If you are film buff and/or over the age of 60, you may understand the title of this review, if you are not, you will find out if you see the new film “Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes.” Directed by Rupert Wyatt, based on the story and concept by Pierre Boulle ‘La Planète des Singes.’
After the critically bashed, yet financial success of Tim Burton’s Planet Of The Apes remake. Fox, instead of funding a sequel, seen fit to keep the money aside for a reboot. The right choice was most definitely made, with it’s all round impressiveness and a concrete plot that’s a fresh continuity reminiscent to the original series in the 60’s where everything takes place on earth, unlike Tim Burton’s version (regardless of it’s hard to handle ending) where the planet of the apes was a distant planet. It would be good to stress again because contrary to popular belief, this film is a reboot and it is not a prequel to Tim Burton’s version.
Will Rodman (James Franco) is trying to engineer a virus that repairs damaged brain cells which would then in turn cure alzheimer’s disease. However it comes with a very special effect, an increased of intelligence proven by a child chimpanzee that Will adopts named Caesar (Andy Serkis). The same virus works on Will’s Dad, Charles (John Lithgow), however his condition soon worsens and finds himself back to square one. After Charles upsets a local neighbour, Caesar comes to a rather forceful rescue which lands him in a local primate captivity. Ill-treated and outcasted by the other apes, Caesar starts planning. It goes without saying then that to everyone remotely familiar with the planet of the apes series, this plot will be very predictable. For the most part it is, but it is done in a way that still keeps your attention without it nagging at you and the ending, although not a twist, is still a big climax.
The most striking part of the film is the CGI that Weta Digital provides. Almost flawless as the apes fit seamlessly into the equilibrium of the film. Andy Serkis, the master of motion capture, performs as Caesar leaving you in complete awe. If you thought Serkis deserved an Oscar for Gollum, you will most definitely be in uproar of the academy’s lack of interest for this role. He brings to life the character that really connects you as the audience, you will find yourself rooting at his every move and maybe shedding a few tears, giving Roddy McDowall (Original Caesar) a run for his money. James Franco gives a great performance as usual, however at times I feel his character hadn’t been fully explored through dialogue, John Lithgow also provides an A* performance as portraying a man suffering from Alzheimer’s. Another notable performance from Tom Felton playing, well, a damn right evil bastard. However lacking was David Oyelowo as Will’s boss, whose script mainly contained disdain towards everything around him, with a ‘I want money and I don’t care how’ kind of attitude, but it just seemed a little unbelievable. Pointless role of the film goes to Freida Pinto‘s character Caroline, who has nothing to do apart from look pretty and give the odd conscience-provoking line.
Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes will surely be the blockbuster to see at the moment, with the right mix of plot and brilliant performances and great CGI. It contains happy moments, some sad moments and iconic moments, most notably what my title is in reference to. However at times it seems the big people at Fox thought playing it safe was the better way to go, which is not a bad thing and probably the best way to go after Tim Burton’s ‘re-envisioning’. I’m sure and I hope the sequel will be green- lit soon, if not already and we may just have the next big franchise on our hands if it can live up to this one.