Man, I could not say this any plainer but Rise of the Planet of the Apes was an incredible movie. I can safely say that for me the film is a dramatic piece wrapped in science fiction clothing. I am a huge fan of the “Apes” films and after the let down, of what should have been a hit out of the park, that was Tim Burton’s remake I was very excited to see this. It began with the short clip released of Andy (King Kong and LOTR) Serkis doing motion capture for the role of Caesar. All they showed was Caesar quickly move his eyes and I was hooked.
The film stars James Franco and John Lithgow. The two leads play well off each other as Franco plays the misguided scientist to Lithgow’s ailing father. What emerges is a cautionary tale about playing God, Animal rights and Paternal dedication. Add the Apes, chimps and humans who are thrust together because the simians are smarter, intolerant, over protective and abusive depending on the situation. But when they abused then they get very angry. Then that is when the REAL fun begins.
The CGI apes, Mainly Caesar, are a marvel to experience. The FX are seamless but not entirely perfect but it does appear low key during the interaction scenes. Director Rupert Wyatt (2008’s The Escapist) directs with a deft feel and regard for the original films. The pace moves at a great clip during the more technical first half. Then after we see the changes in the simians after Franco delivers his iffy serum to them (and his Father with fatal results) things go badly as the apes rise. The action scenes are fantastic and realistic. Battles ensue, cops shoot at apes and an ape jumps off a bridge into a helicopter. You do actually cheer for the apes as they rebel against their captors especially the animal shelter manager played with relish by Brian Cox. Oh and the kid that played Draco Malfoy.
So make time and watch this movie. You’ll be excited, thrilled and touched by this entry in the highly regarded “Apes” series of films (sans Burton’s version). Enjoy, you damn dirty APES!!!