Rise of the Planet of the Apes Reviews
It's not quite as good as its sequel, but this reboot/prequel to Planet of the Apes boasts just as good CGI, and better human characters.
Stripping away the space travel aspects from previous films, ROTPOTA takes place entirely on Earth and is immediately grounded in reality. With this springboard in mind, the film serves as an origins story chronicling the origins of the titular apes; James Franco plays Dr William Rodman, a scientist who is working on a potential cure for numerous mental health problems dubbed ALZ-112, the process of which involves experimenting on several live apes. Rodman takes in one particular ape named Caesar after his mother is killed in an escape attempt and raises him. But as Caesar begins to exhibit more intelligent and human-like behaviour, Rodman and his colleagues face increasingly difficult problems as they try to keep the situation under control. Throughout its hour and forty five minute run time, ROTPOTA puts across numerous themes that resonate in both its setting and our own reality; human nature and our lack of understanding, treatment of animals, the ethics of science and more which all coalesce to make a very thoughtful story. This combined with a potent mix of heartfelt moments and well filmed action makes the plot very engaging all the way through. But the greatest aspect of the film's plot is its build-up; pressure gradually increases on Rodman to deliver to his superiors, save his father (played by John Lithgow) and keep Caesar safe from harm and as he pushes harder with his resources to make those results happen, it becomes clear that an inevitable catastrophe is closing fast. Audiences are sure to be fully hooked on the plot, but the film's successes don't stop there.
With the many emotional scenes layered across the plot, the characterisation always works to compliment these moments; at the heart of the film is the bond between William and Caesar, which goes through a great deal of development as William raises the clever chimp to adulthood and Caesar eventually begins to question whether he belongs with humans to with his own kind. William's relationship with his father is also very emotional and plays into the plot very well. The character of Caesar portrayed by Andy Serkis is incredibly fascinating; he's a deeply misunderstood member of society who only lets loose with violence in self-defence and yet he's forced to endure so much over the course of the film; by the time ROTPOTA reaches its end, Caesar has grown into much more than an ape trying to fit in which contributes even more to an already solid plot. The only real issue with the cast is that some of the human characters could have had more development to make them feel more important to the overall narrative, particularly Rodman's boss Steven Jacobs (David Oyelowo) who could have had more deliberation on the science tests before the climax but otherwise everyone does a fine job selling the characters.
It's hard to believe just from reading this review, but the motion capture technology used in ROTPOTA could be the finest use of the technology ever seen in a live action film. From beginning to end, the apes really do look shockingly life-like from the movements to the facial expressions thanks to the efforts of Andy Serkis and the visual effects team. But the brilliant work doesn't stop there; the action is always well framed which really makes an impact with the more extravagant scenes such as when Caesar climbs the redwood trees and observes San Francisco in the distance as well as many other wide shots which put across the scale of the more action packed moments. The music is both heartfelt and tense, perfectly matching the mix of emotion and action the film gives to us. What it comes down to is that ROTPOTA ultimately does just as good a job on the technical as it does plot and characterisation.
ROTPOTA is an incredibly thoughtful and satisfying reboot that could well end up standing on the same level as the original 1968 classic. It's a brilliant new beginning for the series and it's a summer blockbuster well worth watching.
The cgi is off the scale in this monkey fest, where a chimpanzee achieves enlightenment and then spreads it to other apes.
Its basically a tale of slavery and empowerment.
Like I said pretty slow..