Kenneth Turan of the LA Times refers to Caesar, the lead chimp in Rise of the Planet of the Apes as ‘one sophisticated chimpanzee.’ Yep, agreed.
Turan refers to the film itself as ‘one sophisticated summer blockbuster.’ Umm, maybe that’s a bit much Turan.
The Rise of the Planet of the Apes is very aptly named for that’s exactly what the movie is all about. Will Rodman (James Franco) is a scientist trying to find a cure for Alzheimer’s in an attempt to save his own father (John Lithgow) from the debilitating disease. When Will’s employer Gen-Sys begins testing the drug on apes, Will notices an unexpected side-effect, the drug makes the apes smarter.
When the main test subject, Bright Eyes, goes on a wild rampage in Gen-Sys HQ, the project is closed down and all the apes are put down – except one, Caesar. And now to make a long story short. Will takes Caesar home. Caesar grows up. Caesar attacks a man in defense of Will’s senile dad. Caesar is taken to a primate facility. Caesar is mistreated. Caesar retaliates. And therein begins the upRISing.
There’s more to the story but I don’t want to give too much away. Because, the one thing I especially enjoyed about Rise of the Planet of the Apes was that it kept you thinking even as the credits began rolling (unless of course, you’re one of those smarty pants who figures everything out 5 minutes into the movie).
There’s even small details thrown in, just for something a little extra. For example, during one scene Caesar is seen playing with a 3D jigsaw of The Statue of Liberty. Accident? I don’t think so. (If you’ve seen the 1968 Planet of the Apes you’ll see the connection.)
That’s another thing that surprised me. Rise of the Planet of the Apes seemed to be more in line with the 1968 Planet of the Apes starring Charlton Heston, which seems strange to me as the whole idea of Rise of Planet of the Apes was to continue building the franchise from Tim Burton’s 2002 Planet of the Apes.
Either way, I do admit that I did enjoy Rise of the Planet of the Apes. It works great as a prequel and really answers most of the questions that Planet of the Apes brings up. Mainly, how did the apes come to rule the planet? That being said, there were also some pretty huge logical compromises we as the audience had to make in order to accept the plot. Things like the animals’ behaviour in the primate facility. Pretty sure apes aren’t quite so civilized and pretty sure they don’t communicate through human sign language. Which makes me a little disappointed because I think the screenwriters could have addressed those issues better with a little extra creativity.
Oh, and pretty sure it’s illegal to keep a pet ape in the US and pretty sure that somewhere in the eight years that Will had Caesar that someone would have ratted him out to the cops. But otherwise, it’s a good genesis movie and alright entertainment if you’ve got 100 minutes to spare.