Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Is it wrong that I’m crushing on Caesar? I don’t think it is. What Dawn of the Planet of the Apes does so brilliantly is show us what it truly means to be ‘human’ whilst putting an unfamiliar face to that state of being.
The two faces of humanity are revealed through two non-human faces. Caesar and Kobol. Through self awareness we gain access to all the choices that can make us worthy of that gift. It is not a path that is only open to humans but it is what we see as ‘being human’. For this reason we can be drawn to Caesar as we would be drawn to any human being of his qualitative stature and we can be disgusted by Kobol’s destructive path as we would be… you get the picture. The film gives each of them their non-ape counterparts, reminding us that it is not a war between good and evil where one side is bad and one righteous. In hating any group whether it is a nationality, a colour, a sexual orientation, a religion or a species we lose sight of the individuals amongst them who are mostly just like us, wanting the best for their families, wanting to live out their lives in peace and dignity.
Caesar’s struggle to understand that all apes do not share his vision, that they are not all family, is heart rending. His comprehension that, in the end, the forgiveness that would be required to prevent a war simply cannot be universal when there will always be those amongst any group that choose hatred, is deeply intuitive. The moral and compassionate choices that he makes make him great in a way that many humans will never be and the film making portrays it in such an immersive manner that I would defy anybody not to be a little bit in love with him.
Ultimately we all have the tools to be the best that humanity can be but we have to choose to walk the higher ground. All of us have to choose trust and forgiveness over hatred and personal power. Until we do, the war will go on. So, the question is - what do you choose? Are you Caesar or Kobol? Life as we all wish to live it or war?