Rise of the Planet of the Apes

James Franco

Andy Serkis

Freida Pinto

John Lithgow

Tom Felton

The highly praised Rise of the Planet of the Apes deserves all the recognition it’s receiving. A well written script by Pierre Boulle, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, and very well directed by Rupert Wyatt.

When a movie is able to capitalize on writing, direction, and acting it’s sure to be a hit. Rise of the Planet of the Apes captures the essence of an ape named Caesar whose raised by Will Rodman a highly intelligent scientist who believes he’s got the cure for Alzheimer’s disease. The film is an eye opener to how important research has become, while at the same time showing the disconnect we as humans have to the item/thing/being that we are researching upon.

As Will continues to believe he’s got something that could possibly change the world, he notices that Caesar is becoming curious of his surroundings. Where are the other apes? Where is his real caretaker? Why does he look so different compared to Will and the other humans he is surrounded by. At some point an animal that should not be confined in a home, will show signs of curiosity. Will attempts to show Caesar where he came from and why he ended up being Will’s responsibility. After multiple mishaps in the neighborhood, animal control forces Will to move Caesar into a shelter for apes. At first glance the place looks decent, but we quickly realize life will be hell for Caesar in this poorly ran shelter. Caesar can only take so much, and decides it’s time for the “rise” let’s show these humans we are not useless animals who yell and fly from tree to tree.

The “rise” is absolutely fantastic, and the final scene on the Golden Gate bridge is a work of technology and story telling.

The brilliant Andy Serkis plays Caesar, and as you can see technology plays a huge role in what translates onto the screen. Serkis gives an unbelievable effort to bring this ape to life. In this day and age, we see technology in virtually every action movie we watch. Often the technology takes center stage, while the acting and writing takes a backseat. In Rise of the Planet of the Apes Serkis proves that technology and acting used simultaneously has loads of potential. As you watch Caesar you forget that Serkis is behind all the emotional expressions and incredibly realistic movements. Serkis has now built a reputation with mastering this form of technology, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets an Oscar nod for his performance behind the screen.

James Franco plays Will Rodman a talented scientist who thinks he has a breakthrough item, that can cure Alzheimers something his father is battling throughout the film. Will raises Caesar  as if the ape was his child, and sees incredible growth that is eerily similar to that of a human. Caesars actions are stunning, and Will quickly realizes he has an ape that displays unbelievable intelligence. Franco who is taking Hollywood by storm plays the role well, and genuinely cares about Caesar’s well being.

Tom Felton plays Dodge Landon the insensitive jerk who works as a “caretaker” for apes on parole. Felton is very convincing in the fact that he makes you hate him the entire film. The whole thing plays out like Shawshank Redemption for apes, and Felton is the warden. Caeser finds himself in this facility after causing problems in the neighborhood Will lives in, and the place is filthy. Landon shows no compassion to the apes, which leads to the “rise” of gaining respect by the apes.

Freida Pinto plays Caroline Aranha a doctor, and James Franco’s love interest. Pinto’s role is for the most part a filler, but her beauty graces the screen well. She understands apes and is the first to tell Franco’s character that apes cannot be cooped up in a house, they need freedom. After seeing unbelievable success from Slumdog Millionaire, Pinto finds herself involved with another massive hit at the box office.

John Lithgow plays Charles Rodman, Will’s father. Lithgow is fairly significant in the film as his Alzheimer’s disease connects with the bigger picture. Caesar looks at the Rodman’s as his family and does everything a normal human being would do to defend that family. The only problem is a defensive punch from us, is a little different than getting attacked by an ape that can move around at a blistering pace. The entire process is interesting, and Lithgow makes a nice connection with Caesar.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a wonderful summer film, and quite frankly the best one I have seen so far. This coming from a person who hasn’t seen the original with Charles Heston, nor any other one for that matter. This film is a PREQUEL, so no prior knoweldge is needed. It’s a must see for any movie lover. The film captures the essence of showing respect to apes, letting them roam free without fear of being experimented upon, all while mixing brilliant CGI effects and action. The viewer has no excuse to be bored during this well written film.

My 1-10 scale = 8

Box Office Report Courtesy of Box Office Mojo

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