Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – 3.75 stars

Better than its predecessor, for a couple of reasons: the perfunctory heartless, nasty corporation is not in the mix, the film is not saddled with the herculean task of presenting James Franco as a scientist, and we spend more time with the apes than the humans. The apes, led by Caesar (Andy Serkus), are decidedly more interesting, having created a thriving, peaceful colony outside of San Francisco. Since this sequel is set only 10 years after the apes escaped their Bay area zoo at exactly the moment mankind became afflicted with a disastrous plague, it appears the simians got right down to the nasty, because there are a shitload of monkeys hiding out in Muir Woods.  But man comes a calling . . .

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