Rise of the Planet of the Apes – Movie Review

18 08 2011

Ape shall never kill ape.

To the best of my memory, that catchphrase didn’t appear in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. However, this 2011 installment makes all sorts of fun references to the original set of Planet of the Apes films (1968-1973). I was skeptical at first, but Rise turned out to be a worthy addition to this gigantic sci-fi series about a bunch of monkeys that have taken over the world.

The story of Rise concerns a virus invented by James Franco’s character that is able to increase your intelligence. Through certain events, this virus ends up inside a chimpanzee named Caesar, and he is the one who will lead the apes to world domination. Freida Pinto appears as Franco’s love interest, but her character is quite redundant and her acting isn’t good anyway.

The hot topic is Andy Serkis, who does an amazing motion capture performance as Caesar himself. Although Caesar is a CGI character, you are still able to connect with him. Whenever he feels happiness, anger, or sadness, you can feel it too. All the CGI monkeys might look a little fake, but you will get used to it eventually and perhaps even find yourself rooting for these computer generated creatures.

Where this film misses the mark, is that I don’t think it is as unique or thought-provoking as the original Planet of the Apes films. Rise touches on animal cruelty for a while, but later on becomes more of a monomyth where it’s just Caesar leading his army to victory. The conclusion of Rise is a bit anti-climatic, and we never get to see what the title suggests.

In the end, the good points outweigh the bad points. The character of Caesar is interesting and emotional, there is a good amount of exciting action, and the score by Patrick Doyle (Thor) elevates the entire film. Just like 2009’s reboot of Star Trek, Rise of the Planet of the Apes will pull in new fans and make them interested to go check out the old stuff. (Just leave out the Marky Mark version!)

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29 responses

18 08 2011
Phischy

Nice review yourself, it seems like we’ve come to a similar conclusion, with a few varied points. I’ll probably keep an eye on your blog, it seems like you’re doing a great job of keeping up with movies and things and providing some comment. Keep at it!

18 08 2011
Ipodman

Oh thank you! I try my best to keep this blog as shiny as possible!

18 08 2011
dirtywithclass

As summer blockbusters go, i think this is is one of the best ones of recen memory

And btw i saw Red Riding. If you want to to more of my thoughts on it i’ll let you know, but for me i found it uneven. There were some moments that worked, but imo they were few and far between

19 08 2011
Ipodman

I gave both Rise and Red Riding 3 stars, but Rise is definitely better than Red Riding. In fact, I think Red Riding is probably my most overrated movie of the year lol.

How did you find the werewolf itself?

19 08 2011
dirtywithclass

Not that great. Although the thing that annoyed me most was how everyone talked about how the werewolf tears people apart, but none of the bodies seemed all that injured at all. I overall feel like the premise demanded something darker, and neither the writer or Hardwick seemed ready to deliver on that.

19 08 2011
Ipodman

Well, I guess they couldn’t get too gory. Speaking of which, 2010’s The Wolfman was extremely gory but I didn’t like that movie.

18 08 2011
fogsmoviereviews

That’s a good point about the Star Trek reboot. These are both very similar. Taking the source material from about the same period, gussying it up with fancy effects and everything, but then telling a story thats not as good. LOL.

Like Star Trek (200… whatever) this one is fun enough, too. You’re totally right, it’s all about Ceasar. He’s great. Everyone else, not so much.

The final battle scene was great, even though by the end that didnt completely own the world yet. They should have called this flick “The Seed of the Planet of the Apes” LOL.

19 08 2011
Ipodman

Or “Town of the Apes”… and I think the ending is just sequel bait.

21 08 2011
fogsmoviereviews

Town of the Apes. Heh. 😀

21 08 2011
Ipodman

Or “City of the Apes”. Heh.

19 08 2011
Anonymous

I think the uber long title is a bit of a turnoff but I’m looking forward to Andy Serkis (Gollum in LOTR) turn up another excellent CGI performance as an ape here. great review 🙂

19 08 2011
cineramaetcetera

great review 🙂 i forgot to log before I posted my earlier comment.

19 08 2011
Ipodman

Thanks! Andy Serkis is excellent here, and there’s even a cool reference to LOTR (which shocked me)

I don’t mind the weird title since all the Planet of the Apes movies are titled like that anyway, and it shows that these movies are not gonna conform to mainstream rules.

19 08 2011
JOnKEnna

I agree with all your points. You’re definitely right that Rise isnt as thought-provoking as the 1968 film but compared with the other Summer blockbusters of the year this is positively cerebral! Great blog. Have subscribed. Hope you’ll subscribe to mine.

20 08 2011
Ipodman

Thanks! Rise is certainly putting up a tough fight with other blockbusters of the year.

19 08 2011
CMrok93

Nice review. I was very pleasantly surprised by this movie, especially given how disappointing nearly all of the big blockbusters have been this summer.

The apes (especially Serkis) completely upstage the human actors. I’m also starting to think Freida Pinto is just a pretty face (she hasn’t proven anything acting-wise so far after all). Hopefully, Serkis will be rewarded for his outstanding performance.

20 08 2011
Ipodman

Yea, Serkis should be officially recognised for his motion capture performances in this film and other stuff like LOTR or King Kong.

20 08 2011
cineramaetcetera

I hope so too. he has been great in most of his portrayals 🙂

19 08 2011
scarletsp1der

“The conclusion of Rise is a bit anti-climatic, and we never get to see what the title suggests” –I like this point! We did see the Rise, but perhaps expected more. Instead we just see the beginning of the incline.

Great review.

20 08 2011
Ipodman

We saw the Town of the Apes.

21 08 2011
Kay aka Babygirl

I didn’t want to see this movie because honestly.. I felt why would I want to see an ape get drugged, then rebel, and everyone seems surprised about it lol. But you definitely wrote an incredible review.. so we’ll see if I watch it now

21 08 2011
Ipodman

I love the film’s stand against animal cruelty, and the CGI apes didn’t turn out as bad as I imagined.

22 08 2011
The Hook

I’ll catch this one on DVD. Great review!

22 08 2011
scarletsp1der

I’d strongly encourage you to see it on the big screen. A worthy film to do so!

23 08 2011
Ipodman

But it’s not in 3D -.-

23 08 2011
scarletsp1der

possibly all the more reason to do so! Plus, depending on your television, the beauty of the CGI on the apes, and Andy Serkis MoCap performance is best on the big screen.

(my opinion)

23 08 2011
Ipodman

You are right, movies are meant to be experienced in the cinema with an audience. But nowadays the DVD is released so shortly after the theatrical run that people are just more comfortable buying/renting it when it becomes available. I ALMOST DVD-wait this film, but in the end decided that I love Planet of the Apes and want to give this new installment some box office power.

29 09 2011
MeAllOverThePlace

Meh, sez I.
While I appreciate you review I still feel that this film is overhyped to a large extent. I love the CGI monkeys, I’m totally fine with the Dad-Son-Monkey family life (cause I think it’s endearing and tells us something about Cesear’s motivations) but my oh my do we hit a bumpy road as soon as we get into the “monkey shelter”. Excuse me, but while I not only call bullshiz on the existence of anything like that (well, anything designed like that and big like that) I especially roll my eyes like they’re taking a fucking rollercoaster ride cause really, that “Draco Malfoy” mistreats me and Papa Franco doesn’t rescue me quick enough is what it takes to start an Ape vs. Men revolution?

Give me the evil lab-monkey anytime over that, in terms of motivation. BUT, the evil lab-monkey looks evil, cause hey you know, evil guys usually do. Oh and scars and all forms of non-standard pretty are thus a clear sign of evil…blargh. What the heck? And you’ve got one black man in that feature and he is a greedy asshole that dies?

I’m mostly frustrated because half the film is really good and there is all this incredible potential to create something wonderful. And then, well, it all kinda falls apart.

1 10 2011
Ipodman

I agree with you that the “monkey shelter” and the “Draco Malfoy” parts of the story didn’t really work very well, but overall the good parts makes up for the bad parts.

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