Rise of the Planet of the Apes Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ August 2, 2011
Being absent for over a decade, the Apes return to the big screen, creating a film that is unbelievably impressive, both on a technical scale and how they were able to adapt this material for the modern age. This is exactly what the franchise needed to give filmgoers a modern feel to the Planet of the Apes saga. This time, it is the events leading up to the 1968 original film and having the events reversed, the humans are trapping apes and testing them, however, it has always been destined to not work that way. This film shows true emotion knows exactly how to create truly gripping scenes between the humans and the apes. This is modern day hollywood at it's finest and I will definitely be referring to this film in years to come. "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" may not be the most original film of all time, but it is definitely one of the best prequels I have ever seen. This is a gripping film with great direction and fantastic visual effects. I can't wait for the sequel!
Super Reviewer
August 15, 2011
VERDICT: TOTALLY WATCHABLE -
Where did this come from? Rise of the Planet of the Apes is the biggest surprise of 2011.
The effects are great, but what really connects with you is Andy Serkis' performance as the ape Caesar. You feel as emotionally attached to Caesar as any of the human characters, and I believe that's exactly how the filmmakers wanted you to feel.
This is a film that concentrates heavily on its story. Boasting remarkable acting, and truly mesmerizing moments (some only involving CGI apes communicating in sign language), make sure you seek this film out by any means necessary!
Super Reviewer
½ August 17, 2011
The only 'Planet of the Apes' franchise film I have ever seen is the Burton 're-imagining' and I quite like that version as it was visually stunning and a good fun adventure. Right from the start you could tell this new film was a completely different animal altogether...no pun intended. The comicbook-ish approach has gone and we now have a much more serious sci-fi on a grander more epic scale.

The visual effects on the apes during the character build up and introduction of 'Caesar' was slightly off in my opinion, it was good but there wasn't much of a wow factor going on. The faces did look a bit plastic and too obviously CGI, but as the film progresses and the apes become more aware with Caesar growing in intelligence, it seems the CGI gets better at the same time. By the time Caesar is really plotting his escape and takeover the CGI on his face and entire overall body movement is really quite impressive. This goes for all the other chimps and apes too, especially the gorilla and orangutan which really look fantastic up close along with their body and hand movements.

The plot is decent and a good ride, it starts off slow no doubting that, and there is a lot of character and story building with the experiments and slow evolution of Caesar. At first I was getting a little twitchy I must admit but the story does eventually get a hold of you and I did find myself really getting into it quite quickly. What is nice is the fact they have tried for a clean reboot with a fresh new plot, sort of. Instead of just remaking the original films they have gone with a new approach that has ties with the original films (mainly the fourth one), thus giving a relatively new and fresh aspect to the franchise which was important.

Honestly the human side of the film is rather boring with Franco and Pinto not really gelling whilst Cox and Lithgow are merely background props (good props I might add) which disappear very quickly. Its all about the apes and for most of the run time your just itching for those apes to break free and kick some homosapien ass! When they eventually do its well worth your money as the finale will get your heart pounding as you cheer for the apes to reach freedom. Those damn dirty humans are in their way but luckily we see some great man stomping...but with intelligent action.

What was impressive was how Caesar would not let his fellow primates kill humans needlessly, of course a few do bite the dust but if Caesar was around he didn't want it. Whether that is to show he has evolved and won't sink to that level or the creators just wanted a family friendly film rating I don't know, but it worked well as a character development for the main ape.

The finale is really the cherry on the icing on the cake! a full blown Hominidae rampage through San Francisco with lots of very well realised chimps, one gorilla and an orangutan. It is good that the film doesn't resort to lots of guns and masses of apes being killed, there is a small element of that but it doesn't get over blown with silliness which is good to see. One or two moments of Hollywood craziness perhaps, when the gorilla leaps onto a chopper from the Golden Gate Bridge, and the use of that certain iconic piece of dialog (again!), does that really need to be used again simply because its a 'Planet of the Apes' franchise film?

One of the best films of the year so far for sure, its actually been constructed with some level of intelligence behind it creating a solid foundation. Fits in well with the original franchise films, a decent musical score to evoke emotion with heights of achievement and it has a good ending...although slightly leaning towards a roaring iconic '2001: Space Odyssey' grandiose type finish. kinda manages it too believe it or not!
TomBowler
Super Reviewer
June 12, 2014
Terrible, terrible idea executed fantastically. Full review later.
Super Reviewer
February 23, 2014
I didn't realize until I read other reviews that the apes were not real. The story is interesting, the special effects amazing.
garyX
Super Reviewer
August 3, 2011
Caesar the chimpanzee is the genetically altered product of medical research and when he becomes the victim of the mistreatment afforded to all research animals he uses his superior intelligence to escape captivity. Well it seems that finally, after 43 years, the classic Planet Of The Apes has a worthy sequel! The latest instalment of the simian franchise takes the basic principle of the well meaning but weakly executed Conquest and combines it with elements of Greystoke to create an interesting animal orientated character study of a creature that's neither man nor ape. Once again Andy Sirkis proves his incredible skill in breathing life into animated creations and although the cast of homo sapiens acquit themselves admirably, they all take a back seat to man's best computer generated friend. It's also very nice to see a film in which the special effects actually facilitate the story instead of replacing it and as a result, Rise is one of the most intelligent and best sci-fis of recent years. I hope that this is a sign of things to come. Well, not the apes taking over the world bit, obviously...
Super Reviewer
May 18, 2013
Fun and exciting film with spectacular CGI. No surprises in the storyline, however. Lithgow is good but Franco's acting was not very convincing.
Super Reviewer
August 2, 2011
Just not a fan of watching the world coming to an end. Also, I was always cheering for the humans.
Super Reviewer
March 22, 2013
A solid action film, but mostly unmemorable.
Super Reviewer
½ January 21, 2013
Monkenity
Super Reviewer
January 4, 2013
Rupert Wyatt directs a mesmerizing prequel to the acclaimed franchise. The groundbreaking special effects and Andy Serkis' portrayal of the evolving 'Caesar' mixes and provides a grand spectacle that has revived this series. 4/5
Super Reviewer
½ October 27, 2012
The best showcase of special effects and motion capture technology since Peter Jackson's Kong, and again it features Andy Serkis (the go-to motion capture actor, and for good reason) as an ape. The best moments in the film- the most touching, dramatic and memorable- are those between apes, unavoidably brushing the human relationships to one side, leaving them a little wan and wanting. That said, they provide a very solid framework for the story, which is both memorable and suitably epic.
maxthesax
Super Reviewer
September 2, 2012
I really wanted to enjoy this "prequel" to the 1968 Charlton Hesston film, as that original film, seen when I was 12, made a huge impression on me; but try as I might, and in spite of some nice moments during the first half of the film, this one left me shaking my head over what could have been.

There is a certain shorthand to filmmaking; a way in which a certain character is portrayed so that you know instantly, without much dialog, who that person is and how he plays into the script. The secret to a good film is masking this shorthand so that, while we understand what we need to know we aren't hit over the head with the signs and portents. Sadly, the shorthand is all too obvious here - from the money grabbing company exec to the "bad example of humanity" dude who mistreats the apes in his charge. We've seen it all before and yes it gets the point across, but you get the feeling that the writers were taking that easy shortcut. Same thing with the female/love interest - a totally superfluous part that only adds irritation - boy meets girl, boy of course has relationship with girl - all film shorthand.

But then there's the real story - that of an experiment that goes sideways, leading to apes with increased intelligence. I'm not going to reveal all that goes on, but I will say that this part of the film is true and realistic, and the CGI, especially where it involves Gollum is well done, it's just unfortunate that the film spins off the rails in the last 3rd, becoming the huge spectacle that I'm sure the studio bosses asked for. Too bad, for there was a nice little morality tale before all the violence and confrontation, and frankly, a quite silly ending where the hero (a luke warm Franco) follows the apes to Muir Woods (ok kiddies, I grew up in SF, and hey, it's like a 30 minute drive from GG Bridge to Muir Woods), just so there can be this odd moment that sets up a really bad bit of CGI (not that there wasn't bad CGI from the point that the film switched gears and went all battlemania on us).

It was a nice touch that the action took place in and around SF, but there were quite a few liberties taken as well as a huge gaff in the continuity department. The young ape, Caesar, has a birthmark on his left shoulder - for the last half of the film that birthmark is on his right shoulder - oopsy.

I did enjoy the dovetailing reverences to the original film (including calling one ape "bright eyes"), however the film never resolves the issue presented in the first film, where all the buildings are gone except for the statue of liberty, which is now across dry land instead of in the middle of the New York waterway - so, while explaining much of what "could have happened", they chose to ignore this one, as there was no way to make the post apocryphal message of the first film fit into this genetic engineering gone bad premise.
Super Reviewer
½ May 26, 2012
Intelligent as good science-fiction films go, but leaves nothing that hasn't been seen, nothing new here.
Super Reviewer
½ August 17, 2011
A very good film which acts as a prequel to the original films. Good cgi and SFX overall, plenty of action but also with plenty of depth to the characters and story. It has some nice touches that link it with the other films to. Better than I expected.
YodaMasterJedi
Super Reviewer
March 20, 2012
three stars
Super Reviewer
August 28, 2011
A very entertaining B-movie about a wimp ape that goes gangster. Entertaining with great looking CGI.
sergioogarcia
Super Reviewer
January 9, 2012
I love it! Makes sense. We're far from it and it's not that I think this could be possible, but as a science fiction lover it fullfill my expectations. Andy Serkis still the favorite monkey of Hollywood. But his acting is superb. Cesar. The start of everything. While James Franco is looking to regenerate neurons to cure Alzheimer, the experiments with apes goes beyond his expectations. Amazing FX a very good story and directing.
cosmo313
Super Reviewer
August 3, 2011
What could have been just a shallow, shameless, and cheap attempt to cash in by using a name brand is instead a rather smart, thoughtful, and really impressive piece of work. This film is a prequel to the classic Planet of the Apes, but also borrows bits from other films in the series, and manages ultimately to also be its own thing.

Will Rodman is a researcher working towards a cure for Alzheimer's disease. While it does help human test subjects, the effect it has on primates is utterly remarkable, leading to some really unexpected developments. When circumstances get out of hand, Will finds himself the adopted father of a baby chimp called Caesar who, thanks to exposure to the experimental drug, begins to evolve at an accelerated rate and develop a vast sense of intelligence.

After a misunderstanding, Caesar is taken away and imprisoned in a primate sanctuary run by some ruthless and cruel humans who display no regard for the well being of the animals. Thanks to his intelligence, Caesar begins to form a rebellion which, given the film's title, though not surprising, is really exciting and well done.

Given the reputation of the three sequels to the original, and how people feel about the Tim Burton remake, I was a little iffy on this one at first. As I started to hear more about it, and see some footage, I started to change my mind, but decided to remain open-minded and wait until finally seeing it before giving a full judgment call.

Now that I have seen it, I must say, I am quite impressed. Storywise, this isn't groundbreaking, but it is really well done and pretty compelling at times. I was surprised by how much I found myself emotionally involved and connected to the characters, mostly the non-human ones. With the visuals and effects though, this is where the film is really brilliant. The motion capture effects and the way the CG is used is quite cutting edge, and the results are remarkably realistic and mind blowing. Thanks to the superb performance by the unseen Andy Serkis, Caesar is really brought to life and is a real character instead of just a visual effect. That I got emotionall stirred by a special effect the way I did really says something. Hell, the humans are the least identifiable and hardest to care for (for the most part) characters.

I love Franco, but I don't know if he was right for this. He's okay though, but not really that great. The characters played by Brian Cox but especially Tom Felton didn't surprise me in terms of where they fit into things, but they both do fine. Lithgow is good, but the weakest link here is Pinto, who isn't given anything interesting to do, and doesn't bring much to the table.

The drama is compelling, and, as I said, this is a pretty smart and thoughtful affair. There's tons of references and Easter eggs, most of which are fine, but there are two big thigns that really bug me, and that's what's really keeping me from giving this the extra half star it deserves. The first is the use of a line, rather THE line, the most famous quote from the original film. First off, why? Was it just for recognition purposes, or did they feel they couldn't make the film without it? Whatever the case, I could have done without it, mostly because I felt it was forced in. Not only that, but right after it comes a major payoff, and probably the most important moment in the film, a moment that is lessened because of how the line is used and the fact that it kind of made me groan whe nit was said. The other big issue was the end. Not how the story ended, but the fact that a really important scene plays a bit after the end credits started rolling. I think they should have just had that scene right before the credits instead. Also, the pacing felt rather uneven overall. There's some great build up and development, but then the final act feels really rushed, and this problem could have been fixed by either increasing the film's running time, or not charging to the conclusion, leaving a bit more for a sequel or something.

All of that aside, this was a fantastic film. It looks incredible, the effects are top notch, the action is great, and this was overall a hell of a lot better than I think anyone could have anticipated, and that's definitely a great thing.

Definitely give this one a watch, because it's awesome.
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