See how it all began! The classic series starring Charlton Heston receives a very proper and fitting introduction with the captivating new release entitled Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
Set in present day San Francisco, CA, Scientist Will Rodman (played by James Franco) seeks a cure for multiple diseases (like Alzheimer’s that plagues his father) by testing on apes at the scientific research facility at which he works. Under less than desirable circumstances, one ape, soon to be named Caesar, is taken under the care of Rodman and through his growth and development begins the Rise!
This film excels in sharing the story of Caesar and creating a higher sense of empathy and compassion for him and his story, than that of the humans in the movie. With a script that is entirely an origin story, Rise of the Planet of the Apes truly shows the way in which the apes rose up from simple primate to increased intelligent beings. Rest assured this film is far from the quality of director Tim Burton’s attempt at a Planet of the Apes story. It is a good thing that director Rupert Wyatt opted to go back to the VERY beginning instead of continue from where Burton’s left off. Because with this film…Planet of the Apes became cool again!
Here are the winning elements of this summer blockbuster:
1. The onscreen actors did an excellent job in playing second fiddle, if you will, to the expression-master Andy Serkis, who did all of the live motion for Caesar. It is, after all, the amazing story of Caesar that is, quite possibly, most important. Serkis (Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, King Kong) delivers a performance that strongly delivers a message basically without words that derives a sense of great understanding for the plight of Caesar. However, the rest of the cast (James Franco, Frieda Pinto, John Lithgow, Brian Cox and more) all sufficiently played their roles in this movie, but they almost were unnecessary. (f not to help portray the course of events a little bit more, their characters almost serve no purpose, but I believe that to be the intent of the film, to allow the majority of the focus to follow Caesar!)
2. The believable story and characters. This film, as opposed to its predecessors, is almost completely character and story based with believable characters that add to the tale! From the role of money-hungry funding executives, to the role of the over-zealous scientist. From the role of the non-caring animal keepers, to the role of the apes themselves. This film contains a very high sense of reality. Bravo to the writers, cast, and crew, for also including a great sense of humanity in the apes and the portrayal of their different personalities all through CGI (no men in monkey suits here)! Very impressive.
3. Andy Serkis. I know, I already mentioned him. But he REALLY is what makes the movie. There’s no other way around it. Look at the cast and you will realize that none of them carry the star power of actors like Matt Damon, or Denzel Washington, or Will Smith, or Julia Roberts, or Angelina Jolie, or Natalie Portman. So what really has the attention and weight for this film with the audience? The performance of the one actor you will never see in this film: Andy Serkis.
While some of the action is tough and can be adrenaline pumping at times, it can also be a tad cheesy. Rise of the Planet of the Apes tries to keep you guessing, but there is an inevitable amount of predictability- given that it is a prequel. But it makes up for it in the little big surprises it brings. The film also seems pretty intent on laying several seeds throughout for an anticipated sequel. Some, rather seemingly unimportant things happen in the film that end up unexplained and keep the film from standing completely on its own without any type of planned sequel. They prove to be important later on though. *Be sure to stay after the credits first begin rolling.
All in all, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is almost a flawless film and origin story! Be sure not to miss this great summer film in theaters! It’s more than just your average “popcorn flick” That’s all I’m saying and I’m sticking to it!
Thanks for reading!
Enjoy if you wish…or don’t enjoy! Happy Watching!
-TheSp1der’s Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars for “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”
up next: Review for Tree of Life followed by Trailer Time Thursday!