‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ Early Reactions – A Blockbuster Masterpiece?

Published 10 months ago by , Updated July 1st, 2014 at 11:18 am,

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Caesar with warpaint Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Early Reactions   A Blockbuster Masterpiece?

When Rise of the Planet of the Apes released in 2011, audiences and critics alike were as surprised by its emotional beats as they were the heartlfelt performance Andy Serkis managed to bring to his motion-captured, digitally-rendered ape, Caesar. The film wasn’t without its flaws – as we noted in our own review – but the film proved to be more than mindless, science fiction camp.

Its sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, releases in two weeks and expectations are high for the film to not only raise the stakes for the apes and humans trying to coexist, creating more turmoil between the two groups, but to also provide bigger and more bombastic action set pieces as every trailer, teaser, and poster hints at the oncoming war.

Earlier this week Fox premiered the film to a group of critics and their reactions are already making their way online. A handful of those who caught the early screening have since tweeted their first impressions.

UPDATE: Here’s the biggest reaction to consider – the one from our own Editor-in-Chief, Kofi Outlaw!

Check them out below (via CBM):

(You can read more comments at each critics’ Twitter account.)

This is all high praise for a film some will still write off as that ‘silly monkey movie.’ It’s only the opinion of a select few, but it’s all positive, with many even calling Dawn of the Planet of the Apes their favorite film of the summer!

Fans of Rise will surely be pleased to hear the sequel builds upon and exceeds what made the first film so memorable. But it’s equally pleasing to hear such praise for director Matt Reeves, who’s taking over for Rises‘ director Rupert Wyatt. Then again, anyone who saw Reeves’ Let Me In -  a remake of the Swedish film Let the Right One In – knows the director can handle intense, emotional moments.

dawn planet apes effects preview 570x294 Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Early Reactions   A Blockbuster Masterpiece?

What’s perhaps the best news from these early reactions is how many are calling Dawn of the Planet of the Apes not simply a visual spectacle, but a real character-driven drama. Serkis’ performance in Rise was a real stand out, but his human co-stars were all rather flat and one-dimensional. Dawn appears to have done a better job with its performances from both humans and humans-as-apes, which is likely a big reason why the film and its messages are resonating more strongly.

If these early reactions hold true once the film is released, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes could be the real surprise hit of the summer. With the universal praise of the film’s visuals, performances, direction – basically everything – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes could be a sequel that doesn’t just rival its predecessor, but surpasses it in every way.

Are you surprised to hear such universal acclaim for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes? Will Dawn become this summer’s smash hit blockbuster? Sound off in the comments below!


Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is out in theaters on July 11th, 2014.

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  1. serkis for the oscar.

    • Unfortunately, never gonna happen. Serkis absolutely deserves an Oscar, but the Oscar’s will never consider motion capture a “real” performance. I hope one day I’m wrong.

      • I hope you are proven wrong someday… I really do. :(

      • He won an Oscar for Gollum in lord of the rings:return of the king. That was a motion capture performance.

        • No, he has yet to win an Oscar, or even be nominated. The only awards that Return of the King won was non-acting awards, like makeup and score. I’m sure one day he will at least be nominated for an acting award, and hopefully win. He is definitely deserving.

    • … how about a Special Achievement Oscar?

  2. The last one that came out from favorite movie that year so I’m excited to see that these reviews say this is great as well! :D

  3. This is gonna be amazing!

  4. So glad to hear it’s good. One of my most anticipated movies of the summer! :D

  5. Go on Matt Reeves!

  6. Imagine if Michael Bay directed these films, we’d get like 20 minutes of apes and 2 hours of human bs with glamoured up female leads.

    • They’d be hugely successful fun action films, instead of po-faced, pseudo-intellectual attempts at making serious social commentary around a movie about talking monkeys taking over the world?

      • Remove the word “fun” and yeah, you’d be right.

        I’d rather have films like this than films that only a 3 year old or the mentally retarded could enjoy.

        • Dazz…

          Don’t insult mentally challenged people.

          • Why do they always have to insult something when the discussion is of nothing related?

            Anyway, this movie looks awesome! I have never watched the first one, even though I own it ha

      • Sure, like Tim Burtons reboot, but worse. Curious, you called the guy a transformers troll, but you come to troll the Ape movie?

    • Don’t even think it! Praise the monkey gods that he wasn’t chosen to reboot this franchise!!

  7. Been waiting to see this! Screw Transformers!

    • No one asked your opinion about Transformers, troll.

      • bay fanboy right here. u mad bout the negative reviews?

        • bay troll right here. u mad bout the consistent financial success?

          • I feel sorry for the deluded fans of Michael Bay’s ridiculously stupid movies.

            • .Im tired of people bashing bays entire career. Yea transformers was not,all that great but to say his good movies suck is just stupid. The rock and bad boys 1 were good films and don’t deserved to bebashed because bays name is on them.

          • im pretty sure that you are trolling right now.

  8. I’m a little nervous hearing all this gushing praise. A few months ago we heard the same thing about “Edge of Tomorrow” and it didn’t live up to its hype. I’m a huge Apes fan, so I’ve got my fingers crossed.

    • Eh, I’m all for different opinions. Just acknowledge that you’re in the minority on that one. Most audiences (myself included) loved Edge of Tomorrow.

      • He obviously didn’t watch Edge of tomorrow.

      • I think Edge of Tomorrow was overhyped too. It was a good movie but not as good, IMO, as all the positive rave it is getting.

        • Literally 100% of the people I know in real life who have seen Edge of Tomorrow loved it. Many say it’s the best movie they’ve seen all year, some say longer. I agree with that mindset… But movie tastes are subjective, so obviously there’s no right or wrong, but it definitely wasn’t “overhyped.” If anything, it’s one of the most underrated movies to come out this year. Just because you personally didn’t like it, doesn’t mean it is “overhyped” in a general sense.

    • Yea, just thought I would let you know that you are in minority there. Just check rotten tomatoes critic and audience score, it lived up to the hype for most.

    • You must be mistaken. Edge of Tomorrow was an excellent movie and was generally well received. I actually think there was no hype for the movie to live up to since it flopped in terms of box office. However, whether a movie flops or not doesn’t reflect its quality: it reflects poor marketing. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but Edge of Tomorrow was a great movie that deserved more hype than it was credited.

      • I totally agree man…I have not seen Edge Of Tomorrow but your right the amount of money it makes does NOT reflect the Quality of the movie…psh who cares how much money they make..just make a movie that sends us home wanting to see it again..

      • @Dan

        I agree, I would call it the most underrated movie so far this year. Definitely deserved better at the box office. I am actually literally mad about it not making more money than the many CRAPPY movies that made much more money than it. I’m sure Transformers will quadruple the box office take of Edge of Tomorrow… Oh wait, according to this website they are both the same quality, so, nevermind… smh

        • Yep, that box office performance and your final comment make me so angry and frustrated about so-called movie fans. Edge Of Tomorrow hasn’t had ANY negativity regarding it from what I’ve seen outside of SR’s review but nope, apparently, it sucked because people didn’t go see it and decided to save their money for utter trash like Tranformers: Age Of Extinct Intelligence.

          • “people didn’t go see it and decided to save their money for utter trash like Tranformers: Age Of Extinct Intelligence.”

            How much rent does it cost to live under a bridge?

          • haha “Age of Extinct Intelligence” I love it.

            I might rent it. I enjoy the action sequences in the TF movies, but I find most everything else in the films completely unwatchable. I’ll need a fast forward button when/if I watch TF4.

            • So you admit that you’re going to watch it, regardless of your vocal criticism of the series?

    • Hi Evan! I agree, they do this with a lot of movies.

      • oops, I have no idea what happened…this post was not supposed to be here lol sorry!

  9. I am anxiously awaiting this film. I thoroughly enjoyed the first one, faults and all.

    That said, I can hardly wait for the day when an action/sci-fi film gets nominated and WINS an Oscar as “best film”.

  10. I really really hope this opens and ends up bigger than TF4… a much more deserved title for a much much better movie.

    Still, even the critically acclaimed “How To Train Your Dragon 2″ didn’t become a hit on the box office, I kinda doubt this will do too.

    • You haven’t seen Apes yet and I bet you haven’t seen Transformers either. You’re not going to let a little thing like ignorance get in the way of spouting off your opinion, though, are you?

      • You have no idea if he’s seen Transformers you hypocrite lol. Sounds like you’re letting a little thing like ignorance get in the way of spouting off your opinion, though, are you?

        As a side, say he’s seen the previous three Transformers and hated them, are you saying it’s not logical to assume he would dislike the fourth?

        What color is the sky in your world, Troll?

        • “You have no idea if he’s seen Transformers you hypocrite lol. Sounds like you’re letting a little thing like ignorance get in the way of spouting off your opinion, though, are you?”

          No. Whether or not he’s seen Transformers is a moot point because he definitely hasn’t seen the Apes movie he’s supposedly comparing it to. Even if he watched Age of Extinction 3 times and took extensive notes he STILL wouldn’t be in a position to make the comment he made.

      • I was offered free preview tix by Time Warner cable. I asked them why they didn’t like me? Fool me once, but fool me 4 times? I wouldn’t go for free!

  11. I’m so ready for this movie. I am a huge Apes fan and loved Rise. I was worried when Matthew Vaughn wasn’t going to direct, so it’s nice to hear it’s getting some good reactions.

  12. @kurgan

    Are you actually Michael Bay in disguise, trolling the screenrant boards for people talking bad about TF4?

    Regardless, Apes looks good and Serkis is an absolute artist and hopefully this will get him some (more) recognition.

    • Are you really Andy Serkis in disguise, taking a break from your terrible scenery chewing to praise yourself on the internet and bash more successful movie franchises?

      • Lol! You really are Michael Bay! Or the biggest troll I have ever encountered.

        It took you all of 7 mins to respond to my post. But apparently you didn’t even read it, because I didn’t say one bad thing about transformers or anything else you have done Mr. Bay. I actually liked the bad boys movies quite a bit. Now stop trolling the interwebs and get to work on bad boys 3!

        Get a life troll, or send me an autographed picture of Will Smith. Or the Rock…

        Ps. Pain and gain wasn’t bad! Keep your head up! You’ll make a truly good film one day.

        • Right, like there was no implied criticism. “Oh, there’s no way someone would actually defend those Transformers movies from internet trolls. The ONLY explanation is that the film’s director is ‘trolling online’. It’s not like Transformers is one of the top grossing franchises of all time with millions of fans or anything.”

          Also, how dare you call ME a troll? All I did was respond to all the off topic, unprovoked bashing of the Transformers movies.

          • Mr. Bay, can I call you that? Don’t worry about what people say. Id much rather see your movie then see that piece of crap batman vs superman thats totally gonna suck. And only afflack fans are gonna like cause they wanna be like kevin smith and put his untalented testicles in their mouth :-)

          • you’re a great troll, man.

  13. outside of Andy Serkis’s brilliant performance, i wasn’t terribly impressed with “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”. a fine, understated dramatic film that used its action sequences sparingly & effectively. and, thankfully, used as little of James Franco. nothing great but nothing too terrible either – it did a decent job of making me forget Tim Burtons disastrous take just a few years before.

    this film’s, though, got my inner 10 year old working on overtime & seeing the early rave reviews is just making me that much more excited. i was unaware that Matt Reeves was directing – that’s just icing on what looks to be a very delicious summer treat. Reeves has a terrific sense of foreboding & the trailers for “Dawn” look to prove that out.

    and Gary Oldman always makes for a perfect post-apocalyptic thoroughly deranged instigator of disaster.

    can’t hardly wait!

  14. Has Andy Serkis done any non special effects or heavy makeup roles? l love his creature roles but I would like to see him in a regular human role just to see what he’s like.

    • He’s actually a human character in the new King Kong, he’s been in the prestige as teslas assistant and in 13 going on 30 in a minor role. Can’t recall what.

    • He did a black period comedy with Simon Pegg called “Burke and Hare” about grave robbers.

  15. Man you guys are funny..going at it lol..I like all kinds of movies…and if Michael Bay was Directing it I’am sure it would be a great 2 hr action packed Sci-Fi film but with less drama and emotion that gets you invested into these characters. Instead there would probably be some comedy lines or something I duno im not a director or a critic im just a regular dude that likes to watch all kinds of movies. Some people didn’t like the new Transformers, thats fine. Im sure there are gonna be alot of people that will..now let me tell you..Age of Extinction could be the worse movie ever. I’am still gonna go see it I’am still gonna buy the Blu-Ray, because when you get down to it..Its still a Michael Bay Transformers movie thats gonna have crazy Transformers Ripping Each Other apart lol…no matter what its gonna be a sight to see guaranteed I know some people out there are gonna HATE to sit there for 2HRs and 40 Minutes..So just make sure you go to the movie prepared and not wanting to go out every 20 minutes because you cant sit still…Bay likes to tell his stories and he likes his action ima huge Bay fan…Can you imagine how hard it is to make A sequel better than the first film..fuggeddabout it..now imagine having a 4th installment lol..it can’t be easy. If people are hating out there..give the man a break cause the truth is you can despise the movie but your still gonna wanna see a 5th and a 6th and a 7th because its a bunch of awesome alien robots that beat ass…and now there riding Dinosaurs…another thing BAD BOYS..both of them..are classics..absolute classics..I believe that Age of Extinction and Rises are two totally different types of movies…I love all of the Transformers movies…even if there really long or not as good as the first ima still buy cause I still love to sit there and watch my Auto Bots..TBH the only thing I would like…is if they made it a little darker..kinda like Captain America 2 or The Dark Knight..kind of have that gritty dangerous feel to it…another thing, they have Peter FRIGGIN Cullen voicing optimus prime that dude has been voicing optimus for almost 30 years..to me..thats just awesome..I know im just rambling, like I said im not a real critic im not trying to be some big bad dude with big words im just telling you how it is from my point of view…you agree or you dont agreee…bottom line…also a movie does NOT have to be action packed to be good ..Drama in itself and character depth can make a movie amazing…Im sure alot of you haven’t seen The Grand Budapest Hotel…I was very skeptical at first myself but than my boy turned me onto it …theres no action or s*** like that..its kind of a comedy..but a small movie like that ….that prolly didnt even hit the 40 million mark on opening weekend…that movie is just incredible…The Director…made it the way he wanted to make it ..I recently got more into camera angles and the way the movie is shot..not just about the story…and The Grand Budapest Hotel in its own right is a masterpiece and im glad my friend recommended it to me..HOLLA AT YOUR BOY QUEENS NEW YORK SKINNIE.VINNY 718 HOLLLLA! I’ll come on tomorrow and give my thoughts on Transformers cause I got a 8am showing lol MAD EARLY HOLLLA

  16. This is what I want to hear. I do hope it lives up to the early feedback.

  17. Man, we are still 2 weeks away.
    Even though I’ve seen Days of Future Past, Godzilla and 22 Jump Street in the theater this summer the wait for Dawn has felt like forever.

    Along with Guardians of the Galaxy Dawn is what I’m most excited to see for the rest of the summer.

    Then comes Interstellar and Gone Girl in the fall.
    Can’t wait.

  18. Why are you guys discussing transformers? Anyway see one transformers movie and you’ve seen them all.

  19. This Movie was amazing to work on.We all put are ass into it.Matt was a Great Director and every one clicked into what was happening and .Damn it was a experience for the books. Blessings to all involved Bad Ass .Lets do it again .Make it Better. more fire Power.Thanks Kevin.Brent Julian.You made this Happen

  20. Based on early reactions it’s sounding good. Also a critic that seems to have just about the same taste in movies as I do was in at tendency and he also gave some excellent reviews about this movie. So I for one am very excited about this movie. Can’t wait

  21. May was an absolutely fantastic month for movies. Godzilla, X-Men, EoT, 22 Jump Street, HTTYD2. This week Snowpiercer opens in a theater near me, then Boyhood opens in limited release starting July 11, on the same day as DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES THAT IS GETTING REALLY GOOD REVIEWS!!!




    Excuse me while I go continue geeking out somewhere.

    • I meant to say May and June… My bad on that…

  22. http://robotunicornattack.us
    Upon loading up the game and probably startling Google Chrome itself with the absurdness of what I was playing, the word disappointment temporarily fell out of my vocabulary because after even 30 seconds of playing my head was filled with rainbows, amazement, and awe at how simultaneously simple and entertaining the experience was. Aside from the frightening array of colours that would distress even the hardiest of retinas, everything about this game is unbelievably simple and easy to grasp. Taking the fact that you are a mechanical unicorn as given, you are thrown into a bubblegum world of fantasy and sparkle which, upon witnessing it with your own eyes, will make you understand what those Skittles talk about when they bang on about ”tasting the rainbow”. As a robot unicorn, your job is to simply run endlessly across terrain, jumping intermittently when the ground beneath you ends and landing on the next platform. The jumps become increasingly difficult as you progress, with terrain and giant star-shaped obstacles getting in your way.

  23. hi planet of the apes fans.

    i believe this sequel to rise of the planet of the apes will do well at this
    summer box-office world. reasons being the impressive cast members. and the realistic motion captive image technology being used.

  24. Hail Caesar 100% but the Oscar goes to ”human work” KOBA.

  25. I thought this was the worst one yet I mean now there firing guns riding horses and driving tanks. so over the top watched it once that’s enough for me

    • There firing guns? There where??