Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 2014

Critics score:
90 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Wesley Morris, Grantland: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes gets to be exciting and to say something about the world instead of merely blowing it up. The apes are among the more intellectually complex characters you're likely to spend time with this summer. Read more

Kyle Smith, New York Post: For two hours of breathless drama, you forget you're watching actors grunting like chimps and hope two rival civilizations can work together. Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is an extremely high-functioning sci-fi thriller about extremely high-functioning apes. Some of it may seem silly in the recounting, or in the trailer, but it doesn't feel silly in the theater. Read more

Soren Anderson, Seattle Times: Reeves directs with great dynamism, and his scenes of masses of apes swinging through treetops and swarming through San Francisco streets are rousingly staged. Read more

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine: When it gets going, it's a pretty fine movie. Read more

Guy Lodge, Variety: This vivid, violent extension of humanoid ape Caesar's troubled quest for independence bests its predecessor in nearly every technical and conceptual department ... Read more

A.A. Dowd, AV Club: A broody and reasonably entertaining act of brand extension, marred mainly by its limited license to do anything but inch audiences a little closer to the inevitable ape-slavement. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: A sequel to a reboot that makes a solid franchise stronger. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: Here's a thought for the inevitable next film in this series: Ditch the humans. Stick with the apes. They're a lot more interesting. Read more

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader: The human characters (played by Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, and Keri Russell, among others) are so bland they don't stand a chance against their simian counterparts. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: The film, despite its bloat and its overfondness for scenes of massacre, feels as if it were made by actual humans. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: What's striking about this new film is that it lays out the message-mongering in such a way that you can enjoy the movie equally well on a purely action level. Read more

Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes wisely weaves a tale of the flaws in human and simian natures. It also manages to say a thing or two about the hollowness of most summer blockbusters. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: For all its high-end special effects and its Shakespearean ambitions, Dawn fumbles its emotional moments and forces its action. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: The visual look of the apes themselves is what brings it all home. Seeing is believing, and the magic of "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" is that it is so easy to believe. Read more

Cary Darling, Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com: Yes, it's Hollywood at its most manipulative. Still, Heston would hate to hear this...but, at least from a moviegoer's perspective, the coming ape-ocracy may be nothing to fear and something to champion after all. Read more

Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly: Surprisingly rollicking and resonant ... Read more

Jordan Hoffman, Film.com: [A] heavy movie, even if it is hidden in the gorilla suit that is action-adventure entertainment. Read more

Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter: In the annals of sequels, Dawn is to Rise of the Planet of the Apes what The Empire Strikes Back was to Star Wars -- it's that much better. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: "Dawn's" vision of masses of intelligent apes swarming the screen as masters of all they survey is even more impressive than it was the last time around and reason enough to see the film all by itself. Read more

Tony Hicks, San Jose Mercury News: You have good guys and bad guys on both sides. The audience isn't meant to root for apes vs. humans as much as for certain characters. It's one of the film's best qualities. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: Watching an army of apes riding horses heading into battle is undeniably cool, but that's the only thing the movie gives you: Neat eye candy. Read more

Rafer Guzman, Newsday: The tone is dire, the visuals dark and doomy, the pace epically slow. Like so many sequels, it's everything the first film aspired not to be. Read more

New Yorker: For dramatic verve and emotional nuance, apes trounce people, hands down, and the movie suffers badly from the mismatch; all traces of finesse are trampled by the bombast of the climax. Read more

Ian Buckwalter, NPR: It's the first big tent-pole film of 2014 that nails everything from start to finish, blending thoughtful allegory, meaningful science fiction and dazzling action spectacle without a hitch. Read more

Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News: Just when it seemed like blockbusters could never evolve, in rides this extraordinary epic - a towering fable of humanity and brutality that takes a great movie myth and launches it forward. Read more

A.O. Scott, New York Times: It's a satisfying movie and an example - a dispiritingly rare one these days - of what mainstream Hollywood filmmaking can still achieve. Read more

Michael Sragow, Orange County Register: Serkis outdoes himself as Caesar in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. This gigantic spellbinder of a movie rests on his ability to convey power and command with his posture, and an array of emotions via his incredibly malleable face. Read more

Jake Coyle, Associated Press: Hail Caesar. Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer: Maybe that's the sad takeaway of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: that peace is futile, conflict inevitable. No matter the species, we're all doomed. Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: This installment inches events closer to a merge point with 1968's Planet of the Apes while maintaining its own unique identity. It is in every way superior to Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Read more

Richard Roeper, Richard Roeper.com: This just might be the most engrossing, the smartest and the most daring "Apes" movie ever put on film. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: Within the fertile area between promise and execution, Dawn is dynamite entertainment, especially in the rousing first hour. Read more

Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com: 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. Read more

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle: When a movie is inconclusive, when it's heading nowhere, there's no telling what should be emphasized and what should be glossed over. Everything is of equal unimportance. Read more

Dana Stevens, Slate: One of the most intelligent and entertaining big-studio releases of the summer so far. Read more

Kristin Tillotson, Minneapolis Star Tribune: "Dawn" is that rare sequel that makes a pretty good predecessor ("Rise of the Planet of the Apes") seem almost unnecessary. Read more

Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: The most metaphorically and morally evolved film of the bunch. Read more

Christopher Orr, The Atlantic: For the next installment, it might be wisest to forgo our own species altogether and make it all-ape. It is, after all, the logical next step in this particular cinematic evolution. Read more

Dave McGinn, Globe and Mail: It's incredible. It sets the standard for blockbuster action movies, and manages to be even better than its predecessor. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is the best and brainiest blockbuster of the summer, the kind of movie you hope for when you pay your money and buy your popcorn. Read more

Alonso Duralde, TheWrap: Dawn never feels dull or draggy. It also never feels as excitingly intelligent as its Apes ancestors. Read more

Tom Huddleston, Time Out: It may lack its predecessor's lofty ambitions, but once the bullets, spears and hairy fists start flying you'll be too wrapped up to care. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: An exciting and engrossing blockbuster with weighty themes, it raises important moral questions as it keeps viewers riveted. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Village Voice: It lives so confidently in its invented universe that you almost believe a society of apes could thrive on the outskirts of San Francisco ... Read more

David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture: It is certainly thrilling to see how Reeves and his CGI wizards bring their hordes of apes to life. Honestly, if I didn't know they were computerized, I'd have thought they'd brought off an evolutionary miracle. Read more

Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post: "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" works both as allegory and action-adventure film. Read more