Starring: James Franco, Andy Serkis, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Tom Felton, David Oyelowo, Tyler Labine
Directed by: Rupert Wyatt
Written by: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver
Rating: PG-13 (US) Running Time: 1 hr 45 min
Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a prequel to the classic Planet of the Apes of 1968, and a pretty effective reboot to the long dormant series too. While making frequent cool nods to the Charlton Heston sci-fi adventure, Rise attempts to flesh out the events that eventually lead to the apes reign over the planet Earth.
The basic points of the story actually work really well, in that a possible cure for Alzheimer’s disease ends up blessing the apes with super intelligence while simultaneously exposing the human race to a deadly virus. It’s unfortunately the little extra details in the story that cause Rise of the Apes to stumble from time to time. Like not knowing one of your test apes had given birth, or being able to steal experimental drugs to do private human trials at home.
These logic fumbles however, are not the only problem this movie has, as it also must contend with its human characters too! Most of which are two-dimensional and wooden, apart from the always excellent John Lithgow. Sad really, when the CGI renderings of Andy Serkis’s Caesar end up displaying a greater range of believable emotion than the majority of the human actors.
When the action and drama stays with Caesar and the other apes, this film really works well and it’s a lot of fun to watch them plan and execute their escape. Once out on the streets of San Francisco, the action is fast paced and well filmed, and it’s great fun to watch Caesar out smart his human opponents.
This is a visual effects heavy science fiction film about smart apes, so it’s up to you how seriously you take this material. There are a few flaws in the stories logic, but the plots main outline is sound. If you can forgive its few flaws, there’s a lot to enjoy here.
With all the great visual effects, and superb shots of a fog covered Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco skyline, this is big screen entertainment all the way. At home a HD viewing is required. Watching this on a Laptop, Tablet or phone will reduce its impact.
Best Moment: << Spoilers >>
There are couple of great moments I want to mention. The first is when Caesar forces his main ape rival to feed cookies to all the other apes. It’s a great scene displaying Ceasar’s dominance over the pack of apes, but also part of his plan to bring them together as a group. This scene is also enhanced by Patrick Doyle’s superb score.
The other moment I like is when Caesar speaks for the first time. Built on a reference to Charlton Heston’s famous line in Planet of the Apes – “Get your stinking paws off me you damn dirty ape!” This time around that line is unfortunately given to Tom Felton to say (reviving his Draco Malfoy* performance for this film), but the scene is saved when Ceasar yells ‘NO!” Gives me chills every time!
* Draco Malfoy – Character from the Harry Potter series.