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Film / Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

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

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is the 2014 sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the second in the new continuity started in that film directed by Matt Reeves, and also a loose remake of Battle for the Planet of the Apes much as Rise is one of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes.

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 via a hydroelectric dam smack dab in the apes' territory. Wide-Eyed Idealist Malcolm, his family, and one of his friends reach out to Caesar to restore the 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 Karin Konoval as Maurice and Terry Notary as Rocket. Toby Kebbell portrays Koba, while Judy Greer plays Caesar's mate Cornelia, and Nick Thurston plays her and Caesar's son Blue Eyes. Gary Oldman plays Dreyfus, and Jason Clarke plays Malcolm.

The film received a novelization; a prequel novel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Firestorm; a prequel comic mini-series; and a one-shot comic, Contagion. Downloadable Content revolving around the Simian Flu was released for Plague Inc. in 2014 to promote the upcoming film.

Confident in this film, 20th Century Fox fast-tracked a sequel, and War for the Planet of the Apes, again directed by Reeves, released July 14th, 2017.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 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. It also explores Koba's Dark and Troubled Past.
    • 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.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The apes, led by Koba, assault the human colony and successfully take it over despite massive casualties, forcing Dreyfus and his men to flee underground.
  • Animal Testing: Koba's Freudian Excuse for hating humans so much.
  • 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.
  • Ascended Extra: Koba is far more prominent in this film than the previous one, becoming the Big Bad.
  • Arc Words:
    • "Ape not kill ape."
    • Carried over from the last movie, "apes together strong."
  • Artistic License – Geography: There is no hydroelectric 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.
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: 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.
    Caesar: Apes always seek strongest branch.
  • Attack the Injury: Caesar focuses his attacks specifically at the new gash on the side of Koba's stomach to take him down.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Koba attacks the gunner standing in the open turret hatch of the armoured vehicle.
  • A-Team Firing: Justified; the apes can just about learn how to hold guns before declaring war on the human settlement, and all they can manage is some poor suppressive fire. The humans regroup and show them how awesome real accuracy is.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Battering Ram: The apes and gorillas are shown using the handheld version, only to leap out of the way when Koba comes riding up on a runaway armoured vehicle. The steel doors come crashing down under the impact, and the human defenses quickly fall once the numerically superior apes swarm inside.
  • Bears Are Bad News: One shows up almost out nowhere early in the film and gives Caesar's son Blue Eyes a nice (and helpfully recognizable) 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 "NO!": Koba lets out one as he falls to his 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.
    • All of the scenes where the apes sign is this. Some of it, you can get an idea of what is being said; but there is a lot of important information that is missed because of this.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Caesar regains control over the ape colony, Koba and Dreyfus are both dead and the fighting has been halted. However, their actions have resulted in lack of trust between the two camps and soldiers are now heading to the apes, meaning a war between the two species is fast approaching.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: Koba vs Dreyfus. At the point they start their conflict Koba has lost all sympathetic qualities, while Dreyfus is an Anti-Villain Well-Intentioned Extremist who only did the bad things because Koba destroyed any chance at peace.
  • Black-and-White Morality: By the end of the film, Koba is now nothing more than a warmongering tyrant while Caesar is the Big Good.
  • 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 you'll have to watch War for the Planet of the Apes to find 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 hunt. 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: 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, and reloading can be just as complicated an action as firing to a novice.
  • 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.
    • Furthermore, when Koba picks up a metal bar to attack Caesar with, the shot mirrors Caesar's confrontation with Dodge and his cattleprod from Rise, complete with Caesar clenching his fist in preparation.
    • In Rise, Charles Rodman recites a quote from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar when he first meets Caesar, specifically the one where everyone kneels down before the titular character. At the end of the film, the apes do just that.
  • The Cameo: 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.
  • Colonel Badass: Koba is somewhere between this and Leeroy Jenkins. His charge into gunfire rallies the apes and allows them to take the human compound.
  • 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 (the year Rise was released). 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.
  • Covers Always Lie: The cover shows Caesar on horseback, rallying an ape army and carrying a gun in his hand. In the actual movie, it's Koba who does this and it's not triumphant or heroic at all.
  • Cross-Cast Role: Actress Karin Konoval reprises her role as male Bornean orangutan Maurice.
  • Crusading Widow: Both Malcolm and Dreyfus. 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.
  • Dark Is Evil: Koba's face is much darker than the other apes (because he's a bonobo).
  • 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 roles 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 in this film.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The two guards are kind of assholes, repeatedly calling Koba "stupid", and obviously only seeing him as an animal not worthy of much respect. Still not deserving of being gunned down, though.
  • 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.
  • Doomed by Canon: Caesar and Malcolm’s attempts to establish a working peace between the two sides are destined to fail, as is Dreyfus’ last-ditch attempt to blow up the apes.
  • Downer Ending: Though Koba and Dreyfus are both dead and the fighting has been halted, their actions have resulted in lack of trust between the two camps and soldiers are now heading to the apes, meaning a war between the two species is fast approaching.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Will and Caroline apparently died between the two films.
  • 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 points 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 and is the first ape to violate Ape Shall Not Kill Ape.
    • Maurice the orangutan teaches young apes, much like how Virgil the orangutan taught other apes in Battle.
    • Malcolm, being Caesar's main human ally, resembles MacDonald (although their relationship is different), while the paranoid human leader Dreyfus resembles Kolp.
    • Cornelia is a pretty clear stand-in for Lisa, Caesar's wife in Battle. Likewise, their son Blue Eyes is basically Battle's Cornelius.
    • Luca the gorilla is a downplayed example. Despite being a gorilla who is fiercely loyal to Caesar and one of his highest ranking apes (note his presence in the ape council), he has much less screen time and development as Buck from the previous film.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Go Through Me: After Koba goes to the dam the humans are trying to repair under the supervision of the apes, he angrily demands to speak to Caesar about how he saw the humans stockpiling guns and ammo from an old munitions' dump. When he sees Alex, Koba tosses him onto the ground and Malcolm rushes to to shield his son from the murderous ape. As Koba, the much stronger bonobo, closes in to beat them to death, Maurice, the even bigger and stronger orangutan, defiantly stands in front of Malcolm and Alex, causing Koba to back down.
  • Good Parents: Caesar and Cornelia to their two sons, even though Blue Eyes and Caesar disagree throughout the story.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Koba still has his nightmarish scars from the previous film, and Caesar's son Blue Eyes gets slashed by a bear early on, leaving him with recognizable scars. Koba tells Blue Eyes "Scars make you strong," and Blue Eyes' whole arc in the film is basically deciding if his scars are Good or Evil.
  • Good vs. Good: Malcolm and Caesar are both genuinely nice, caring leaders, and it’s impossible to hate either side of their diplomatic conflict.
  • 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, until he goes off the deep end later when he doesn't hesitate to kill other apes. Even Carver, the Jerkass who accidentally kicks off the hostilities with his bad behavior, 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, to drive home the "but will fight if we must" follow-up.
  • Happily Married: Caesar has a wife and two children, one of them newborn.
  • Hate Sink:
    • Carver is clearly meant to be the character we hate in order to make every other character look sympathetic in comparison.
  • 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." He eventually becomes just as bad as the worst of the humans he hates.
  • 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.
  • Hollywood Tactics: The apes begin their attack on the surviving humans by charging down a narrow street, thickly packed together and making no effort to seek cover. Though they do eventually succeed in capturing the humans, they take heavy casualties in the process.
    • Justified in that they're led by an ape who, even at his most reasonable, was willing to risk ape lives if it meant opposing humans; and after his beating from Caesar, cares for nothing but himself and his hate and will now gladly take ape lives for the chance to murder and torment humans. Also serving to contrast his leadership with Caesar's, who always favors a tactical approach over the Zerg Rush. And, as mentioned above, they do take several losses in the process and almost lose not once, but twice, only managing to push through thanks to Koba's unquestionable badassery.
  • 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 Bastards: 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.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Deconstructed. The apes mostly view humans as this (save for Caesar, though even he admits that he thinks apes are superior). But most of the human characters are good people or just trying to survive, and a big part of Caesar’s Character Development is realizing that apes and humans can actually be just as bad as each other.
  • 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 hypocritically, despite having murdered Ash for not finishing off a human and gunned down another ape just for being in the way, he 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.
      • Part of the reason Koba despises humanity is because they once kept him locked up inside a cage. That doesn't stop him from putting his fellow apes in a cage, just because they wouldn't support his violent behavior.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Maurice with Alexander.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Both Koba and Caesar try to engage in this in their climatic duel, but Caesar is the one who succeeds by saying "Koba belongs in cage". Noticeably, Koba becomes much more aggressive after hearing that, allowing Caesar to go past his guard and take advantage of his wound, evening the playing field, and eventually regaining the full advantage.
  • 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.
    Carver: They're apes, man, you think they understand what you're saying?
    Malcolm: (looking at Caesar) Do they look like "just apes" to you?
  • Jerkass:
    • Carver, who's easily the most unlikeable of the human characters.
    • Koba becomes more and more of a cruel, uncaring bastard as the movie goes on.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Before he Jumps Off The Slippery Slope, Koba does make a pretty good point about the humans. Once the humans regain electricity, reconnect with other human outposts, and begin rebuilding their society, how long does Caesar think the humans will allow a civilization of intelligent apes to survive? Even if it takes a century, conflict between apes and humans seems inevitable. It was probably better for the apes to strike first while they had the advantage.
  • 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.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Koba becomes the most frightening and monstrous character in not only this movie, but the entire trilogy.
  • Kubrick Stare: The opening and concluding shots of the movie are of Caesar doing one.
  • 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.
  • Let's Fight Like Apes: Koba throws aside his rifle to take on Caesar, after the latter taunts him about it. Justified given that he can see Caesar is still weak, and the ape society's emphasis on their leader having physical strength. However, Koba quickly picks up a wound that makes him vulnerable.
  • Meaningful Name:
  • The Mentor: Maurice, not only to Caesar, but to the humans who visit their camp as well.
  • Mighty Whitey: While Caesar fits the Noble Savage archetype, Malcolm is a subversion of Mighty Whitey. Malcolm becomes greatly enamored with the ape civilization, but he never becomes its savior. Malcolm always maintains a certain subservient role to Caesar, and the humans never pose an immediate threat to the apes, despite Koba's fears. And though Ellie provides medical service to both Caesar and Cornelia, the humans are not generally treated as culturally or technologically superior. In fact, Caesar’s ultimate realization is that apes are similar to humans rather than superior.
  • Misblamed: In-Universe. Carver (and as revealed in the prequel novel the vast majority of humanity) blame the apes for humanity's downfall, despite the known fact that the virus that nearly wiped them out was man-made, and the apes barely had anything to do with its spread.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • When Koba is discussing Caesar's deal with the humans, Caesar says to let the people do their "human work". Koba laughs it up and repeats "human work" in a goofy tone of voice. While still smiling, he points to one of his scars and repeats "human work". He then stops laughing as he points to more of his scars, repeating "human work" in gradually harsher and angrier tones of voice.
    • 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. As Koba does the "playful chimp" routine for two gunmen, they laugh it up. However, while they're off guard, Koba grabs a rifle from them, which understandably puts them on edge. He continues blithely playing around with it for a moment...and then guns both men down, with a sadistic smile on his face.
  • 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 former instigating a war solely out of 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: Has its own page.
  • 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-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Caesar to Koba when the latter accuses him of loving humans more than apes.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Downplayed in an early scene in which Caesar and Maurice discuss the humans. Maurice notes that it's been ten years since they've settled down, and as there's been no sightings of any humans in the last two years, Maurice believes they're all gone. They're proven wrong not long afterward.
  • No True Scotsman: Caesar uses this philosophy when killing Koba.
    Koba: Ape not kill ape.
    Caesar: ... You are not ape.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Caesar admits that Koba's actions showed him just how much alike humans and apes are.
    Caesar: I chose to trust him, because he is ape. I always think ape better than human, I see now how much like them we are.
  • 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.
  • 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 that Caesar 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.
    • The apes don't seem to have developed the concept of a surname yet.
  • 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.
  • Out of the Inferno: Koba leaps through the flames on horseback, firing SAW's Guns Akimbo.
  • 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 rule 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.
    • 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, technobabbles 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.
    • When one team member is discovered to have brought a shotgun against the apes demands, the humans don't rough him up or otherwise make it clear to the apes that this person did wrong and would be punished, they just stand around, scared.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "Ape not kill ape." "You are not 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.
  • Race Lift: Malcolm is roughly equivalent to MacDonald, a black man, from Battle for the Planet of the Apes.
  • Ragnarök 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.
  • Red Herring:
    • Dreyfus looks like he's going to become the Big Bad, especially since he goes in the same role as Colonel Quaritch (gives The Hero three days to make peace with the natives and harness a power source they've been living under) with the same 'guns-a-blazing' threat as well, all giving the implication that the humans are going to start the war. However, he doesn't make the first attack and allows Malcolm to do his job. In fact, an ape was the one who started the war.
    • Being the hot-tempered Jerkass that he is, Carver appeared to be the kind of guy who would do something really stupid and/or crazy like killing an important ape close to Caesar and triggering a full-scale war between both humans and apes. However, he does no such thing as Koba pretty much kickstarts most of the real conflict in the film as it becomes apparent that with or without Carver in the picture, Koba would go out of his way to find any excuse to go to war against the humans.
  • 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. Koba himself is also prone to this, having such a desire for conflict with humans that he would be willing to kill and usurp Caesar to achieve it.
  • Rightful King Returns: Caesar's battle with Koba and the apes kneeling before him at the end of the film invoke this.
  • 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.
  • Reusable Lighter Toss: Used to incite war.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Koba’s perch on the American flagpole serves no apparent strategic or tactical purpose. But it does serve as a nice visual image of ape ascendancy and human defeat.
  • Scenery Porn: The forest in particular.
    • Scenery Gorn: Even the environs of the semi-ruined city looks gorgeous.
  • Serkis Folk: The apes are portrayed through motion capture. The Trope Namer himself plays Caesar.
  • Settle It Without Weapons: Subverted. Koba initially throws away his gun to battle Caesar bare-handed, but soon picks up a metal pole to use as a melee weapon, before simply taking another gun from a trapped ape and attempting to gun Caesar down.
  • 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.
  • Simple Solution Won't Work: The main characters bring Carver (a Jerkass who hates the apes) along to a diplomatic meeting to restore power to a hydroelectric dam, which naturally screws things up for everyone. Leaving him behind isn't an option because he's the only one who knows his way inside the dam.
  • 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 that 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: Dreyfus made contact with military units that are heading over to kill the apes, foreshadowing the third film. Due to The Stinger mentioned above, 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: Ten years after the ALZ-113 virus became known as the Simian Flu.
  • 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.
  • Truth in Television: Koba is much stronger than a human and his brutal mistreatment under humans has left him with an anger and aggression that few apes or humans can match. However, in real life, a fully grown adult chimpanzee is still much more powerful than an adult bonobo. And once Koba's taunts go too far with Caesar, Koba gets a taste of that reality as Caesar beats him to an inch of his life and nearly kills him within mere seconds. Very tellingly, the second time they fight, Koba has to rely on multiple weapons and the fact that Caesar was already injured to be able to even the odds.
  • Uncertain Doom: Foster and Kemp, the members of Malcolm's team that were present at the Ape colony when Koba initiates his False Flag Operation, are last seen fleeing through the forest slightly ahead of Malcolm, Ellie, and Alex, who quickly opt to hide as the ape horde approaches. We learn nothing further of them, but given how fast the apes were gaining...
  • 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. He is also reduced to primal screeches and various guttural noises.
    • 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 unarmored and on horseback...and wins. Had he retreated or given up, that might have been the end of the ape civilization.
    • Before that, Koba also sees the humans start to push back and revitalizes the assault by taking a horse and charging while wielding two guns. Before that, the apes seemed on the point of giving up, after the humans needed the tank to regain the upper hand (and, if you read above, you know Koba took care of that as well).
  • 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 colony, even with their stolen guns many of the apes still die.
  • 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 its ensuing collapse 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.
    • In the novelization, Caesar gives the humans supplies and allows them to leave the city before Alpha-Omega arrives to take on the apes.
  • White-and-Grey Morality: Caesar’s initial conflict with Koba had the latter making several good points while still being far too bloodthirsty about it. Caesar asserted his authority, but still cared for his friend and heeded some of his advice. This flies out the window when Koba goes off the deep end.
  • Worf Had the Flu: The only reason Koba is able to last as long as he did against Caesar is because Caesar has not fully recovered from his previous assassination attempt, along with Koba using several improvised weapons.
  • You Can Talk?:
    • At first, it's clear that the humans think the apes are just animals, and then Caesar bellows out, "Go"!
    • Dreyfus still doesn't believe it when Malcolm and his group all tell the same story. It's not until Caesar appears before the colony, backed up by an army of Apes, and bellows "Apes do not want war!" that everyone realizes how advanced the Apes have gotten. Cue Mass "Oh, Crap!".
  • 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.


Video Example(s):


Simian Apocalypse

The global spread of the "Simian flu" wipes out human civilization and nearly all of humanity itself.

How well does it match the trope?

4.9 (20 votes)

Example of:

Main / ApocalypseHow

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