Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Posted: August 23, 2011 in Movies

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a reboot of the 5 film series of the 1960s/70s, which in turn was based off the 1963 French Novel. This film sets out to tell the very beginnings of the Ape revolt.

It starts with San Fransisco scientist Will Rodman researching a cure for Alzheimers, which has stricken his father (John Lithgow). He tests a drug on apes made to repair brain cells. Through a series of circumstances Will ends up raising a baby monkey at home who displays heightened intelligence. Will’s father, who was a cultured man in life, names the monkey Caesar.

Years later, the course of events lead Caesar to being kept in a shelter with other monkeys, where he is not accepted at first. He’s very depressed and lonely, until he comes to attain leadership among the captive apes.

Unlike what’s considered “typical” summer franchise flair, Apes is primarily a character piece. We follow Will and his despair over his ailing father, who Lithgow plays wonderfully. We also see his ethical struggles and the conflicts that come from the business side of medicine.

The strongest part of the movie is Caesar himself. We follow him through his joys and his despair, share his concern when he wonders to Will if he’s a pet, and ultimately cheer for the Apes as they revolt against, well us. Rise of the Apes is perhaps the only movie with a CGI character (not counting full CGI movies like Toy Story or Shrek) that I truly cared about. He was definitely a better character than say, any of the Transformers or Star Wars characters of the last ten years.

Action comes at the end as we see the Apes outsmart the humans on the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s a great scene that shows in one shot why Caesar will become a mythical hero to be remembered by the Apes for all time. It’s interesting to see that the Apes don’t intend to rule the planet, (In fact even in combat Caesar is purposefully non-lethal) and that it’s not necessarily the Apes that wipe humanity out.

For Easter egg specialists one of the humans who mistreats the Apes says that line “Get your hands off me you dam dirty Ape,” which is what Charlten Heston said in the original film. Also there’s passing reference to the Icarus space ship, which is from the films and original novel. Apparently in this movie it had a manned mission to Mars and gets lost. That’s all I know of as I haven’t seen the old films.

Rise of the Apes is one of the better reboots made, which hopefully will lead to a great film series. 9.8/10.


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