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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

The original Planet of the Apes movies were done well before my time. Back in 1968, a young Charlton Heston traveled to post apocalyptic earth to discover it was now run by gorillas, chimps, and orangutans. That began a successful string of films leading up to the 2001 Tim Burton remake of Planet of the Apes starring Mark Wahlberg. Fast forward to 2011. Anyone who had seen the original movies wondered how the Apes had taken over earth. The new film, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, answers all of those questions, and foreshadows more prologues to the original films.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes is not an action movie. If you are expecting to see hours of Ape v.s. Human combat, this is not the movie for you. The movie is about a young scientist played by James Franco, who has discovered a potential cure to Alzheimers. The lab tests the cure on apes, and Franco determines that the cure has been raising the intelligence of the apes. One of the apes has a baby, which Franco eventually takes home, names Caesar and raises him on his own.
Caesar displays enhanced intelligence and rapidly develops into a member of the family. Franco’s father suffers from Alzheimers, and Franco eventually steals some of the cure from the lab and uses it to cure his father. When Franco’s father relapses, Caesar comes to his aid to protect him, and ends up getting locked up by the authorities. I will not spoil the movie for you, but it is quite deep. Many dynamics are at work. Is Caesar a pet, a child or an equal? The intelligence Caesar displays is incredible, as he leads the apes to freedom.
The Graphics are on par with movies like Avatar. Every ape is entirely computer generated. The previous films feature humans with makeup and a bit of CGI assistance. The monkeys here were made from scratch and look absolutely incredible. Andy Serkis “plays” the role of Caesar. He himself is not in the film, but his face was used to help create the emotions that Caesar conveys through his emotive facial expressions.
There is a little bit of everything for people in this movie. There is love, action, death, drama and a bit of comedy. I enjoyed every minute of the movie and would recommend it to everyone. Once again, if you are expecting non stop action, this movie is not going to provide it. However, if you enjoy thought provoking movies with great acting, graphics and a stellar storyline, the Rise of the Planet of the Apes will not disappoint.


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