big-budget philosophical productions of it's caliber. Dawn really is something that deserves appreciation; few films in our day can only dream of achieving what Dawn has. A film that truly touches it's audience with heartfelt passion and remorse for humanity, Dawn is the kind of film that films as an art form and the film industry needs in general.

    Both Rise and Dawn are thought provoking; films that challenge our perception of our very own species through another. However, Dawn triumphs more spectacularly in a way few films before it had done so; through unsolicited and unforced emotion and depth that makes Dawn a true modern science fiction classic, something that the original creators of Planet of the Apes would be very proud of.
  4. Aug 25, 2014
    This film portrays acts of betrayal, decisions, trust, and friendship. It is a interesting film about apes. It is a must-see for anyone who likes or is interested in apes. The Plot is unique and the music is amazing. Expand
  5. Jul 26, 2014
    Dawn of the planet apes is a true cinematic summer blockbuster experience ..this movie sure brings great ground into the planet apes franchise ..I was a fan of the of the rise of the planet apes that came out in 2011 and I was expecting this movie to be even bigger and I wasn't disappointed.. the movie itself is beautiful followed by great performances of the apes .. the scenary is very poignant ..and every other aspect of the movie is pretty good this deserves at lest a 85/100 for me Expand
  6. Jul 24, 2014
    This was a good film with an even greater message.

    This film was an optical shotgun blast. I found myself having to remind myself these
    were not real apes. So on that task, job well done. The battered San Francisco was a nice compliment to the jungle homeland of the apes.

    What else I liked about the film was I like both factions which I found a little odd. Usually you align with a faction and stick to it. This film did a good job of muddying the waters and not letting you go all in on either side. Other than a character or two, you are emotionally behind every one of them. They have all known loss and pain.

    The strongest part of this film is the message that it delivers. No single group, race, gender is morally better than another. Every faction has its good and its bad. This is what sold the film and made it an 8 out 10.

    -James Von Doom
  7. Aug 24, 2014
    A spectacularly dull film, noteworthy only for the fact that, despite clocking in at just over two hours, it felt like it had sucked four hours of my life away. The characters are flat, uninteresting and utterly forgettable, the visuals are mediocre at best and the entire film seems to merely be an opportunity to show two apes fighting each other in a construction site. And even that supposedly climatic scene managed to be uninteresting, because there is no reason to care about any of the characters in this movie, and the fight itself is not interesting enough to hold ones attention on its own. Even the film's message of interspecies (or inter-cultural) cooperation and communication falls flat, offering nothing new or interesting on the topic but preferring to fall back on the stock idea of "they're just like us!", something that has been covered dozens of times before by far better film makers than Matt Reeves and co could ever hope to be. A worthless, brain dead bit of cinema. Expand

See all 201 User Reviews

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