I’m not gonna lie to you, I think RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES is a pretty decent reboot. I wouldn't call it a powerful film but the effort to gradually show how the apes come to respect the charismatic Caesar is the film’s biggest point. That said, how is it possible that the recent Oscar nominee James Franco suddenly turns into a 2nd rate actor whose performance is bland and unbearable?! I just don’t get it! Franco in this film makes Mark Wahlberg’s role as a science teacher in The Happening look convincing.
I think WETA does a good job with the looks for the apes and the man who loves wearing mo-cap suit, Andy Serkis has done it again, if there’s an Oscar category for mo-cap, that man should win it every single time…
An origin story in the true sense of the word, RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES is set in present day San Francisco. The film is a reality-based cautionary tale — a science fiction/science-fact blend where mankind’s hubris leads to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy. Oscar(R)-winning visual effects house WETA Digital – employing certain of the groundbreaking technologies developed for “Avatar” – will render, for the first time ever in the film series, photo-realistic apes rather than costumed actors.
I don’t wanna spoil too much here but I find the ending a bit unsatisfying, because I wanna see how the apes take over the world, not just San Francisco city, but I guess you have to leave some for the sequel.
I’m impressed with WETA’s results. What you get here aren’t actors wearing suits anymore, so the design for each ape, from the facial expression and their behaviors, down to the last detail looks ridiculously close to the primates we see at the zoo. I applaud whatever the research that those WETA guys had to go through and the technology they use to bring us on screen apes that don’t act like that god-awful gorilla from Kevin James’ movie Zookeeper.
Some audiences may be turned off by the CG apes but it’s personal preferences, they may be the same audiences who thought Hal Jordan wearing a CG suit was a bad idea.
I think RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES story is very smart in that it manages to combine the relationship of Franco and his dad, suffering from Alzheimer, with Caesar’s upbringing and their connection with the drug that not only makes the apes smarter, it also causes humans who are exposed to it, to fall ill and eventually die.
So the story is set in a way that it tells you how it all got started and how it could make sense.
The story gives humanity to Caesar. I really enjoy watching the evolution of Caesar’s character or personality from being part of the family, to wondering if he’s just a pet, to a self-realization that he never actually belonged with Franco’s character at all.
Once again, I don’t know what the problem is with Franco but he is not on top of his game. He’s done terribly this year in both Your Highness and this film. The only actors I can vouch for is John Lithgow who does a fantastic job, playing a man with a deteriorating memory and health condition and the other actor is David Oyelowo who plays practically the bad guy in this film, the money-thirsty businessman with eyes set only on what can be profitable.
RISE OF THE APES in its essence is a cautionary tale, a tale of doing the right thing vs. taking desperate measures, a tale that I think is quite effective despite its very few flaws.
GRADE: 4 out of 5
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