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About a month ago I watched the original Planet of the Apes with my son, who ended up liking it more than he thought he would. So, after watching the trailer we gave this re-imagined version a try, and I was amazed to find it as enjoyable in its own right as the original.

I typically feel burned after watching re-imagined classics because they so often just don't work, but this movie does. And, it really rewards those who have seen the original movie series from the late 60's and 70's. There are "easter egg" types of things all the way through, so my son and I had fun seeing allusions to the original as we were watching this version. My son even caught one that I didn't. Too much fun.
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on January 29, 2014
I caught a few minutes of this on TV one night and said that actually looked like it might be good. I usually prefer old classics, "The African Queen," "Sahara," "The Sand Pebbles" and such and usually feel that Hollywood needs to actually get some writers and directors to their job and come up with something original. Special effects and CGI will only make you go "wow" for so long. So, I wound up ordering Rise of the Planet of the Apes from Amazon a few days later. This modern version of the Planet of the Apes has really made me put those feelings aside especially after seeing the earlier Planet of the Apes movie which did not do the original movies any justice.

The director did a good job letting you know what the apes had in mind as they would zoom in on an object and put you in the shoes (if they wore shoes) of the ape. It was also very easy to tell who was the writers wanted to be the bad guy or good guy in this movie. When the apes would show a sign of submission to one other they had a vet from a nearby zoo point this out early which made some scenes later on easier to understand. It was almost like the original movie backwards in some ways, the end of the movie has a closing scene with an ape on a horseback charging humans. What is more important though is an earlier scene in the movie with Caesar putting the final piece in of a Statue of Liberty puzzle.

The movie has plenty of surprises including a few scenes that you believed Caesar was going to 'take revenge' on someone but in all actuality Caesar would play the upper hand and really make a 'monkey' out of a former bully or foe. There are also some throwbacks to the original movie as well, lines such as "take your paws off me you 'darn' dirty ape!" and the news scenes with the spaceship Icarus is likely a throwback to the original movies as well. Icarus is also a mortal from Greek Mythology who was able to fly on wings made of wax and feathers and was too proud to heed advice about being careful. With this pride he ignored the advice given and flew too close to the sun and the wax melted.

Two big plot holes existed regarding the ALZ 113, that I noticed. First, Franklin was infected with the new ALZ 113 virus and never appeared to become smarter. Second, when the apes free the apes at the Zoo, the Zoo apes at that time had no exposure to the virus and would have had average ape intelligence. Wouldnt they have considered these other apes as intruders and defended their turf instead of instantly joining them?

My favorite scene in the movie is one that some might have missed. You would have noticed Caesar and Maurice (the Orangutan that Caesar was teaching to sign) together. Caesar took a stick, showed it to Maurice and broke it. Then he took several sticks held together and showed Maurice that they couldn't be broken when together. This was not Caesar showing Maurice how to make tools or just killing time. I think this was a plan on a strategy that Julius Caesar used in his time of "divide et impera." Translated "divide and Rule." IE, "United we stand, divided we fall." The original Planet of the Apes movies that many of us grew up with usually had hidden lessons as well. This movie obviously does as well and shows us that if we all stick together nothing is impossible. Certainly the apes showed us this by leaving you surprised at the ending. I don't want to ruin it! The ending was such that they have fantastic potential for several sequels.

BUY it, watch it, review it!!!!
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on October 11, 2013
Given that most of the sequels to the original Charlton Heston "Planet of the Apes," a chance was taken in ordering this film. Surprise, surprise... it was actually... good! Ah, yes, there are some who may quibble about some of the "science" behind the aromatic infection of the apes themselves, following the lead of the.. well, lead ape, but the cinematics were extremely well done. The apes in films of this genre in the past seemed to lack that human quality present with these lead animals... and, they performed extremely well under the adept direction of Rupert Wyatt. Lithgow's performance was also well handled by this lead character actor, as his mental state rose and fell with the script. What can truly make a movie is to watch those in supporting casts... one expects finished performances from the lead actors, and, unfortunately, many in this category are without merit in some of the latest films. The neighbor is played well, with the correct amount of angst and anger. The extras were obviously were not simply told to mill about... they were, or so it appears, actually directed and added the flavor of confusion, threat avoidance, horror and fear. This is a good, solid flick and one of its most outstanding elements was the lack of animal violence committed upon the duplicitous, dippy humans... unless, of course, the latter were involved in the slaying of apes, baboons, orangutans and the like. If they did, then they paid the price. One of the letdowns were the scenes involving the California Highway Patrol and their high flying chopper... I simply could not believe they were that stupid or given orders by someone who was not involved as an officer with their agency. All in all, a better film than one might have expected... just make certain you have plenty of bananas on hand if the going gets rough.
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on August 5, 2014
If I had rated this movie when it came out in 2011, I would have given it 5 stars. But now that I have seen "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes", this movie has been demoted to 4 stars. There is nothing wrong with this movie; this is a great movie. But part of the reason it was an AMAZING movie in 2011 is because CGI apes doing ape things was unique. We had never seen anything in cinema like it before. With the release of "Dawn of the planet of the apes", audiences can see CGI apes taken to the next level. So when going back to "Rise of the planet of the apes" for a re-watch, the CGI ape novelty is gone, and only the story and characters remain. So though this movie is great, it is certainly not 5 stars.
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on October 15, 2013
Where does consciousness end and a conscious begin? This film is both highly entertaining and yet goes deep with such questions; a wonderful surprise - I didn't know it would be this excellent. The marvelous cast help make the story all the more believable. Andy Serkis is remarkable, emoting from within to create a superb character, and John Lithgow is poignant as the father of a scientist (James Franco) dedicated to discovering gene therapy for his father, who is losing his memory to Alzheimer's. Writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver lovingly integrate elements from past films, and the narrative is beautifully brought to life by director Rupert Wyatt. The pleasure of being a chimp swinging in the redwoods is vividly depicted. A fine film, we hope there is a sequel!
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on July 21, 2014
NOTE - some minor "spoilers" ahead, so skip this review if you want 100% surprise.

When this film was released, the commercials did not do it justice, showing the "action" parts which were a bit ridiculous (such as apes smashing through panes of glass at an office building, which I found a bit cartoonish and silly - these apes would presumably be smart enough not to do that). However, this is a much more thoughtful film than those commercials would imply. I actually preferred the first half of the film, which focuses on character development, rather than the more action-packed second half. Some people of course will prefer the second half, and find the first half somewhat boring. This is a good movie as a whole though, and should be seen as such. Even the original music is very good, at times exciting, emotional, and/or uplifting to fit well with each of the scenes.

The storyline is quite interesting, and the interaction is often emotionally charged - particularly any scenes with Caesar, the chimp on whom the story is centered. I especially enjoyed the scenes of Caesar's activity and development through early stages of life. Caesar for various reasons has a foot (or furry paw) in both the human and ape worlds, and has to figure out how he fits in to either or both of these. There are several themes in the movie, which is quite impressive for a summer thriller. A number of reviewers have remarked on the themes of keeping intelligent animals captive or experimenting with biology. Or that Caesar recalls at least one famous figure from the past (I can actually think of two, and neither of them is Julius Caesar). There's also the theme of personal growth, as seen in Caesar from his infancy to what would be adulthood for a smart chimp. Well done to have such a thoughtful plot in an "action" film.

The computer graphics are great, not perfect but very well done. And as many reviewers have mentioned, Andy Serkis does an incredible job of delivering Caesar's gestures and emotions. James Franco does a great job here too, I'm surprised by reviewers who said he didn't add much. Maybe his performance is dwarfed a bit by Caesar's, but he's quite good here, as is John Lithgow in a more minor role. A nice thing about having this on DVD/Blu-Ray is that you can watch your favorite parts again and again, and for me (and probably most people) that's nearly all the scenes with Caesar in them, at all ages. There's a scene where a young Caesar moves from a house kitchen up to the attic that is particularly memorable, really amazing - must be seen several times. Many more memorable/amazing scenes, but I won't spoil them.

As far as negatives, there aren't too many. One fairly big one is that the movie is presented in a widescreen format that's even wider than a typical "widescreen" tv or monitor. So if you watch this on an old 4:3 television, there are large black bands on both the top and bottom of the screen, and a fairly small area for the actual picture. It would have been nice if they'd also had a "full screen" option, for older tvs. Also would have been nice if they'd had a 2-channel audio option instead of 5.1 only. Sure you can play 5.1 through 2 channels, but I'm not sure that always sounds properly balanced, although I didn't notice any jarring problems from it.

In the film itself, some people may notice a few minor "plot holes", but you can gloss over those in your mind. I also felt some of the violence kept this from being a film for young children. Which is too bad, since in many ways there's a focus on "family" (good themes for a family movie); also because most children would love seeing the Curious George-like young Caesar. Some of the violence though is clearly too disturbing (though brief), and some of the scenes probably too emotionally-wrenching for kids, so I wouldn't recommend showing this to kids under 10, maybe not under 13.
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on August 10, 2016
I've always been a fan of the "Planet of the Apes" movies. Most have been "okay" as they have made the best of whatever film technology was available for their day. THIS, however, is the best of them all. The characters are well-developed, and the presentation doesn't rely upon special effects to mask a poor storyline ... Instead the animation supports every aspect of a phenomenally written script. From subtle emotion to full-out battle, the masters of CGI really outdo themselves.

But the true beauty is in the fact this story is true to the original movies, while standing on its own as an anchor for more of the saga of the rise of the apes.
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on February 12, 2013
This is an exceptionally well crafted sci/fi movie. I have seen all the "POTA" movies including the lame Tim Burton/Mark Wahlberg remake of 2001; but it matters not whether you have seen them, as this is a prequel to the 1968 Charlton Heston original. It borrows a few plot points from the fourth "POTA" film, which was also an origin story; but it doesn't borrow much. Bottom line, this film stands on its own, which is fine; because it is likely the beginning of many sequels to follow. The tagline for the movie is "Evolution becomes revolution"; but the source for the intelligence of the apes in this film is not natural evolution, but genetic engineering intended to create a cure for Alzheimer's. The retrovirus developed from the engineering does indeed temporarily cure Alzheimer's, but it exponentially enhances the intelligence of the test apes...and it is genetically passed on to their progeny. James Franco, in another fine performance, is Will Rodman, the genetic engineer who develops the retrovirus. He adopts a baby chimp, he names Caesar, after the chimp's mother, the main test ape, turns violent and has to be put down. The retrovirus is not approved for human use, but Rodman uses it on his father, excellent portrayal by John Lithgow, and the temporary result is extraordinary. Caesar has inherited his mother's intelligence...he is played superbly by Andy Serkis (Gollum in the "LOTR Trilogy") using motion capture technology...and his intelligence continues to improve. That will set the stage; if you are intrigued so far, watch this fine sci/fi actioner to see how it plays out. In addition to the actors named, look for Tom Felton as a sadistic animal keeper and Freida Pinto as Rodman's love interest. If you are a fan of well made, intelligent science fiction, you will love this. Can't wait for the next sequel!
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on January 10, 2014
I so much did not want this movie to be like the last remake of the first series. The acting and story line in that movie left me confused and very disappointed and I promised myself I would never see another planet of the apes movie s long as I lived. I missed this one at the theaters, but couldn't resist when I saw it at Amazon. James Franco played the part really well and though the villains are sometimes over the top, in their cruelty and insensitivity, it makes the point the humans are always going to make the wrong choices for the wrong reasons. I found I was cheering for the monkeys and that I never did in the original which to me was the best of the series. I hope they make a second one or else the apes will be forever stuck in the redwoods in my mind and the humans will just be starting to experience a pandemic. trin sanchez, Colorado
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on December 20, 2012
Rise of the Planet of the Apes follows Will Rodman (James Franco) as he attempts to find a cure for Alzheimer's disease; he conducts his tests on apes, and eventually saves a baby chimp, Caesar (Andy Serkis), by adopting him; Cesar, however, has inherited the intelligence of his mother, who received it through previous tests, and eventually starts an ape revolution after a series of unfortunate events. (The story is a lot deeper, but I want to keep the summary short.) Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a visually-stunning and epic film.

The story in this film is engaging and immersive; the story can often be touching, sad, and even brutal. The relationship between Will and Cesar was great, and felt authentic, despite one character being computer. On that point, the visual effects are amazing in this film; the visuals are crisp, and the animations/movements are smooth, and the facial expressions were extremely detailed. The entire story was entertaining, keeping a SciFi vibe throughout, and ending with an epic, jaw-dropping action sequence. My only slight issue was the actual ending; Cesar and Will have a final confrontation that felt a bit rushed, or incomplete. (Maybe because of the upcoming sequel?) The film is beautiful, the music was enchanting and epic, and the acting was great from the entire cast.

The Blu-Ray version of the film looks absolutely amazing and sounds great; this is a film worth owning on Blu-ray or viewing on HD. It comes with one disc for the Blu-ray, another disc for the DVD + Digital Copy, and a slip cover.

Overall, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a great SciFi film, with a touching yet epic storyline and amazing visual effects. I highly recommend a purchase for fans of the genre.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes has some violence and blood, no sex or nudity.
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