Rise of the Planet of the Apes: Review

How often does a series reboot actually live up to it’s predecessor?  The answer is barely ever, (X-Men withstanding) but in the case of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, a fresh take of the sci-fi classic delivers a punch very different from the original but just as effective.  This film also succeeds as one of the few films to use digital technology for nuanced dramatic effect and it really works here.  The only two other films where CGI improved on a films dramatic effect were “Lord of the Rings” and “Avatar” and wouldn’t you know it, same FX team that brought those movies to life.   This movie can even be set apart by those where the special effects enhance the film’s looks and characters, this one actually carries the film as Ceaser the enhanced chimp is the main character and driving force of the film.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is the story of a biologically augmented chimp (Played wonderfully in motion capture by Andy Serkis) named Ceaser who is raised by the scientist who created him played by James Franco.  Franco’s character is attempting to cure his fathers Alzheimer’s and in the process created a drug tested on chimps in turn enhancing their intelligence.  Unfortunately the trailer ruined a lot of the action set pieces which are remarkable, but luckily the meat of the film showing Ceaser’s progress and story arc are extremely entertaining mostly due to the above mentioned special effects.  Most of the time poor CGI can remove you from the story but in this case it keep you invested the entire time.  Having empathy for a computerized animal is difficult, but when they emote so well it’s hard not to.  The movie also boosts a pretty interesting epilog during the credits that I actually got sort of chuckled at, be it that wasn’t really the point.

There are winks at the previous source material that will tickle fans of the old movies, but this one does fine standing on it’s own.  The movie isn’t pitch perfect with a few over the top villainous characters (I’m looking at you Draco) and for some  may be put off by it being a tad preachy in it’s socially aware messages but it doesn’t take anything away from the task at hand, which is an entertaining pop corn sci-fi flick that won’t insult your intelligence.  The pay off comes in a giant battle between man and ape on the golden gate bridge that is pretty spectacular.  I expected very little from this film and was pleasantly surprised when it was all said and done.  I regret not seeing this in theaters and recommend a blu-ray buy.

A- (An awesome revival of a sci-fi classic. see it soon.)

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~ by ATOM on January 12, 2012.

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