Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes of the Movie

Get out your nets and spears, we're reviewing Rise of the Planet of the Apes!

I don't think I got Caesar's sinister look quite right. 
Rise is a great Monkey movie that delivers. It tells an interesting story, and satisfies your ape action lust
Scientist Will Rodman(James Franco) is trying to find a cure for Alzheimer's, mainly because of his suffering father(John Lithgow). When their main experimental ape freaks out and is killed, it's discovered she has a child. Will takes the baby chimp home and realizes he's carrying the formula in his DNA. Will raises him as his own and starts to notice how smart he is.  Monkey antics ensue.

As I said before, this movie delivers.  It delivers on action, a great story, and setting up for the inevitable sequel.

The cast all work well in their roles. Franco plays the doctor rushign to find a cure, Lithgow plays a haunting aging father, and they even have Tom Felton as the biggest douche in monkey land(Yeah, he's typecast, but it works).  But the real star, is Caesar(played by Andy Serkis who did Gollum).

Serkis gives yet another amazing performance as Caesar. What I love is watching Caesar's transformation from young inquisitive child, to confused outsider teen, to viscous calculating leader. He commands both his monkey brethren and the scene he's in. You can see how he got to be so smart, where all his anger comes from and how he uses it to triumph over every obstacle.

This isn't a warning against messing with science, it's a warning about animal cruelty, which is surprisingly unexpected in a film like this. It doesn't blame science for messing with apes(although we did make the thing that eventually kills us), it blames a bunch of dick animal handlers and most people who see the chimps as "just stupid animals". Oh humans, will you ever learn?

The resulting ape destruction is super fun. Gorillas break stuff and chimps wreak havoc.  They answer that question "Well, why don't they just use their guns to stop them?" with the answer that the apes are smarter and more organized while the humans are unprepared, still treating them like stupid animals. You want the apes to win, and when there are casualties, you feel for the poor monkeys.

As I said earlier, it has a great way of setting up the inevitable sequel. It explains how the monkeys evolved, what killed all the humans, and even sets up the ship lost in space!  And major fans of the original will enjoy the various nods they throw in. See if you can spot them all!

Why you should see it: Amazing Ape action, and a tight character driven story about the monkey that lived.
Pitfalls: Only if you're a Planet of the Apes purist
Overall: Go see it. Highly recommended monkey action movie
One Scene Metaphor: Caesar is thrown in the monkey pen. Since he's super smart, and wearing human clothes, he's the new kid on the block and gets picked on by the ape in charge.  He's a nerd in a new school. But like the smarty-pants he is, he finds away to get back in charge...


  1. I've read a lot of bad reviews, but as you mentioned, a lot of the boo's have come from the purists. I still really want to see this movie, and I think your review just sealed the deal. =)

  2. Thanks! Glad I have deal-sealing writing abilities! Also, there is this article for Apes Purists about how this movie could work into the rest: