I just caught Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Who would have thought it’s a prequel to the 1968 film? At least I didn’t think so after watching it. Nonetheless, it’s interesting at least for me to talk about this movie with my father since the 1968 film is something that belongs to his era.

I didn’t go into the theatre with any expectations in mind, even though I had watched Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I didn’t even watch the trailer, so I really had zero idea of what expect. Perhaps this is why I ended up being moved by the movie in so many ways.

First of all, what took me by surprise were the apes. Honestly, it’s almost impossible to imagine these creatures were actually digitally created by Weta Digital (the visual effects studio behind the “Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings” movies, Avatar, The Avengers, Iron Man 3, and Man of Steel among others). They looked real enough to be frightening .(Not that I go staring at apes all day, but you know what I’m saying). Yes, I was frightened by some of the apes in the movie. (Watch Joe Letteri of Weta Digital talk about the making of the film below.)

Other realistic visuals, the next thing – or the main thing, really – is the story. It might not occur to most people how a story about apes can be interesting, but this movie is not just interesting, it is gripping in many instances.

The themes in this movie are generally dark. It forces the audience to think more deeply about the world we live in, where hopes for love, trust, and compassion are betrayed by distorted beliefs and fears. It is also a movie about how fear drives both humans and apes for the worse, resulting in the triumph of mob mentality over logic and reason.

It’s such a brilliant movie that I am refraining from giving the usual synopsis. Go watch the movie if you are into dark themes or like to philosophize about the nature of life. If not, this is still a good movie to watch if only for the effects and story.