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Friday, August 12, 2011

Rath's Reviews: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

There's always one surprise movie of every summer lineup. Last year it was clearly Inception, and in 2008 it was Iron Man. They are movies that most of the general public go into not thinking much about it and come out enthralled (for me, I knew Inception would blow my mind, but it still surpassed my expectations). With the summer movie season wrapping up in a couple weeks, I think it is safe to say that besides Green Lantern, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is this summer's surprise hit. While certainly not on the same level as Inception, only time will tell whether this movie becomes a classic, it certainly has the makings to be one.

I'll admit, the first time I saw a trailer for this one I had to laugh and roll my eyes because I was 100% sure it would be terrible and unnecessary. Looking back, the film's weak trailers are the main reason it is so phenomenal. The best parts of the film are no where to be seen in the trailers and for me, that made it so awesome. On a sidenote, I wish more movies would start to do this; save their cool parts for the movie and make the trailers less awesome. I dont want to attend Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol having already seen all the amazing action sequences. Alas, that will probably not happen, but truthfully that is what made this movie so successful. There are two particular scenes in the movie that could have been put in the trailers, but because they were not, they were made sooooo much better. The first scene (about halfway through the movie) silenced an audience like I have never seen before. Many of the audience members were laughing from a just-delivered nostalgic line and the retort that followed shocked everyone, including me. The second scene during the action scene on the Golden Gate Bridge features what could be the most iconic image of the summer. I dont want to spoil any of these moments, so you will just have to see it for yourself.

As cool as this picture is, this is not the iconic scene I was referencing.
As for the movie, it was not quite what I expected. There is really only one action sequence, but truthfully that is all the movie needs. The story is honestly as good and believable as they could have made it considering the subject matter, and the plot moves in a logical path instead of rushing to the uprising. The acting by the visible actors (Ill explain what that means in a minute) is decent, nothing special. James Franco does his part as does everyone else, but the movie could definitely use more Frieda Pinto (the gorgeous woman from Slumdog Millionaire). She seems like she is just in the movie because she is a female and it needs a female. Also, Tom Felton (aka Draco Malfoy in the Potter series) plays a fairly major hatred role towards the apes, but I expected him to spit out "POTTER!" at the end of every line.


The real star of the movie however, is the creature you see above, the chimp named Caesar. Believe it or not, Andy Serkis (famous for Gollum in Lord of the Rings and King Kong in the remake) is in that creature somewhere. Using the combination of motion capture and CG, all of the apes in the movie are actually a mix between human actors and computer technology. And I must say it is simply amazing. Serkis' performance is astounding, with just movements and facial expressions as his lines, we always know what this chimp is thinking (made super smart by a drug being tested by James Franco's character). There is already Oscar buzz surrounding the performance by Serkis, and it is much deserved. Caesar is probably the most developed character of the summer and by the end of the movie you are on his side, not the human's.

Clearly, I loved the movie. It does have its faults somewhat, and the logic is not completely there. I mean really, how do a bunch of super smart apes take over the planet? But is it fun? Hell yes. And just like the chimps in the movie, this film is smarter than it has any right to be. All hail Caesar.


Pros:
  • Amazing performance by Andy Serkis. Caesar is the most memorable character of the summer.
  • Special effects will definitely get an Oscar nomination. 
  • The Golden Gate Bridge action sequence is smart and well choreographed. 
  • That one scene...ohhhhhh my was it memorable.
  • That other one scene....iconic. 
  • I always love a good surprise when I go to the movies.
Cons:
  • Should be re-titled Rise of the San Francisco Apes. At least in this film, they only make it across the Golden Gate Bridge. 
  • I can't get over the fact that Draco...er damnit...Tom Felton didn't say "Potter!" at the end of each of his lines. 
  • Frieda Pinto needs more screen time. She is a better actress than to be just a filler role. 
 Rath's Review Score: 9/10

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