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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes | 2014 | PG-13 | - 1.7.5

In this sequel a community of humanoid apes confronts internal and external opposition when a group of human survivors from a deadly virus outbreak threatens their dominion. The two factions establish a tentative peace, but apes and humans prepare for a war to gain dominance of the Earth. With Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Keri Russell, Gary Oldman, Toby Kebbell, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Nick Thurston, Judy Greer and Kirk Acevedo. Directed by Matt Reeves. Dialogue includes Simian sign language and English subtitles. [2:10]

SEX/NUDITY 1 - A man and a woman hug twice and kiss briefly in three scenes. A male ape and a female ape hug three times. A man and a woman sleep together fully clothed in a large sleeping bag (no sex is implied).
 A female chimp whimpers a few times, sits up and delivers a baby off screen; when handed to her, the tiny chimp is slimy with amniotic fluids.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 7 - A large chimp drags a man from a car and pounds him to death off screen with loud thumps. A chimp starts a fire in an ape community that fills the screen with flames and blames it on the humans; he hides in brush and uses an assault rifle to shoot the chimp leader in the shoulder and we see the chimp fall off a branch to the ground with a thud and he is presumed dead (chimps screech).
 A psychotic chimp walks into a warehouse of weapons and pretends to be silly, dancing and clapping his hands, before grabbing an assault rifle and shooting two men dead, off-screen; we see the back of one man's head as it falls below the frame and the chimp and other apes steal many of the weapons. Two chimp guards fire rifles into the air to scare humans in cages while a chimp in the street jumps onto a firing tank, pounds the shooter inside to death (off-screen) and takes over the tank, firing into the street and running the tank into the edge of a building. An ape demands that his assistant kill a man with the bar from a floor lamp and when the assistant refuses, the leader picks him up and throws him off the balcony, killing him with a loud thump off-screen. An ape locks a dozen apes into a prison bus and orders all humans to be locked into cages; when the apes are not able to catch all the people, they shoot the rest dead (some blood is evident on the back and chest of the victims). During an extended battle, shots knock chimps and gorillas off horses and onto the ground and horses are struck and fall dead (we see little blood on apes and horses); the screen fills with smoke and flames as apes ride through shooting weapons (we see a close-up of a dead man on a balcony and his entire face is bloody).
 Humans plant plastic explosives around a tower when a man picks up an assault rifle, points it and tells other men to stop the explosive sequence; one of the other men screams and shouts, picks up the detonator and presses it, filling the scene with rolling flames as the tower crumbles and we see dead chimps lying on beams (no blood is shown); two bands of chimps fight each other in the rubble, punching and shooting and some chimps fall, presumably dead (no blood is seen) and a gorilla carries and drags away injured chimps (no blood is shown). Two chimps have a prolonged fight in a toppled skyscraper, screeching, jumping, roaring, slapping, punching, pounding and using iron rebar as clubs until one chimp falls over a ledge and hangs by one hand; the other chimp grabs the hand, but then drops him and we see the loser shout as he falls through bands of rebar several times and finally thuds to the ground far below, where we cannot see him (he is presumed to be dead). A teen chimp breaks windows out of a prison bus, a dozen prisoner apes rock the bus, break more windows and tip the bus onto its side on top of gun-toting chimps, smashing them (we see no injuries).
 Hunting a herd of elks, a chimp downs his prey with a bolo thrown around its legs (the elk squeals); a teen chimp approaches with a spear when a grizzly bear rushes out, roaring and slashing the chimp on the chest leaving deep red scratches and three larger chimps roar and subdue the bear with one of them jumping on its back and stabbing it with a spear; the bear falls face down, dead, with a little blood showing.
 A power-mad chimp wants to hunt down all humans and destroy them, but the leader of the group refuses; twice, the leader and the chimp have prolonged fights with screeching, slapping, punching, pounding and rolling, but the leader prevails; in one scene, the chimp's face is bloody, as well as the leader's hands. Chimps ride horses and carry spears to a human village in a mall complex where they demand that humans stay away from the chimps' home as people shout from the balconies; one human returns to the chimp's village and two gorillas drag him into the village, slamming him to the ground several times in the mud and rain. Two teen chimps push each other several times and walk back to their village when they encounter a man who pulls a gun in fear and shoots one of the chimps in the shoulder (we see a little blood); other humans come running at the sound of the shot and so do chimps with their leader roaring at the humans to leave the forest. Apes ride horses and march into a city to kill humans using automatic assault rifles as well as spears; alarm sirens sound in the human compound and men and women appear on balconies with assault rifles, shooting at the apes on the ground. A power-mad chimp points a spear at a man until his leader says to drop it. A chimp breaks a glass picture window as he jumps through it and screaming, he leaps onto a table and scares away a man; we hear automatic weapons shooting and humans/apes screaming everywhere and see flames rise to fill the screen. A woman is shown being carried, screaming, slung over the shoulder of a chimp, and a man is shown being dragged away by an ankle. A teen chimp lowers his rifle when he sees a human friend.
 We see a chimp community burned out and left in charred rubble; a chimp's body is found on the ground, bloody around the chest and with eyes open and when the eyes move, he is loaded into a vehicle and taken to a safe house by humans; we hear that he has surgery but we do not see it and after some groaning and coughing in another scene, the chimp is able to get up from a sofa and move around. People use loud explosives to break up rubble inside a dam, but become trapped inside a wall until chimps pull them out (one man has a bloody forehead and bloody leg); the bloody man slaps at a baby chimp who is about to pull a rifle from a suitcase and two larger chimps knock the man down while screaming and toss the rifle into a lake.
 Two montages of past and current global news feature apes developing higher intelligence and spreading a virus (Simian flu) and we hear that the human survival rate was 10%, dropping to 1 in 500 by the end of the decade (we see a sick human infant, sweaty and feverish); the virus resulted from testing an anti-Alzheimer's drug on chimpanzees, the drug acting in such a way as to create a virus deadly to humans, but increasing the intelligence of the apes to humanoid status. About 500 humans live in a decaying mall and government office complex after an epidemic killed most people in the world and we hear that a big fight between apes and humans might wipe out the rest of humanity.
 Humans argue loudly and often and their President shouts over a loudspeaker about destroying the apes north of the city; he shouts, "They're animals; they're not men! We're going to kill every last one of them!" and we see that there is a stockpile of automatic assault rifles, powder kegs, plastic explosives, handguns and tanks in a compound near the city, where men and women go to practice shooting.
 Men laugh as a young chimpanzee picks up an assault rifle, but it shoots the gun and the men shout, running away (no one is harmed). A scene features a chimpanzee sitting in a pile of antelope bones, beating the other bones with a femur, sending them flying and a flashback shows the antelope falling dead (no blood is shown).
 Scenes of martial law show people running and screaming as soldiers brandish rifles. A humanoid ape leads a band of 2,000 chimps, along with an orangutan advisor and a few gorilla bodyguards in a community fort built of logs, with spikes around the top of the main tower. A chimp leader orders humans to turn in their guns and when they do, the chimp breaks many of them and throws the rest into the lake.
 We understand that a chimp suffered through testing of an anti-Alzheimer's drug by humans, and we see him with cuts on the arms, head and face that have left him scarred and having one milky blind eye. A female chimp is understood to be dying after giving birth before a human nurse talks about antibiotics (we don't see them) and the chimp appears well in another scene. After surgery that we hear occurs but do not see, a man and a woman have bloodstained hands and they say the chimp patient will live. We see an antelope skeleton draped in a hairy animal skin along with antelope skulls hanging from a branch.
 A city is shown to have decayed over a decade into vacant, crumbling buildings, masses of wrecked and rusted cars, weed-choked slum-houses and walls full of moss.


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LANGUAGE 5 - At least 1 F-word, 4 scatological terms, 4 anatomical terms, 6 mild obscenities, name-calling (dirty ape, crazy, hippie dippy, ugly, stupid monkey), stereotypical references to men, women, teenagers, ex-military leaders, warmongers, gun owners, apes, tribal cultures, exclamations (shut-up), 4 religious exclamations (Oh My God, Jesus Christ, Holy [scatological term deleted]).


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SUBSTANCE USE - A nurse says that she has antibiotics (we do not see the drugs), and a nurse speaks about an anti-Alzheimer's drug (we do not see it). Two men drink cups of whiskey in a warehouse when a chimp enters and takes the bottle and then drinks some and spits it out. Two men smoke cigarettes in vehicles and another man smokes a cigarette at a desk.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Sentience, drug experiments, animal experimentation, competition for resources, family, community, race relations, xenophobia, gun control, war, revenge, illness, torture, mental illness, death, forgiveness.

MESSAGE - Intelligent species need to work together to preserve the environment and themselves.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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