Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Rise of The Planet of The Apes Review

If you have ever had a pet or grown attached to an animal, then the movie "Rise of The Planet of the Apes" will most likely strike an emotional chord with you as it did me. More than just your run of the mill special effects driven summer blockbuster, "Rise" is a riveting exploration into the lines of seperation that exist between man and primate and how blurry those lines can sometimes become.
Although the film certainly does not skrimp on action and delivers plenty of pulse pounding, effects heavy scenes set in beautiful San Franscisco, it is the devoted yet conflicted relationship between the two main characters, Ceasar and Will, that truly shines and manages to stay with you long after the credits have roled.
A large amount of the credit has to go to Andy Serkis of Lord of the Rings Fame who once again donned a motion capture suit, this time to play Caesar, the featured Ape who we see mature from a precocious and mischevious young primate to a venerated freedom fighter of his kind who could probably even give Mel Gibson's William Wallace a run for his money. Simply put, Serkis is incredible. The actor has truly mastered the skill of using his body and facial expressions to maximum effect and it is amazing how much emotion he can convey without saying nary a word. Investment in the character runs so deep that we cannot help but actively participate is Ceasar's emotional journey from his pure exhileration in scaling the California Redwoods, to his lonliness and despair at being caged and seemingly forgotten, to his raw determinatation to liberate he and his kind from their cruel human overlords.
On a whole good performances all around. I kind of snickered when I learned that James Franco was playing a brilliant scientist but he gives a really solid performance and envokes an added layer of empathy once one learns the personal reasons behind his scientific pursuits. The movie also does an exemplary job of hinting at how Apes eventually rose to replace humans as the dominant species of the planet without any obligatory nods to the Heston classic ever overshadowing the origingal story being told.
Aside from being undoudtedly the best prequal to a film franchise ever made this movie just delivers on just about every level and I suppose I can now add "not seeing The Rise of the Planet of the Apes" when it was in theaters to my increasingly long list of personal regrets because it is so damn awesome.


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