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July 12, 2017

Rise of Planet of the Apes (2011) --- "Sometimes A Reboot Can Have Positive Results."

Plot Summary
 Will Rodman (James Franco), a scientist in San Francisco, is experimenting with a drug that he hopes will cure his father's (John Lithgow) Alzheimer's disease. After his work is deemed a failure, Will becomes the guardian of Caesar, an infant chimp who was exposed in-utero to Will's drug. Caesar displays unusual intelligence, and Will decides to continue his experiments secretly. But as Caesar's intellect and abilities grow, he comes to represent a threat to man's dominion over Earth. (1)

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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     I was a bit hesitant to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) when it first came out, partly because I loved the original 1968 version and the 2001 reboot did not do the franchise justice. After seeing the film, I was truly surprised that I enjoyed the film. The script is very well written by being both entertaining and intellectual with a certain depth of storytelling that it is very rarely seen in movies today. In films like Transformers, the non-human characters end up getting lost somewhat as the plot is primarily driven by the human characters. This film does not do that, in fact, the humans take a back seat in the film and are mostly there for dialogue purposes. This allows for the ape-centered story to shine through and it does so with purpose.

     Director Rupert Wyatt (The Gambler) clearly understands the moral of the story and knows how to provide an appropriate amount of thrill every scene. This allows for the mouth-agape moments to be most exciting. Normal apes/monkeys/gorillas have some impressive physical abilities, so the film gives audiences an insight as to what it would be like if apes had more intellectual brains, like with humans. Most of the action is displayed in final scenes but the tension leading up to that has been slowly building since the opening scene. As a result, the action does not have to super explosive or in your face in order to make a point but instead, the action is more subdued and allows for some imagination-inspired gore. In addition, like with humans, the film demonstrates that there are two kinds of apes some are violent and evil in nature while others are sympathetic and merciful. The film is more of a thought provoking throughout and it forces audiences to put themselves in Caesar’s shoes.
     Andy Serkis (Gollum/Smeagol in The Lord of the Rings) through the use of motion cap technology, delivers a great performance as Caesar, who is a superbly animated character. Since Caesar has very few lines in the film and Serkis has to use his facial expressions to portray what he is thinking, feeling, and ‘saying’. It also helps that the CGI is good and the character development is written very well.  In my opinion, Serkis outperformed most actors in Hollywood and he did so without saying a word. Throughout the film, audiences with go through all of his emotions and will be able to understand what he is wanting to say. Both James Franco (127 Hours) and Freida Pinto (Immortals) portrayed their respective characters well -  as scientist Will Rodman who is experimenting with his Alzheimer's cure on apes and Will’s love interest Caroline Aranha.

     Overall, Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) is a very entertaining and thought-provoking film that focuses on humanity itself Despite the fact that many people familiar with the story of Planet of the Apes and know the end result, Rise of the Planet of the Apes continues to maintain interest by asking moral and ethical questions like, ‘What is human nature?’ or ‘What does it mean to have humanity?’ The film easily pays respect to the original 1968 classic, while still doing its own thing. Some of the minor human characters are uninteresting but that doesn’t make much difference considering their screen time is small. Other than that the other human and ape characters are driven by excellent performances from Franco, Pinto, and especially Andy Serkis. The film does end relatively quickly after the battle but that only entices audiences as to what is to come in the sequel, Dawn of Planet of the Apes (2014).

“Caesar shows cognitive skills that far exceed that of a human counterpart. The drug in his system has radically boosted healthy brain functions.” 
Will Rodman [from trailer]

Final Vote
Worth Seeing:  4.5 of 5 star
Worth Buying:  4.5 of 5 stars

I hope you liked this post, subscribe to my blog via email HERE, send in your comments, and watch Rise of Planet of the Apes (2011).

Movies Similar 
Godzilla (2014)
Jurassic Park (1993)
Jurassic Park 2: Lost World (1997)
Jurassic Park 3 (2001)
Jurassic World (2015)
King Kong (2005)
Planet of the Apes (1968)
Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)
Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)
Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)
Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)
Planet of the Apes (2001) REBOOT
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)
War on the Planet of the Apes (2017)

Cast & Crew
Directed by Rupert Wyatt
Writing Credits: Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver
Produced by 
     Peter Chernin             ---   producer
     Dylan Clark                 ---   producer
     Thomas M. Hammel  ---   executive producer
     Rick Jaffa                    ---   producer
     Mike Larocca              ---   co-producer
     Amanda Silver            ---   producer
     Kurt Williams              ---   co-producer
Music by Patrick Doyle
Cinematography by Andrew Lesnie
Film Editing by Conrad Buff IV and Mark Goldblatt
Production Design by Claude Paré
     Andy Serkis                           ---            Caesar
     Karin Konoval                      ---            Maurice / Court Clerk
     Terry Notary                         ---            Rocket / Bright Eyes
     Richard Ridings                   ---            Buck
     Christopher Gordon           ---            Koba (as Chris Gordon)
     Devyn Dalton                        ---            Cornelia
     Jay Caputo                             ---            Alpha
     James Franco                       ---            Will Rodman
     Freida Pinto                          ---            Caroline Aranha
     John Lithgow                        ---            Charles Rodman
     Brian Cox                               ---            John Landon
     Tom Felton                            ---            Dodge Landon
     David Oyelowo                     ---            Steven Jacobs
     Tyler Labine                          ---            Robert Franklin
     Jamie Harris                         ---            Rodney
     Ty Olsson                                ---            Chief John Hamil
     David Hewlett                       ---            Hunsiker
     Joey Roche                            ---            Todd Hunsiker
     Madison Bell                         ---            Alice Hunsiker
     Makena Joy                           ---            Alice Hunsiker (Teen)
     Jesse Reid                              ---            Donnie Thompson
     BJ Harrison                           ---            Dottie
     Chelah Horsdal                    ---            Irena
     Mattie Hawkinson               ---            Linda

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