Slick film with brains as well as brawn

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes. Photo: PA Photo/Fox UK

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes. Photo: PA Photo/Fox UK

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Blending state-of-the-art special effects with an intelligent script, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes conjures two hours of animal magic that looks set to be crowned king of the blockbuster swingers.

Tim Burton’s abortive Planet Of The Apes is now a distant memory thanks to the 2011 revamp Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes and this superior sequel, which pushes the art of motion-capture performance to new limits.

Andy Serkis’ exemplary work as Caesar, the super-intelligent chimpanzee who leads the ape uprising, is the film’s emotional heartbeat. His ability to convey the character’s rage, despair and passion through movement and subtle gesture is breathtaking.

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 comes through loud and clear, but the appetite for destruction overpowers diplomacy.