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Film: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

"Caesar! Love - humans! More! Than apes!"

The 2014 sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes and the second in the new continuity started in that film.

A decade after the Simian Flu wiped out most of humanity, the survivors have tried to hold out and rebuild society. Caesar now leads a community of thousands of apes who hunt, ride horses, wield heavy weaponry, and mostly avoid contact with humans. The peace isn't indefinite, however; Dreyfus, the leader of the human community near Caesar's, wants to leave the apes alone but has to restore electric power for the human community. Wide-Eyed Idealist Malcolm, his family, and one of his friends reach out to Caesar to restore the hydro electric dam and form a strong bond with them, especially Caesar's new family. However, with mounting pressure from Koba whose distrust of humans reached its fever peak, both sides could lose everything...

Andy Serkis reprises his role as Caesar, as do the other actors who portrayed apes in the previous film. Gary Oldman plays Dreyfus, and Jason Clarke plays Malcolm.

Here is the character sheet.

This film provides examples of:

  • Action Dad: Caesar, Malcolm, and Rocket.
  • After the End: Courtesy of the Simian Flu. Unlike the original film series, however, the Earth isn't a post-nuclear wasteland (although one or more plant meltdowns are implied), but a number of the cities instead have become overgrown by plant life due to the near-extinction of the human race.
  • All There in the Manual
    • A series of promotional vignettes were released that chronicle human civilization's downfall in the 10 years leading up to the film, none of which end well. Including an origin story of sorts for a shotgun that Caesar winds up throwing into the river.
    • The prequel novel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Firestorm deals with the early days of the plague and explains how the apes started obtaining food. It also reveals the names of Dreyfus' family members, who are characters in the novel.
    • The novelization explains a bit more about when the death of Alex's mother and the death of Ellie's daughter Sarah took place.
      • Somewhat averted when you take into account the fact that how the apes obtained their own horses is never explained.
  • Anti-Hero: By the end, thanks to both Koba and Dreyfus' actions, Caesar is essentially forced into this position. Given that as much as he sincerely wanted otherwise, he now has to lead the apes to war against humanity.
  • Anti-Villain: Dreyfus isn't really that bad, all things considered. He's open to a peaceful compromise, and simply puts human survival first. The film also shows how much he's lost due to the Simian Flu and overall presents him in a sympathetic light. Even when he finally comes to conflict with Malcolm, it's after the apes have attacked and enslaved humans, and Dreyfus is trying to take them out to save lives. At his worst, he's a Well-Intentioned Extremist performing what is, in his mind, a Heroic Sacrifice.
    • Though we know he has a sadistic streak, Koba starts off this way. At the very least, his years of torture and disfigurement at the hands of humans makes it very easy to see why he doesn't share Caesar's trust, however reluctant, of the human strangers. Ultimately, both he and Dreyfus go off the deep end in their efforts to wipe the opposing faction out.
  • Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: A big part of this film in the same way it was in Battle.
    • Both subverted and played straight as Caesar drops Koba to his death, saying "You are not ape."
  • Apocalypse How: Primarily Class 1-2. The opening scenes show how society fell apart across the world as the Simian Flu spread after the events of the previous film.
  • Apocalyptic Logistics: Ten years have passed and the Humans are still capable of using gasoline. As noted in the real life section of this trope, gas supplies the world over would go bad and become unusable before the end of the first year. Humans have been using Diesel and Gasifiers (gas from wood pyrolysis) for power since the area's nuclear reactors went offline. The story begins with humans seeking out a nearby electrical dam with the hopes of getting it operational before they run out of fuel.
  • Arc Words: "Ape not kill ape."
  • Artistic License - Geography/Artistic License - Engineering: There is no hydroeletric plant in Marin County. And the local rivers allow for reservoir dams, but not energy-producing ones.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • Carver is introduced shooting one of the apes in a panic. Reckless and impulsive sure, but still understandable given the context. He then risks all out war by smuggling in a shotgun when it would do little to stop the apes killing him anyway. Once he starts throwing the deaths of Ellie's daughter and Malcolm's wife in their faces, simply to make a point, he's lost all audience sympathy.
    • Koba, who tried to kill his friend Caesar so he could start a war with the humans and killed numerous other apes while firing blindly in the final battle. You can hardly blame Caesar for dropping him off a tower to his death.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: The apes believe in being led by their strongest. When Koba sees that the apes are faltering under the humans' gunfire, he charges straight at a tank like a badass and manages to rally them.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Caesar focuses his attacks specifically at the new gash on the side of Koba's stomach to take him down.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Apes on horses sure looks intimidating, but prove largely useless in the face of the humans' automatic weapons.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: For one brief shining scene, Caesar's newborn son is able to briefly bring Malcolm's team and the apes together.
  • Badass:
    • Caesar. See above. He's the leader of the apes for a reason.
    • Koba, too. Dual-wielding machine guns from horseback practically instantly qualifies you for this.
  • Badass Grandpa: The four apes returning from the previous film, Maurice and Rocket especially. This doesn't stop them from actively participating in dangerous situations, however.
    • Dreyfuss, who puts up a hell of a defense during Koba's attack, decimating several apes with a rocket launcher.
  • Bastardly Speech: Koba, after the fight with Caesar, tells Blue Eyes that despite having lost his father's trust, he wants Blue Eyes to protect him, even from himself.
  • Bears Are Bad News: One shows up almost out nowhere early in the film and gives Caesar's son Blue Eyes a nice set of scars.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Caesar. He wants to pursue peace with humans, but will fight if he needs to and when pushed too far by Koba, he doesn't hesitate to kill him. To a lesser extent, Maurice. He's a Nice Guy, but he's also huge and will end you if you've become a threat.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Briefly exhibited by Koba when attempting to steal weapons from the humans. Here's a helpful tip of advice; if a violent, intelligent, species of Ape infiltrates your facility and starts to act like a circus animal, something is clearly not right and you probably shouldn't let it sit down next to you, nor should leave a sub-machine gun within its reach.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Dreyfus serves as the main human villain, while Koba is the ape Big Bad.
    • Eviler than Thou: Koba however is definitely the larger threat. Dreyfus would've been willing to let the apes be, if they had allowed the humans to repair the hydroelectric dam. He only began arming his men up in case the apes didn't agree to allow this. Koba views this as them preparing for an attack regardless, and attempts to assassinate Caesar, both to assume leadership himself and justify an attack on the humans.
  • Big "NO!": Koba lets out one as he falls to his apparent death.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: When Malcolm leads Blue Eyes back to the house where Caesar is recovering from his gunshot wound, Caesar and Blue Eyes have a long conversation where Caesar mostly speaks broken English, but Blue Eyes sticks with his native ASL.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Koba won't be a problem anymore and Malcolm and Caesar's families are safe, but thanks to Koba's actions, a war between humans and apes is approaching, with the former not likely to trust the apes anytime soon or ever again for that matter.
  • Blatant Lies: Koba claims Carver shot Caesar, and declares himself leader to avenge Caesar, brainwashing Blue Eyes in the process.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: So, what about that army that is coming by the end of the film? Can the apes stand against them? Will they survive the fight? Probably yes, but we'll have to wait for the next installment to know about how it turns out.
  • Book Ends: The first proper image we see in the film is a close-up on Caesar's eyes during the hunt, prepared to lead the apes in their latest mission. The same occurs at the end, only now Caesar is prepared to lead his people to war with humanity.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Save for Koba (who also makes some good points early on), both the humans and apes are just trying to survive. The humans want to rebuild civilization while the apes want to thrive in theirs and neither really want a war. Neither have much reason to trust the other side either and have all rights to make efforts to protect themselves. Overall, it depicts the good and peaceful intentions of a reasonable many, being sunk by the ill-actions of an unreasonable few.
  • Bottomless Magazines/More Dakka: Somewhat justified in that there's a stockpile of weapons and ammo readily available. One which the apes under Koba's command willingly exploit. Less justified is the matter of the apes never once being seen reloading after all the wild firing.
  • Call Back: The scene where Koba is about to fall and Caesar stands over him, undecided to take him or let him fall, is similar to a scene that took place in the first film... only that Koba is now at the other side of the bottomless fall.
  • The Cameo/Posthumous Character: Will Rodman cameos in an old video Caesar finds.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: Played with. The military reinforcements Dreyfus called in after restoring radio contact are implied to be coming against the apes in the ending. They're just too late to save Dreyfus from killing himself.
  • Continuity Snarl: The Simian Flu website originally said that 2013 was the year in which the virus began spreading. It was later changed to 2011. Then said that Dawn takes place 2026 and 10 years after Rise. Then Motherboard's Before The Dawn shorts contained text saying that Simian Flu began 2011. Adding 10 years would place Dawn in 2021. And if you thought that that was not bad enough, the novelization says that Simian Flu began in 2012, which would place the story in 2022! All that's known for certain is that the Simian Flu had to start by 2016-among the scenes in the opening credits is American president Barack Obama addressing the nation regarding the flu and he will be out of office by 2017.
  • Cool Old Guy: Maurice.
  • Cross-Cast Role: Actress Karin Konoval reprises her role as male Bornean orangutan Maurice.
  • Crusading Widower: Both Malcomlm and Dreyfuss. The former has a dead wife, while the latter has a dead family. Both caused by the outbreak.
  • Darker and Edgier: When a movie's premise is entirely because of a virus that wiped out the majority of mankind, it definitely qualifies as this.
  • Decomposite Character: Blue Eyes and Ash are based off of Caesar's son, Cornelius, from Battle For The Planet Of The Apes. Blue Eyes because he is Caesar's son, and Ash because he is the young ape who is killed by Caesar's treacherous commander.
  • Demoted to Extra: Maurice and Rocket's role are notably smaller than in the first film.
  • Disney Villain Death: Koba. Also counts as Death by Irony since he died similarly to Jacobs, the man he hates, in the first film; he also killed Blue Eyes' best friend, Ash, in a similar fashion.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Caesar is thought to have died by most of the apes after Koba shoots him to frame the humans. His return to confront Koba is treated with almost religious awe. Additionally, Koba's shooting Caesar, destroying the ape colony and framing the humans to start a war bears similarities to conspiracy theories around 9/11 and the second Gulf War.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Will and Caroline were referred to as "ground zero" of the Simian Flu. It was all of San Francisco actually, and the specific fates of those two is not brought up.
  • Dying Like Animals: The film and the supplementary material suggest that those who didn't die from the Simian Flu were killed by bandits and other desperate survivors as society collapsed.
  • Environmental Symbolism: The sun is rising in the final scene of the movie.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: In the end, it was not a human who shot the ape leader and started a bloody war, it was a fellow ape. Bonus for being a trope used against one who is called Caesar.
  • Evil Mentor: Caesar's son Blue Eyes seems to look up to Koba, leaning more towards his view of humans than his father's. Until Koba kills Ash, which makes Blue Eyes see him for what he really is.
  • Expy: Several of them.
    • Koba is essentially like Aldo from Battle since he wants to kill Caesar and the humans.
    • Maurice the orangutan teaches young apes much like how Virgil the orangutan taught other apes in Battle.
  • Facial Markings: Caesar and the chimps who go hunting and confront the humans.
  • False Flag Operation: Koba attempts to assassinate Caesar with a rifle, both so he can assume leadership himself, and use the assassination (as well as starting a fire to burn down the ape colony) to motivate the apes into all-out war with the humans.
  • Five-Man Band: Comes in two sets.
    • The Apes
      • The Leader: Caesar, obviously.
      • The Lancer: Blue Eyes, Caesar's son who always questions his decisions. Rocket, Caesar's Lancer in the first film, is Demoted to Extra and doesn't fit any particular role in this film.
      • The Big Guy/Token Evil Teammate: Koba, who only wants to wage war against the humans at all costs.
      • The Smart Guy: Maurice. While Caesar is more or less one of the more intellectually gifted apes, Maurice is the teacher and the one with curiosity, as well as being the most Genre Savvy to an extent.
      • The Chick: Cornelia, Caesar's wife and Blue Eyes' mother who only serves to give them comfort.
    • The Humans
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: Heard just after Koba shoots Caesar. Then again when Caesar fights Koba on the tower.
  • Get Out: Caesar's "GO!" After Ash is shot early on.
  • Good Parents: Caesar and Cornelia to their two sons, even though Blue Eyes and Caesar disagree throughout the story.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: There's really barely a single wholly unsympathetic character in the movie. Out of the film's main antagonists, Dreyfus is more misguided and ill-informed than malicious and Koba has a solid Freudian Excuse for hating the humans and fearing what they could do if given too much lenience. Even Carver, the Jerk Ass who accidentally kicks of the hostilities with his bad behaviour, is clearly acting more out of fear and misplaced blame than malice or sadism.
  • Guns Akimbo: Koba, who wields both a machine gun and an assault rifle when he leads the assault on the compound.
  • Gunboat Diplomacy: Caesar utilizes this when informing the humans that he doesn't want war... with about a couple hundred apes armed to the teeth right behind him.
  • Happily Married: Caesar has a wife and two children, one of them newborn.
  • Headbutt of Love: The ape equivalent of a hug. Caesar and his wife have a moment, as well as Koba and Blue Eyes after Koba's attempted murder of Caesar. Malcolm and Caesar also share one at the end as a symbol of their friendship.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: In the beginning, when all the apes thought humans were dead or gone, Koba was loyal and friendly - he had a Big Damn Heroes moment in the beginning of the film, and even reassured Blue Eyes after that scars "make you strong."
  • Hero Antagonist: Both Caesar and Malcolm fulfill this role in relation to the other group, though reluctantly due to having to deal with the horrific actions of their respective groups. Neither group is treated as homogeneously good or evil.
  • Hope Spot: After the power has been restored to the city and Cornelia cured by Ellie, there is a serene moment where Caesar embraces his family while the humans watch the city lights with tears in their eyes... then Koba shoots Caesar, frames the humans and everything goes downhill after that. Also counts as Mood Whiplash.
    • This movie is a whole string of hope spots. Caeser's young son starts to bond with Malcolm's crew only to discover Carver's shotgun. Near the end of the movie Caesar has Koba on the ropes and it looks like there may be a chance for peace, but then it turns out Dreyfus already made the call for military intervention and pulls the trigger on the tower the apes are standing on.
  • Hulk Speak: More of the apes have developed this, though they're growing out of it, as Koba proves.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Averted. Unlike its predecessor, the humans are just trying to survive in harsh environment. Instead it's Koba, one of the apes, who proves to the be the real monster, trying to kill Caesar and burning down the apes' home to start a war with the humans. However, it is noted that even though paranoid people like Carver blame the apes for the Simian Flu, humans are the ones who made the drug causing it and humanity subsequently tore itself asunder without any help from the apes.
  • Hurricane of Puns: With Michael Giacchino on scoring duties, the soundtrack album has this in spades - the very first track is called "Level Plaguing Field," and he's off to the races ("Caesar No Evil, Hear No Evil," "Monkey See, Monkey Coup," and so on right up to "Ain't That A Stinger").
  • Hypocrite: Koba. He insists on leaving female and young apes at home, but has no problem attacking human women and children. Even more hypocritical: despite having murdered Ash for not finishing off a human, tries to remind Caesar that "ape not kill ape".
    • In the novelization, he says, "Ape will not kill ape," but it is described as a taunt.
  • Idiot Ball: Really, what else can you say when Caesar clearly sees Koba pointing a gun at him for 5-10 seconds and doesn't even say anything?
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Maurice with Alexander.
  • It Can Think: Ten years after the apes first began showing their evolving intelligence, Dreyfus and many of the survivors apparently haven't realized this yet. Possibly justified, as the opening news montage suggests that the humans viewed the apes' actions in the last movie as them just being more aggressive, rather than smarter. There's also the fact that apes did their best to avoid human contact.
    Dreyfus: They're just a bunch of apes!
    Malcolm: (regarding the Gunship Diplomacy) Do they look like 'just a bunch of apes' to you?
  • Jerkass: Carver, who's easily the most unlikeable of the human characters.
  • Karmic Death: Koba is dropped to his death by Caesar (whom he betrayed), in an echo of how he killed Ash earlier.
    • It's also an echo of how Koba killed Steven Jacobs who asked for help when trapped in the helicopter wreckage in the previous movie.
  • Kneel Before Frodo: In the end of the movie, all the apes kneel before their leader, offering their hand.
  • Kneel Before Zod: Of course, Caesar is a Hero Antagonist rather than a villain; but Malcolm was forced to this when he got into the forest.
  • Last Of Their Kind: The human survivors believe themselves to be this initially, as do the apes. Averted later on however, when Dreyfus reveals that he was able to contact a military base for reinforcements.
  • Meaningful Name:
  • The Mentor: Maurice, not only to Caesar, but to the humans who visit their camp as well.
  • Misblamed: In-Universe. Carver blames the apes for the spreading the virus, despite the fact that the virus was man-made, and the apes barely had anything to do with its spread.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Koba, when caught by two soldiers with rifles during his infiltration of the human armory, stands tall, poses aggressively, and breathes in dramatically... Only to follow it up with a raspberry and typical "stupid chimp" behavior. It allows him to fool the guards and make it out unscathed.
    • Later, this gets turned on its head. When Koba was doing the playful chimp routine for the two gunmen, the audience laughed it up just as much as the two men in the movie. But when the men were off guard, allowing Koba to grab a gun and kill them, everybody instantly stopped laughing.
  • Morality Kitchen Sink: Initially Good Versus Good, the humans and apes both want to make sure that they can survive and both have legitimate reasons to fear each other. Koba vs Dreyfus is Black and Grey Morality the forming instigating a war solely out his hate for humans and even the lives of his own kind mean little to him, while the latter feels that the apes have crossed the line and need to die for the better of humanity. Caesar vs Koba is Black and White Morality.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Played completely straight, as simply seeing the lights back on and hearing music for the first time in years really elicits a reaction from the human survivors.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • If one looks carefully during the "school" scenes in the trailers, an orangutan points to laws written on the wall that were part of the original series. In particular, "Ape not kill ape" proves to be Arc Words as much as they were back then.
    • One can also spot the "home" symbol scrawled onto a rock. It ends up reappearing when Blue Eyes uses it as a code when he frees the captive apes.
    • The fact that the apes are beginning to use firearms is also a nod to the original series.
    • Also the fact that apes are moving into the city to dominate humans.
    • Malcolm may be named after Malcolm Mac Donald from Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. Like MacDonald, he is a human who wishes for apes and humans to coexist peacefully.
    • Caesar's son is named Blue Eyes, a nickname Zira gave Bill Hudson in the Return to the Planet of the Apes. Patterned after Taylor's nickname Bright Eyes, also the name of his late grandmother, Bright Eyes, from Rise.
    • Blue Eyes' life being threatened first by a bear and then by an armed Carver could make viewers who have seen Battle for the Planet of the Apes feel nervous about the fate of the character since Caesar's son Cornelius dies in Battle.
      • Before he dies in Battle, Cornelius asks Caesar, "Will I be malformed?" In this movie, Blue Eyes is scarred by a bear.
    • Caesar nearly beating Carver with a shotgun before Malcolm says "No" echoes the ending of Conquest, during which Caesar nearly allows the apes to beat humans to death with guns before Lisa says "No." Caesar also seems offended by the fact that he received that response, which echoes Aldo being offended by the word in Battle.
    • Caesar shedding a tear when he remembers Koba shooting him could be a reference to the closing shot of Battle, in which the statue of Caesar sheds a tear.
    • Caesar looking at a video of Will Rodman, his adoptive father, in his house in San Francisco mirrors Caesar going to the Forbidden City in Battle, where he sees images of his birth parents, Cornelius and Zira, accompanied by audio.
    • The sight of the city on fire may remind viewers of a similar sight in Conquest.
    • The railroad in the tunnel beneath the tower may remind viewers of the railroad in the tunnel leading to the mutants in Beneath the Planet of the Apes.
    • Dreyfus detonating the explosives on the tower is reminiscent of Taylor detonating (albeit by accident) the Alpha-Omega bomb in Beneath.
    • Koba being called ugly could be a reference to Zira calling Taylor ugly in the 1968 film.
    • Koba trying to kill Caesar mirrors what Aldo planned to do in Battle.
    • Caesar grabbing Koba's palm before letting him fall to his apparent death is reminiscent of Caesar grabbing Aldo's palm and doing the same thing in Battle.
    • The shot of Koba riding a horse looks nearly identical to the shot of Aldo riding a horse in the beginning of Battle.
    • The closing shot zooming in on Caesar's eyes looks nearly identical to the closing shot of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes.
    • Koba and his followers put the humans in cages, just like the apes in the original film.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailers make it look like Caesar is the one leading the assault on the humans, and Dreyfus to be a genocidal madman, when in fact it's Koba attacking the humans after usurping control from Caesar, while Dreyfus is only acting in self-defense.
    • Additionally, the posters show that the Golden Gate Bridge has been blown apart. That never happens.
  • No Endor Holocaust: It is very vaguely suggested that there were possible nuclear meltdowns happening across the world as the nuclear reactors no longer had enough personnel to keep them operating or to safely shut them down. This means that large parts of the world may be irradiated with fallout. None of that has any bearing on the setting of this film, but it is acknowledged that the human settlement no longer has nuclear power to rely upon.
  • No FEMA Response: Averted, with the opening showing attempts by the authorities to contain the Simian Flu. In the movie itself, some of those efforts like checkpoints and weapon caches can still be seen amidst the ruins. Society collapsed anyway although the presence of at least one military base implies that some semblance of order exists outside of San Francisco.
  • No True Scotsman: Caesar uses this when killing Koba.
    Koba: Ape not kill ape.
    Caesar: ...You are not ape.
    • Given how Koba tried to assassinate Caesar and murdered Ash, this trope holds more weight than it normally does.
  • Not So Different: Humans and apes are shown to be this throughout the film. Caesar admits Koba's actions showed him just how much alike they are.
    Caesar: Good, bad. Doesn't matter now. Humans destroyed each other.
    Maurice: Apes fight too.
  • Number Two: Koba, Rocket and Maurice serve as Caesar's right-hand apes, but after Koba's betrayal, Blue Eyes takes up the role. Also, Malcolm to Dreyfus.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Koba pretends to still be a simple-minded chimp when cornered by a couple of humans with guns, so that they'll let him go, and does it again later so that he can get close enough to grab one of their guns and kill them with it.
  • The Obi-Wan: Besides Maurice, Caesar is also this to his apes. The director noted that Caesar has a unique perspective because he has seen and knows of the good in humans, but also the bad; compared to those like Koba who suffered nothing but cruelty from humans all their life, or the new generation of apes that was born into the post-Simian Flu world, and only knows that humans are a plausible outside threat.
  • Oh Crap:
    • The human characters get this upon seeing hearing Caesar speak. They're also shocked upon realizing that the apes can use guns.
    • Caesar has one as well upon seeing Koba with a rifle just before he's shot.
    • Koba has also one when he realizes at the end of the film that Ceasar is just about to let him fall to his death.
  • Only One Name: None of the human characters in Malcolm's family have their last names revealed. The other human characters are only referred to by their surnames. Not even the novelization reveals any full names.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Ellie lost her daughter to the outbreak. Ditto for Dreyfus, who lost his two kids. Also Rocket after Koba kills his son Ash.
  • Passing the Torch: What the symbolism of the ending suggests. Malcolm slowly disappears into a dark doorway and isn't there when Caesar turns around. Then the light of a rising sun falls on Caesar as he is surrounded and paid tribute by his apes. It strongly implies that humanity is finished as the dominant species of the Earth, and that the apes led by Caesar will become the new epoch.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The ultimate failing of both sides despite Caesar's and Malcolm's best efforts. If Caesar, after First Contact, had sent a few apes along with himself to the Human settlement, a dialogue could have happened. Instead, he showed how strong they are. If Dreyfus was willing to listen to Malcolm and give him a chance, the war could have been entirely avoided. Koba uses all of this to his advantage to usurp control over the ape colony and gain weapons.
    • Surprisingly even Malcolm is guilty of this. Instead of explaining to Dreyfus that Caesar is trying to regain control from Koba, Malcolm suddenly pulls a gun on Dreyfus and gives such an incoherent explanation for why Dreyfus literally has to ask who he is talking about. Of course Dreyfus might not have listened anyway (despite being willing to give Malcolm's peace expedition a go in the first place) but Malcolm didn't help his case.
    • Poor Malcolm is one of the worst at this, which is justified to an extent. He's been through a lot, and he's not a diplomat. He gets noticeably flustered and incoherent when under stress. He can't say anything during the first confrontation with the apes, techobabbles his initial pitch for the dam, fails to apologize quickly enough when one of their team starts causing trouble...
    • Koba himself is guilty of this, yelling at Caesar instead of giving him the intel that the humans are arming themselves. One can only wonder how Caesar might have reacted to the news; it might have worsened his trust of the humans, but would have likely avoided Koba Jumping Off the Slippery Slope.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "Ape not kill ape." "You are no ape."
  • Product Placement: A few here and there. Notably Dreyfus' tablet, which turns out to be an iPad.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Most of the ape speech. Then again, given their vocal chords are not as controllable as the human ones, it strikes as an attempt at realism in what is already Artistic License - Biology.
  • Ragnarok-Proofing: While everything looks worse for wear 10 years after the Simian Flu broke out, with whole cities covered with greenery and rust, the stuff humans have managed to maintain seemed to have fared pretty well. Even the camera Will Rodman left behind in his old house functions well enough.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Dreyfus and Carver basically operate on this, as they both blame the apes for the deaths of their families and the rest of humanity.
  • Rousing Speech: Dreyfus does this when getting everyone behind his plan to reclaim the dam's power, saying that his group of survivors seeks to reclaim the world they've lost. Later, when the apes start invading, he declares that they are survivors, and the apes can't hope to compare to that.
  • Red Oni/Blue Oni: Caesar is the blue to Koba's red.
  • Scenery Porn: The forest in particular.
    • Scenery Gorn: Even the environs of the semi-ruined city looks gorgeous.
  • Serkis Folk: The man himself plays Caesar, so this trope will apply for the whole series.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shout-Out to Shakespeare: Caesar falling after getting shot by Koba may remind Shakespeare fans of Julius Caesar, in which Caesar gets stabbed by his best friend Brutus, causing him to say, "Et tu, Brute? Then fall Caesar."
  • Shown Their Work: Early on, Caesar is able to protect his kin from a bear by standing in place as high as he can and screaming loudly. This is the first thing a person should do if they encounter a bear or any other large animal in the wild, before backing away slowly in the same position.
    • As in the first film, non-speaking apes use American Sign Language, and do so proficiently enough that ASL-speaking audience members have been able to interpret what they say (sign). Likewise, the few apes who use verbal speech still exhibit ASL grammar.
  • Slasher Smile: When Koba smiles, it's typically a terrifying, fanged leer.
  • The Stinger: Not an actual scene, but chimp noises can be heard at the very end of the credits. Namely, a chimp gasping for breath as it sifts through rubble, implying Koba survived.
    • The epilogue of the novelization contains what was presumably meant to be this. A ship sails under the Golden Gate Bridge. The captain looks up at the tower and sees Caesar and the apes. Caesar waits to see who will make the first move.
    • Sequel Hook: Again, the implication that Koba is Not Quite Dead carries a lot of potential as to where the franchise is headed.
  • Storming the Castle: The ape assault on the human tower is essentially this. The apes take a lot of casualties since the humans are fighting from cover against an open-air cavalry charge, but the apes turn the tide once they can get past the initial blockade.
  • Take My Hand: After all the things he had done, Koba was left in this predicament, with Caesar undecided to save him or not.
  • Time Skip: A decade-long one, since the ALZ-113 virus became known as the Simian Flu and claimed its first victim, Hunsiker.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Koba, far more so than the last film. Over the course of the film, he becomes a full-blown villain.
  • Trailers Always Spoil:
    • "War... has already... begun" is one of the main highlights of all the trailers for the movie. This was already a bit of a Foregone Conclusion though, considering it's no secret that this whole movie series is a remake of the original classic.
    • Caesar saw his former master in a recorded video, and said he was a good man. In the movie, Koba shoots him, and that scene had not happened yet, so it could be suspected that Caesar had somehow survived his attack.
  • Undying Loyalty: Maurice, Rocket, Ash and several others to Caesar. It gets them locked up (and in Ash's case, killed) by Koba when he takes control.
  • The Unfettered: Koba. Not only is he willing to kill other apes and burn their home down to start a war, the number of apes that die fighting doesn't even faze him.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Koba loses it during his final fight with Caesar, ultimately opening fire wildly at anything that moves with a machine gun, not seeming to care he kills other apes while trying to kill Caesar.
    • Dreyfus, for a given definition of villain, seems to snap after the ape attack on the colony, becoming determined to collapse the tower (which would have presumably killed many of the humans being held captive if fully successful), and setting off the explosives even when he knows he'll be killed.
  • Villainous Valor: Say what you will about Koba, but he charges a tank while unarmoured and on horseback...and wins.
  • Villains Want Mercy: Koba tries to remind Caesar that "Ape not kill ape," (an astonishing display of hypocrisy given what he did to Ash, tried to do to Caesar, and didn't care about doing to the onlookers during his fight with the latter), but it doesn't work.
  • The War Has Just Begun: Caesar regretfully tells this to Malcolm, knowing that even with Koba dead, the humans will not forgive the apes for starting a war even if some apes came to their rescue.
  • War Is Hell: Caesar is very aware of this trope, knowing that war with humans will lead to many apes dying. When Koba does attack the human's colony, even with their stolen guns many of the apes still die.
  • War On Terror: Dreyfus is subtly shown to be a veteran of either Iraq or Afghanistan. He's quite familiar with military tech and weapons as well as battle, he's the right agenote , and when he turns on his tablet after power is restored, one of the first pictures that comes up is of a group of soldiers, presumably him and his unit.
  • We Could Have Avoided All This: If Carver didn't shoot Ash, or Caesar at least demanding the humans treat the wound, the entire conflict could have been avoided.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Koba and Dreyfus. Both legitimately want their people to survive, but it's offset by the fact that they believe their species to be superior to the other, which drives them to extremes. Dreyfus was a little more desperate though: He was willing to blow up the supports of the tower in the human settlement and let it's ensuing collapse to take out all the apes at once.
    • Koba at least seemed to be this in the beginning. Up until his and Caesar's first major fight, his paranoia towards the humans due to his own torture and abuse at their hands, seemed genuinely to be for Caesar's sake, as he was shown to have a great deal of respect for him. However, after Caesar beats him for insulting him and his ideals, Koba's path darkens exponentially and he instead begins to seek out total control.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The humans captured by Koba and subsequently set free are never seen again after that point.
  • You Can Talk?: At first, it's clear that the humans think the apes are just animals, and then Caesar bellows out, "Go"!
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Caesar makes a brief visit to his old house from the previous film. Of course, it's a ruin, and his former master is long dead.
    • Exploited by Koba. He uses a lighter to set fire to the ape's home colony, blaming the humans for this and shooting Caesar. Without their home and their beloved leader to go back on, he manipulates them into going to war.

Rise of the Planet of the ApesScience Fiction FilmsPrometheus
Rise of the Planet of the ApesFilms of the 2010sPokémon

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