‘Planet of the Apes’ is king of the swingers

Undated Film Still Handout from Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes. Pictured: Jason Clarke. See PA Feature FILM Film Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Fox UK. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.

Undated Film Still Handout from Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes. Pictured: Jason Clarke. See PA Feature FILM Film Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Fox UK. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.

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Blending state-of-the-art special effects with an intelligent script, ‘Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes’ looks conjures two hours of animal magic set to top blockbuster charts.

Andy Serkis’s exemplary work as Caesar, the super-intelligent chimpanzee who leads the ape uprising, is the film’s emotional heartbeat. Toby Kebbell is also compelling as Caesar’s war-mongering rival, who believes the key to the survival of his species is the extermination of humans.

Mark Bomback, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver’s script elegantly draws parallels between the feuding primates, juxtaposing tender scenes of parenting with bruising skirmishes that create divisions on both sides.

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is a slick thrill ride with brains as well as brawn.

The grim mood, which permeates the first half, leads to all-guns-blazing war and director Reeves orchestrates these brutal sequences with elan. Digital effects are jaw-dropping, giving birth to a realistic army of blood-thirsty apes who cram every chaotic, blood-spattered frame. The film’s strong anti-gun message is clear, but the appetite for destruction overpowers diplomacy.