Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes
Rise of the Planet of the Apes. One of the most anticipated releases of the Summer, and also one of the most tedious titles. Some have just been calling it Planet of the Apes, but this simply adds to the confusion of the original and it’s remake. Others have gone for Rotpota, but that just sounds like some delicious French dish.
The basic plot is very simple; Will Rodman (James Franco) is experimenting on chimpanzees to find a cure for Alzheimer’s, but one chimp uses his new found smartness to lead the other apes to freedom. The less-basic is a lot more complicated. After one of the tests at Gen-Sys labs goes awry, all of the apes are ordered to be put down, but the kindly Will Rodman takes one home to leave as his child/pet hybrid, known affectionately as Caesar. After all sorts of untoward shenanigans such as having to wear a collar and being forced to live in an animal sanctuary, Caesar decides he’s had enough of this shit and the rest, as they say, is history (Read: can be seen in the original Planet of the Apes film).
Throw in a couple of useless actors, and waaaaaay too many inside jokes and references, and that’s essentially the whole movie. Freida Pinto goes from random nurse to Franco’s love interest in just a handful of cutscenes, and she had less lines than a limerick. Quite frankly she was a bit of a non-character, but I would have been happy to hear a lot less of her, and see a lot more of her, if you know what I mean. This was also the film in which Tom Felton tried so desperately to steer away from just being Malfoy. But he spectacularly fails, by choosing to be cast as an evil guy with a vast repertoire of cheesy lines (classic example: “Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape”), all delivered in a horrific American accent.
On the plus side, Franco delivers another solid performance (although nowhere near his best) and the visual effects of all the apes are provided by Weta Studios, who did the effects for Avatar. Andy Serkis plays Caesar, and probably provides the best performance of the movie. I was going to say this is probably because he’s had practice playing primates as King Kong (2005), but Franco has played humans many times before and it didn’t seem to help him.
It also turns out that pretty much everyone in this film is named after either a member of production or a character from the original movies. For example, Felton’s character Dodge Landon is named after Dodge and, er, Landon, who were two of the astronauts from Planet of the Apes. You’d have thought if they’d spent more time script-writing and less time referencing we would be left with a much stronger movie.
A final bit of trivia for you. Filmmakers have a habit of shipping their movies to cinemas with obscure codenames in order to stop any illicit piracy. This film was shipped under the codename ‘Salad’. I’ll leave you to work out why, so you can get that warm fuzzy feeling in your stomach when you do.
All in all, this was a great, fun film, perfectly balancing edge-of-your-seat action with heart-wrenching emotion, but you can’t help but feel it could have been a little bit better. Still, totally worth a watch. Given the box office success of this movie, it is likely that we will soon be seeing another inevitably long-named prequel. Stay tuned for The Beginning Of The Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (or Tbotrotpota, of course).
Want more from this author? Try a review of Insidious
Or for a related article, how about a Transformers review
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