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Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Rise of the Planet of the Apes: Great Ape Action Blockbuster

  • Andy SerkisBrian Cox...
  • Action & AdventureDrama...
  • Rupert Wyatt
reviewed by
Omar Atef
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Rise of the Planet of the Apes: Great Ape Action Blockbuster

Franco plays Will Rodman, a scientist developing a smart drug to help cure
Alzheimer’s disease, which his father Charles (Lithgow) suffers from. Using chimpanzees as test subjects for his
drug experimentation, Will is closing in on a final cure until an accident results in the death of one of the female apes. Will adopts the surviving ape infant and
names it Caesar.

Soon, Will begins to notice that the drug has accelerated
Caesar’s intelligence. Feeling encouraged by the development, and the possibility
of curing his father, he drives on with experimenting with the drug. Though
his girlfriend Caroline (Pinto) continually warns him of the potential
consequences of raising Caesar as a super-intelligent chimp, Will loses control
of the situation, and the effects are deadly.   

original Planet of the Apes is one of
the most iconic science-fiction films of all time, producing a franchise of seven
films, two TV series and many comic books. As the latest addition to the
franchise, Rise of the Planet of the Apes
serves as both a prequel and a complete reboot to the original film series.

Many were understandably hesitant about the idea of a Planet of the Apes prequel; Tim Burton’s dreadful 2001 remake is as
good as any reason to expect little from anything baring the franchise’s name.
Yet surprisingly, the film that no one wanted to see has now become one of this
summer’s biggest blockbusters.

film’s hook lies in its main character: Caesar, a fully computer generated ape voiced brilliantly
by Serkis. Rather than using actors with heavy make-up as with previous instalments,
this is the first film in the franchise to employ motion capture CGI technology
to bring the apes to life. Serkis, who is no stranger to CGI performances
having played Gollum in the Lord of the
series to great acclaim, gives a compelling performance as Caesar that
truly outshines the ‘human’ cast, so to speak. His portrayal of a character
that turns from a young and
playful infant to an oppressed and angry leader of a revolution is a credit to
him as an actor and to the script as well.

human performances pale in comparison, with Franco giving a decent performance as
Will, and Pinto serving nothing more than being just a pretty face. Felton and
Oyelowo are given the task of playing one-dimensional villains but
they make the most out of their roles.

Lithgow gives a great performance as
Will’s father; the picture of a man suffering with such an ill-fated and
helpless condition, brings a much needed sense of reality to the fantasy of
intelligent monkeys. Because the film
tells the story of how the apes have risen up against their ‘masters’, it’s only natural that a good portion of this film is devoted to the apes more than
the human characters. And surprisingly, those are the most effective scenes in
the film.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes has all the ingredients of a huge summer
blockbuster, providing a great story and unexpected good performances, while
also delivering impressive special effects. Long-time fans of the series will particularly
enjoy the homage and many references to the original 1968 film, while newcomers
will find it a great introduction to the franchise.

Like This? Try

Planet of the Apes (1968), Children of Men, Avatar

360 Tip

Former Spider-Man Tobey Maguire and Jurassic Park star Jeff Goldblum were both considered for the part of Will Rodman, but negotiations fell through and the part ultimately went to James Franco. 

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