Thursday, August 18, 2011

Short Review of Rise of the Planet of the Apes 2011

Oh hello blog.  Long time no see.

The Planet of the Apes films perfectly illustrate the movie law of diminishing returns.  The first film is an undoubted and much referenced classic, but it's sequels became increasingly ridiculous until the unnecessary Tim Burton reboot in 2001 put what seemed like the final nail in the simian coffin.  Slinking in to the cinema with the somewhat unwieldy title Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Rupert Wyatt's second feature after prison-set modern classic The Escapist answers a question not many of us were asking.  How did the apes take over in the first place ?  And possibly, how long till Andy Serkis gets an Oscar for one of his motion-capture performances?
A plank of wood masquerading as James Franco stars as a scientist RECKLESSLY CUTTING CORNERS to try and save his father from a slow decline into Alzheimers.  The film meanders gradually until Franco's super-intelligent chimpanzee Caesar has become fully grown and morphs into a stunningly motion-captured Andy Serkis creation.  From this point on, the film becomes a genuinely exciting and intriguing experience as Caesar continues to grow more intelligent and increasingly aware of his fundamental difference to everyone he meets.  Wyatt bravely allows Serkis/Caesar to hold centre stage and his journey from surrogate child to 'King of Apes' is funny, moving and on one notable occasion when Caesar tricks a stupid and cruel jock to come closer with a disturbingly human gesture, remarkably creepy.  The film builds to a spectacular and exciting conclusion with an utterly thrilling assault on the Golden Gate Bridge by an army of liberated apes.

It would not be a surprise if this film leads to more Planet of the Apes films, if that is the case one can only hope that they continue the good work of this flawed but surprisingly high quality entry into the Apes canon.

Rating  ****

No comments: