Reviews

Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes

4

Hail Caesar!

 

Rise of the Planet of the Apes reviewA decade has passed since Tim Burton’s Planet Of The Apes reimagining – time enough not just to upgrade its old-school prosthetics with photorealistic CG hominids, but also to learn from its mistakes.

In thrall to his 1968 inspiration, Burton produced an inferior copy that, rather like Mark Wahlberg’s character Leo, didn’t seem to have a single idea in its head.

Rupert Wyatt’s reboot-slash-prequel rights that immediately by being about something: animal testing, nature versus nurture, the perils of DNA tinkering. This time around, it’s not just the apes that have above-average intelligence.

In a lush, far-off jungle, a female chimpanzee is seized by poachers and relocated to a hi-tech lab in San Francisco, a journey telescoped via a single zoom in and out of her panic-stricken pupil.

It’s a technique – used again later to elide her son Caesar’s transition from baby orphan to inquisitive, hyperactive infant – that instantly forges an empathy between ape and audience.

And it’s one that is only bolstered by the trials Caesar undergoes as he progresses from being scientist James Franco’s pet-cum-experiment – the key to a serum that could reverse his dad’s Alzheimer’s – to eventually instigating a full-blown monkey rebellion.

Those ordeals include his forcible detention in a squalid animal shelter and bad treatment at the hands of both Tom Felton’s sadistic custodian and his fellow primate inmates.

Is it any wonder we’re rooting for him to cast off his shackles? It’s classic hero stuff: the boy who would be king, evolving before our eyes into a leader, fighter and military strategist.

Indeed, if Andy Serkis’ soulful, performance-captured portrayal achieves anything, it is to make Caesar a chimp of thought as well as action.

Yes, /Rise/ has its flaws. As Franco’s profit-obsessed boss David Oyelowo might as well come on twirling a moustache (“I run a business, not a petting zoo!”), while Freida Pinto is a sententious, preachy pain as his primatologist girlfriend (“Some things are not meant to be changed!”).

Yet any cavils are long forgotten by the time the movie reaches its jaw-dropping crescendo, a spectacular bout of gorilla warfare on the Golden Gate Bridge that leaves several of the summer’s blockbusters for dust.

In putting the apes firmly at the heart of their own franchise, while still referencing backwards with a few well-placed, Heston-related in-jokes, Wyatt has given a moribund property a whole new lease of life.

Verdict:

With simulated simians authentic enough to make Project Nim look almost phoney, allied to an involving, evolving story, Rise is the Planet we’ve been waiting for.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • FBGMakin

      Aug 5th 2011, 12:20

      There's no need for the apes to be CGI, except for the action shots.

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    • Mattsimus

      Aug 5th 2011, 20:46

      4

      I dont think its a need for CGI, if they can do it and do it well, then why not! noone complained about gollum, especially after he swept up at the oscars 3 yrs in a row and put ILM back to bed, plus the last reboot apes 2001 used costume and it never really felt like a make up progression and I have to say this movie looks impressive and now with a host of good reviews on both sides of the pond i guess its justified!!! Having said that Jurrasic Parks anamatronics is still unchallenged.

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    • Nigellious

      Aug 6th 2011, 2:37

      Prosthetics do hinder an actors performance somewhat and it would look to fake if they merged prosthetics with cgi it better to keep it constant.

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    • galenurko

      Aug 9th 2011, 10:03

      RISE is a stunning, stunning achievement.The CGI debate needs to factor in the stage at which these Apes are evolution-wise.They're still unevolved Apes--unlike the original movies where there had been evolution into humanoid Apes.I was anti CGI initially but now I admit I was totally wrong--RISE is an absolute truimph, showing thar good script and film making will always trump any number of Cowboys and Aliens.Apes are back,folks.APES RULE!!!!!!!!!

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    • PurpleNightmare

      Aug 15th 2011, 1:54

      Although I do love the original planet of the apes, this film is simply so stunning I'm thinking about switching allegiances. I do love a good monkey film!

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    • chaosdefined

      Aug 15th 2011, 10:17

      Incredible film, very well written and directed. Though, sorry to be pedantic, but Chimps/Apes are not Monkeys.

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    • endaoconnor

      Aug 20th 2011, 0:45

      1

      Great film

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    • endaoconnor

      Aug 20th 2011, 0:45

      1

      Great film

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    • endaoconnor

      Aug 20th 2011, 0:47

      Ok that should have been five stars not one, grrr, something wrong with your stars Total film

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    • ChrisWootton

      Aug 20th 2011, 23:34

      4

      Really enjoyed this.. cracking movie

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    • FBLClarke

      Aug 24th 2011, 11:38

      2

      I thought this was a fantastic movie.

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    • Jrdnsans1792

      Aug 29th 2011, 15:14

      1

      Terrible film, one of the worst i've seen in ages, never have i walked out of the cinema but this is the closest i have ever come to it.

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    • baldeelox

      Sep 10th 2011, 10:29

      2

      great flick hope the thing is as good as this as a prequel...effects were great and if anything they could do another before the film jets forward to when the original starts..

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    • hulk68

      Sep 12th 2011, 22:21

      Absolutely fantastic movie enjoyed it thouroughly a worthy prequel to the legendary original. Never blinked. Good stroy Great apes Pinto was excess though.

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    • Jareth64

      Apr 23rd 2013, 12:02

      3

      It's pretty good. Hugely overrated, though.

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