Rise of the Planet of the Apes
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Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a revolution; an action-packed epic featuring stunning visual effects and creatures unlike anything ever seen before. At the story's heart is Caesar (Andy Serkis), a chimpanzee who gains human-like intelligence and emotions from an experimental drug. Raised like a child by the drug's creator (James Franco), Caesar ultimately finds himself taken from the humans he loves and imprisoned. Seeking justice, Caesar assembles a simian army and escapes -- putting man and primate on a collision course that could change the planet forever.
A galaxy's worth of nihilism buried under a '70s Velveeta topping, the Planet of the Apes series stands today as a dark marvel of pop cinema, a group of wildly variable films that combine to form a giant inescapable kiss-off to the human race. (That said message was able to withstand such distractions as ever-cheapening makeup and Charlton Heston loudly pounding sand makes its achievements even more impressive, really.) Boasting a keen awareness of its predecessors' particular charms and a gem of a central CGI performance by Andy Serkis, Rise of the Planet of the Apes makes for a rather miraculous summer movie: a big-budget special effects extravaganza that also delivers a killer backhand. Sort of redoing 1972's Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, the film follows the events set in motion when a bereaved scientist (James Franco) attempts to create a cure for Alzheimer's, resulting in a supernaturally intelligent chimp named Caesar. The old bit about science tampering in God's domain quickly applies. Director Rupert Wyatt (The Escapist) displays an admirable sense of pacing, deftly levying the escalating action scenes with small character moments from the likes of John Lithgow and Brian Cox. That said, the film belongs to Caesar, whose path from wide-eyed innocent to reluctant revolutionary generates the ironic pulp empathy that gave the original series such a kick. Watching the climactic confrontation on the Golden Gate Bridge, it's distressingly easy to figure out which side to root for. Chuck Heston would no doubt grit his teeth in approval. Note: Those skeptical that this revamp could wholly retain the original's doomy backbeat would do well to stick around during the end credits. --Andrew Wright
More From the Stars of Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Mythology of the Apes
The Genius of Andy Serkis
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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.
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!!!!