Have you ever seen a movie whose premise was so well written and thought out that you imagined it could possibly take place in the real world and not just on movie screens??? This happened to me over the weekend while I watched “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”. The way this film was written, performed and put together had me honestly wondering if we were currently using apes to test out drugs meant to repair the brain and it made the apes smarter than they are now. What if these drugs also had the negative effect of killing the humans that come in contact with it? These ideas had me thinking throughout the entire movie and made up one of the best films I’ve seen this summer.
For those of you that didn’t know before, this film is a prequel to the Planet of the Apes film with Charlton Heston from 1968. In this original film, we witness a world where the apes have taken over and the humans are their slaves. Charlton Heston leads a revolt against his ape oppressors and in his escape finds out that the planet is Earth. The big reveal at the end of the film that he is on Earth led to just one question, how did this happen??? Through four sequels and one remake, we are never told how the apes become so intelligent and manage to overwhelm the human population. Well, that is exactly what this new film reveals to us and it does it in such a way to become the best film in the franchise.
In the film, James Franco plays Will Rodman, a scientist who is developing a serum that helps the brain to repair itself from the effects of Alzheimer’s. As with most drugs being developed, it is being tested on chimps before they begin the human trials. Things seem to be going well with one of the chimps being tested, who they call Bright Eyes, until one day she seems to snap and breaks out of her cage and is in turn shot by the guard. Rodman comes back later to check her cell and finds out that she was only protecting the baby chimp she had given birth to. He takes the baby back to his home while they try to find a place for it to live when they soon discover that the drug was passed on from the mother and the baby, named Caesar, seems to be highly intelligent and the drug really does work. How the rest of the story plays out you will just have to see for yourself, but I found myself caring for Caesar and wishing things had worked out differently for him instead of what will all know will happen.
What I just couldn’t believe while watching this film was how real Caesar looked and responded. His movements and facial expressions were performed by Andy Serkis, also known as Gollum for you Lord of the Rings fans, using motion capture technology. Even though he doesn’t speak in the movie, I could tell every thought and emotion he was trying to convey and it is nothing short of extraordinary. This movie is about the apes and their journey to become the rulers of the planet, and in practically every scene that includes Caesar or another ape, they steal the show.
I can’t express enough how much I enjoyed this film. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I went in and came out thinking they hit a homerun. I do hope this film is remembered when the Oscars roll around. If not for a special award to Andy Serkis for his brilliant work, then at least for the amazing effects in the film. I do hope this will lead to a sequel, but only if they can have a script that is as well written as this one and handled with care by a director that respects the material and the franchise as a whole.
JChandler: grade A-
Now I feel like I better understand what this movie is… a very, very early prequel, the origin of the brain-apes. And it looks pretty cool, I think… and makes more sense as to why they’re just straight up primates without tapping into that great design of the original film that was more ape/man hybrid.
So, take a look, and give us your thoughts! I found this embedded link from Cinimablend.com.