Isilwen's Rise of the Planet of the Apes Review
- Stunning visuals and CGI
- The apes! Each one has its own unique personality
- Entertaining throughout
- Has compassion as well as action
- A few cliché moments here and there
- Few plot holes
When at first glance a movie appears to be one that is driven mostly by action and will be a strict pop corn flick delivers compassion, emotion, entertainment and a story with heart, then you know you’re watching a good one, and Rise of the Planet of the Apes does just that. This film had the potential to be just another forgettable summer movie had it not been done right but thanks to a story driven plot and the audience not being able to help connecting with the characters (the primate ones anyway) it is a movie that I will want to watch again and again, and a successful reboot to the franchise.
The movie begins with our main human character Will Rodman (James Franco) who is a scientist and, along with his team, has been working on a new drug called ALZ 112 which is said to heal degenerative brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, the side effect being that it adds a green sparkle to the subjects eyes. It also heightens intelligence. They have been testing the drug on a female ape called Bright Eyes and Rodman is convinced they have enough data to begin human testing. While presenting his case to the board, other members of the research team are trying to get Bright Eyes to come out of her cage but she is uncharacteristically aggressive. After coaxing her out of confinement she goes wild and runs rampant around the compound. The chase results in her being shot down and killed, right in front of Rodman and his colleagues. His boss shuts the project down claiming that the drug causes violent side effects but we later find out that Bright Eyes had just given birth and was trying to protect her young. Thus Caesar, and the star of the show, is born.
The first portion of the film lets us see Caesar grow and live with Rodman who takes him home. This is where we fall in love with the primate and as he grows, so does his intelligence. The film makes sure that we connect with Caesar who is ultimately the main character of the movie. We see him interacting with Rodman, craving the outdoors and experiencing freedom when he is taken to Red Oak Forest. After being with Rodman and his father for eight years, he is then put into captivity when he attacks a neighbour, trying to protect Rodman’s father. Thus begins the second half of the film in which we see the heights of Caesars intelligence and him leading his own kind in an attempt to be free. It is also where the real action begins to kick in and the blockbuster element of the movie makes itself known.
The CGI in the movie is brilliant and provides some stunningly visual moments. The apes are as close to real as one can get down to their sounds, movements and mannerisms. The acting is done well enough. Nobody gives a bad performance although I do think Franco could have pushed himself a bit harder in some of the more emotional scenes and Brian Cox was a pleasant addition to the cast. Although she acts her part well, I really didn’t see any point to Freida Pinto’s character at all (well, I suppose the point was that without her it would have been an all male cast) and the story could have done fine without her. But my hat has to come well and truly off for Andy Serkis who portrayed Caesar through motion capture. He managed to speak a thousand words through just a single expression and gives another stand out performance to add to his list of other motion capture ones.
Of course the film is not without its flaws and there are some cliché moments and a few plot holes here and there but these aren’t big enough to ruin the movie. The action scenes are thoroughly entertaining and I found myself wanting them to last longer when they were drawing to a close. This film shows us the consequences of humanity trying to change things that should just be left alone.
If you want to end your summer on a high, go and see Rise of the Planet of the Apes. A thoroughly entertaining movie from start to finish that has emotion and ape smashing action. It even has the classic line, “Get your stinking paws off me you damn dirty ape!” making a cameo! What more could you ask for?