Film Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

| 4 August , 2011 | Reply

Directed By: Rupert Wyatt
James Franco, John Lithgow, Freida Pinto, Andy Serkis, Tom Felton, Brian Cox
Sassi\’s Star Rating:

Brilliant scientist Will Rodman (James Franco) is sure he has discovered a cure for Alzheimer\’s. But when his board presentation goes terribly wrong his experiment is shut down and years of work, as well as his only hope for saving his rapidly deteriorating father (John Lithgow) are lost. So when Will temporarily smuggles a baby medical testing chimpanzee named Caesar (Andy Serkis) home from the lab only to find it showing super-intelligence indicators, he keeps it hoping to prove that his drug still works. But when Caesar gets drawn into a world where humans treat him just like they would any other animal, he\’s going to remedy that with a taste of their own medicine.

Never mind if you aren\’t familiar with previous Planet of the Apes mythology. Rise of the Planet of the Apes is an origin story, starting the legend again in contemporary San Francisco and using modern scientific rationalisation to breathe new life into the much loved sci-fi series. You\’ll probably like to know that Rise of the Planet of the Apes far exceeds the 2001 Tim Burton flop Planet of the Apes. Finally fans can rejoice in something to wash those bad memories of Marky Mark defiling cinematic history right out of their heads.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is smart, well made, and full of a lot of impressive action. The final battle scene on the Golden Gate Bridge is one of my favourites of the 2011 blockbuster season thus far. But that doesn\’t mean that everyone will be pleased: as evidenced by a conversation I happened to overhear whilst seeing the movie.

Person 1: Wow! That was amazing! I loved that! The graphics were awesome!

Person 2: &I thought it was stupid.

Ok, those might not have been the exact words that I unavoidably eavesdropped on whilst filing out of the cinema but I can\’t help but think that this little tidbit which I jotted down in my notes on my way home is exactly how a lot people are going to feel about Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Divided.

Although much more grounded then its predecessors, a film about super intelligent monkeys taking over the world asks a lot in terms of suspension of disbelief. For some it\’s going to be too much and no amount of special effects can do anything to change that. But it seems like more care then usual has gone into justifying the plot here and despite a few stretches the overall concept was rationalised enough for this reviewer. So if, like me, you are willing to follow this film where it wants to take you, then it\’ll drag you on one hell of a ride.

James Franco and John Lithgow are charming as usual. Pinto seems to be there as a necessary device more then anything but she is pleasant in the role she is given. Tom Felton is evil again, but again he is good at it. The real stars of the film are of course Caesar and his beautifully rendered companions. The CGI work in this film is stunning from the rendering of the chimpanzee\’s movements to the expressiveness of their eyes. The technology is right at the moment for this type of film to be made and I\’m very glad they didn\’t do it in 3D. This is one instance where I\’m not ashamed to say that I connected more to a monkey then to a human.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is in cinemas now.


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Category: Film & TV

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