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Parents' Guide to

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Intense sequel is darker than first, with more weapons.

Movie PG-13 2014 101 minutes
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 16 parent reviews

age 15+

Nowhere near the original Apes.

Has wonderful moments, but an “f-bomb,” violence, and soon-to-be dated CGI brings it down. Also a half-remake of a better movie, “Battle for the Planet of the Apes.”
age 13+

huge step up from rise

a huge step up from rise, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes is good but much darker than first, watching the beggining made me tear up. Does have some strong language including one f---ing, lots of violence including one epic battle seen with people getting shot, and crushed to death, with apes shown being shown getting shot, burnt and crushed to death. overall, it's too graphic and dark for tweens, but once they turn 13 they'll love it.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much swearing

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (16 ):
Kids say (55 ):

This movie will surprise viewers with its depth and relevance to a world in which co-existence between humans is beginning to look every bit as difficult as harmony between the humans and the apes. The decade between the events in Rise and the action in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has decimated humanity but helped the apes evolve into a well-organized community of united chimpanzees, orangutans (wise Maurice is back as the community's teacher), gorillas, and other apes. By focusing on the apes at the beginning and the end, director Matt Reeves makes it clear where society is heading ... and who has the more interesting story lines. This installment's most compelling characters are definitely the apes, particularly the mistrustful Koba -- who not only refuses to trust humans but is willing to lie, cheat, and steal to start a war with the neighboring survivors' colony -- and Blue Eyes (Nick Thurston), Caesar's oldest son, who's torn between listening to his thoughtful father and the more vocally militant Koba. Caesar and Koba are fascinating foils, and their relationship is so much more heartbreaking than their human counterparts Malcolm and Dreyfus (Gary Oldman), who thinks the apes are just "dumb animals."

In the first movie, Caesar related to Will (James Franco) as a son. But in the sequel, he and Malcolm are equals -- both fathers trying to do what's best for their sons and their communities. Their friendship doesn't have as tearful an emotional pull as the father-son dynamic, but it's still poignant to see two voices of reason standing against hate. It's too bad there isn't more for Keri Russell or Kodi Smit-McPhee to do as Malcolm's partner and son; they -- along with some of the original apes, like Maurice and Rocket -- don't have a lot of lines. Still, Dawn is ultimately a dark and violent drama with more substance than anyone would expect from a franchise sequel. The movie's visuals are unforgettable (apes on horses! apes with guns a la Arnold Schwarzenegger!), and the action is occasionally disturbing (a couple of the kills are particularly upsetting).

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