All hail Caesar!  “Dawn of The Planet of The Apes” opens in theaters nationwide today, and the long awaited sequel is worth the wait! Director Matt Reeves helms a visual and emotionally stunning summer hit, proving that summer blockbusters can be both exciting, intelligent and not have to cater to the lowest  denominator (looking at you Michael Bay!).

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Ten years after the human/simian showdown on the Golden Gate Bridge, Caesar (Andy Serkis) lives with his fellow apes in peace apart from the humans, whose population has been ravaged by the man-made ALZ-113 virus. When a group of survivors stray into the apes’ territory, it sets off a chain of events that threatens the survival of apes and humans.

Screenwriters Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver have given moviegoers a hero we can cheer for in Caesar. The Urban Daily lists five life-affirming lessons we can all benefit from:


1.  No one can make it in this world alone

Hollywood loves the image of the lone hero,  that bad ass dude who relies on himself to save the day.  In Caesar we find a different type of hero, one who unabashedly values his family and his community.   Every decision he makes is motivated by the well-being of his loved ones, and not by his own ego.


2.  Guns are never the answer

In what can only be described as the ballsiest anti-gun PSA, “Dawn of The Apes” brilliantly critiques our almost slavish devotion to guns and violence.  Action movies have glamourized the use of guns and weapons of mass destruction, but rarely show the emotional and physical devastation of its victims.  When guns are introduced into Caesar’s once peaceful world, we understand that it only perpetuates a cycle of violence where no one wins.


3.  Love is an action, not just a word

The number of times Caesar utters the word “love” – zero. But in “Dawn of the Apes” we witness Caesar’s love repeatedly for his family and friends.  From his  heart-to-heart conversations with his headstrong son Blue Eyes, to his friendship with Maurice, Caesar shows compassion and patience – qualities that seem to be in short supply in today’s world.

4.  Forgiveness makes us stronger

As human beings, burying emotional wounds is a coping mechanism we need in order to get through the day, but eventually we become its prisoner.  While Caesar has evolved into an intelligent and  fearless leader, his complicated relationship with his human father, Will (James Franco) has left him with unresolved feelings about his human counterparts. Only when Caesar comes to accept the good (and the bad) in his love for Will, does he find closure.

5.   Working through our imperfections is what makes us great.

What makes Caesar such a fascinating character is mastering is his journey in mastering his more primal side. As witnessed in “Rise of The Apes,” Caesar’s rage is a fearful thing to behold, but he acknowledges this weakness and never gives up on doing the greater good.




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