Thursday, August 4, 2011

Full Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Grade: A

Will Rodman has been working at a genetic lab for years where he has been working on a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease. He has recently made a break through and a chimp they have been testing on has been showing amazing cognitive abilities. Unfortunately, the chimpanzee went out of control and they were forced to stop the program and put down all the chimps. It turns out, the chimp they were testing on had a baby and rather than put it down, Will took him home in order to hide him from the company. It appears that this chimp has increased cognitive abilities and quickly learns sign language and much more. After becoming hostile with a neighbor, Will is forced to put Caesar, the chimp, in a primate sanctuary. Here, Caesar learns how humans really are and he begins to organize a revolution with the rest of the apes.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is essentially a prequel to the original Planet of the Apes from 1968 starring Charlton Heston. I have been pretty excited about this movie for a while as I am a huge fan of all of the Planet of the Apes movies (there are 6 including Tim Burton’s remake). I was hoping that this would be a nice addition to the series. I was not let down at all. Rise manages to be fun and exciting as well as very emotional. The chimpanzee, Caesar, goes through many emotional and tragic ordeals, it gets to the point where you aren’t just rooting for him, but all of the apes. On top of that, they make many great references to the original movie as well as some references to some of its sequels, particularly Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. The writers did a great job and managed to sneak in many of the classic lines we all know and love. The special effects in the movie look absolutely spectacular, the apes look incredibly realistic. The buildup is great but the payoff is even better. The climactic scene with the apes rampaging through the streets of San Francisco is an absolute blast to watch. They left it somewhat open ended for possible sequels, which as an Apes fan, I am all for.

The movie stars James Franco (127 Hours, Your Highness) as Will, the genetic researcher who finds the cure for Alzheimer’s. Franco did a great job of playing Caesar’s surrogate father. He did an amazing job with his character’s connection to Caesar. Andy Serkis (King Kong, Lord of the Rings) portrays the role of Caesar, a hyper-intelligent chimpanzee. Serkis did an amazing job with all of the motion capture work for this character. He made this character feel extremely real and you truly sympathize with Caesar, more than I thought I would in this movie. John Lithgow (Orange County, TVs Dexter) plays the role of Charles, Will’s father who has Alzheimer’s. Lithgow is great in this movie and does a great job with some of the heavy handed stuff he has to deliver. The movie also features Freida Pinto, Brian Cox, Tom Felton, David Oyelowo, Tyler Labine and more.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is absolutely everything I could have asked for and more out of a new Apes movie. I enjoyed this movie from start to finish and can’t wait to go see it again. If you are a fan of any of the Apes movies, I really can’t recommend this movie enough. If you aren’t a big fan of them or have never seen any Apes movies, I still suggest at least giving this one a try.

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