Rise of the Planet of the Apes, I don’t like that title. But it’s basically a prequel/reboot to the Planet of the Apes movies, minus the bad Marky Mark one. Experimented apes grow too intelligent for their captors and rise against them.
The good; the CG for the apes is amazing. There’s a lot of emotion and expression in their faces. I know it’s fake, but it draws me in. The moral implications of testing on animals as a backdrop works nicely. That coupled with Will’s (Franco) desire to cure his father from Alzheimer’s is very clear for his motivation. There’s a lot of nods to the original 1968 movie, easter eggs if you will – *POSSIBLE SPOILERS*;
The main chimp’s name is Caesar which is the same name for the chimp in Battle for the Planet of the Apes.
There are more than just chimps who grow smart, there are gorillas and orangutans, much like how the labor is divided up among the species.
There are riot police on horseback, with clubs, and the electric prod is shaped like a club from the original movie, there’s even a scene where an animal handler captures an ape with a net. All of this is reminiscent of how the gorillas wrangle the humans. At first I thought, why are they in San Francisco, guess it’s to have the horse cops.
The line, “Get your hands off me you damned dirty ape” is present.
There’s a manned space mission that goes to Mars, the shuttle is called the Icarus, and is later lost… are we to believe that Charlton Heston and crew are on that flight??? Nice touch.
There’s also use of a school bus, that’s painted like something from the seventies.
*END POSSIBLE SPOILERS*
Some more good things-
The character of Caesar really drives this movie, it’s not all action of humans mistreating apes and then those apes fighting back. There’s actually build up to the fighting, which is almost absent from films lately. You’re really rooting from Caesar and Will.
The bad; probably the marketing of the movie, the trailers make it seem to be about the action and the fighting, where the movie is something else. The beginning of the movie is very cliched, Will’s raving about his scientific breakthrough, while at the very same time his chimp is going ape (pun intended?) and literally crashes in to the meeting he’s having, thereby ruining all forward progress he potentially had.
The protagonist of the movie shifts, first we’re with Will, then Caesar, it’s an odd choice.
I was torn where to put this next bit, but decided to put it here, cause otherwise I wouldn’t have much for this section, haha.
The story, it’s really Pygmalion or My Fair Lady. Will (Franco) experiments on apes, they become smarter, and out of that is born a smart chimp, without any drugs – directly that is. So Caesar grows up with Will and his father, knowing humans but not being one. So Caesar is an anomaly, he doesn’t belong anywhere, almost similar/exactly like Eliza Doolittle. But after that initial inciting incident, it’s different.
Oh and the title… sheesh…
Overall, mediocre. It doesn’t have the edge that the original movie has. With time I didn’t find myself revisiting this movie again like I thought I might’ve, I kinda don’t care about the sequel. Now this is just me, but I always liked not having the intelligent apes origin to be based in science experiments, Caesar was born out of a paradox, because the cats and dogs died, then the humans trained apes. Caesar being of the future but born in the past is capable of revolting. So it’s sad to lose that. And the apes don’t evolve into humans, but that’s just me believing in creation.
Also, the tag at the end, while not at the end of the credits, cause you should stay and see the names of all the people that worked on the movie, fits with being slightly after the initial credits which explains how the humans got overrun by apes?