Notable Cast: James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Tom Felton, Andy Serkis
Review: In a franchise where there have been numerous spin offs and sequels, no one thought to go back to where it all started. Some audiences only know of the original film I’m assuming, and no, I’m not referring to the Tim Burton abomination. For all the youngsters that think the 2001 version is the original, dig deep and check out the classic. I myself have ignored the other installments, so my knowledge of the Ape universe only goes as far as Heston screaming in the sand. But for what Rise of the Planet of the Apes (awkward title much) was, and what I thought it would be, it was much more enjoyable than I ever imagined. I’m not saying it’s top 10 worthy, but I can say it made me forget about how Burton and Wahlberg viciously raped the franchise. Those damned dirty apes are at it again, but at least now we know how it really happened (according to Rupert Wyatt).
Scientist Will Rodman (Franco) is trying to develop a drug that can cure Alzheimer’s disease, but human side effects keep getting in the way. On his most recent chimp trial, the animal displays increased intelligence and everything Will wants to see. Bright Eyes (the chimp) exhibits proper usage of the drug, and Will is on the verge of a breakthrough. That is, until Bright Eyes breaks out, goes on a rampage, and is put down by security. Alas, Will’s company shuts down his trails and forces him to move on. He’s crushed, but finds out Bright Eyes was hiding a baby in her cage, and her hostility was a result of protection. Will takes home the young chimp to save him from being put down, and sees something spectacular as the years pass. The growing chimp, which he names Caesar, is displaying increased levels of brain usage and understanding, just like his mother. The drug that Will injected into Ceasar’s mother was passed genetically, and research for the drug can start again. But as Caesar is rapidly progressing, he becomes more than Will can handle. Caesar is sent to an ape “sanctuary” where he is abused and mistreated. So Caesar, being smarter than his handlers, unites his ape brothers, and strikes back to show who actually is the dominant race.
Having the apes as actual beasts instead of the fully humanized forms actually made the film a lot more interesting and made them a lot more intimidating…
So there were actually a few aspects of ROTPOTA (way to lazy to keep typing the title out) that impressed me. Number one was locking in veteran motion capture superstar Andy Serkis (Gollum/King Kong) to play the part of Caesar, and bring him to life. Watching Caesar move around was extremely convincing, as Serkis mimicked the animalistic movements a chimpanzee would make in real life. It was almost impossible believe that Caesar wasn’t an actual monkey based on his mannerisms, and instead there was a man wearing spandex covered in little white balls creating the movements. But when you look back at Serkis’ other work, you almost expect the performance that was given based on how lifelike his other characters were.
Then we get to Mr. Tom Felton, the Harry Potter evil doer who is now finally branching out acting wise. Good things about this role? We get to watch him die and act like a piece of crap. Bad things about this role? This dickwad still gets to win Best Villain at the Harry Potter/Twilight awards…I mean the MTV Movie Awards. I hate to take word count away from this review to rant about what a joke of an awards show the MTV Movie Awards is, but lord how can I not. look at last year…Best Actress Kristen Stewart when Natalie Portman killed it in Black Swan? Best Male Performance goes to Robert Pattinson instead of James Franco or Colin Firth? Best Fight Scene to a fucking Twilight movie?!?! Ok, sorry, off topic, but holy ever-loving Christ, what better way to make a mockery of Hollywood at this state and time while showing how brain-dead the youth or our nation is. But back to Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
I would love to say James Franco was a major selling point in this film, but the apes were actually the selling point. Much more time was spent with Caesar and his comrades than with Will and our species. Was this a bad thing? No, because for once we get to see how the apes evolved to the state they reached in Planet of the Apes. It actually sheds light on the original series because we no longer have to just assume apes gained human intelligence and took over the world. But lets me honest, any Apes prequel could have done this. But ROTPOTA did it with such confidence and expertise that it was easy to digest. As you’ll watch, the apes didn’t simply just get smart and take over the world. The film calls into question how our want for advancement can inevitably lead to our downfall, taking what could have been a straight forward plot and making it tenfold deeper than what could have been.
In the end, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is way more fun than you would expect. The cast and whatnot don’t really add anything beyond what you would expect, but instead the story carries you to the end. It’s entertaining watching how an entire franchise became to be because the film never gets too preposterous. Let’s be honest, a film about chimps taking over the world could have easily gone south without the proper planning. But here, the story brings in the human aspect of the film and doesn’t simply make it a film about chimps simply getting smart and taking back what they think is theirs. Go see Rise of the Planet of the Apes and I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised, witnessing the start of the end for human kind.
Final Rating: 7 enraged chimps out of 10
-Having technical difficulties….picture coming soon!