Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes
Director: Rupert Wyatt
Cast: James Franco, Andy Serkis, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Tom Felton, Brian Cox
In My Own Words
I have just had a double dose of James Franco. Not complaining at all.
I decided I had to see the early session of Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes today so I could come home and catch the interview with James Franco on Hamish & Andy’s Gap Year, a weekly television show by an Australian comedy duo. I know I have said it before on here, but James Franco is one of my most admired actors. I admire how he is able to take part in university education at a PhD level, which is no easy task in itself, as well as juggle him film career. I’m sure it does take its toll on him and Franco probably really enjoys a good night sleep, but I just admire him so much for knowing the value of a college/ university education. Plus he is a fantastic actor, there is no denying that.
The other man I would like to pay tribute to here is Andy Serkis. With this film he has sealed for himself the title of being the greatest CGI (computer-generated imagery) actor in its existence thus far. He first found fame playing Gollum in The Lord Of The Rings trilogy. It is said that Peter Jackson was pushing for Serkis to be nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal, but the academy wasn’t convinced on the CGI front. There are whispers on the net that Serkis fans believe that his efforts as Caeser in Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes are worthy of a nomination.
I take my hat off to (actually I don’t take my hat off, purely for the fact I am just not wearing one right now) Mr Serkis. You’ve just got to hope that he isn’t a method actor. He might not be the most popular person in his social circles if he spends his time being an ape!
These are my own words and here is my review.
Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes is the Planet Of The Apes film for those who didn’t like Planet Of The Apes.
More dramatic and heartfelt than its predecessors, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes still has the elements which make the phenomenon such a cult favourite. It has been revamped with the amazing technology used in film today to make the characters seem more lifelike than ever before. And thankfully, what Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes possesses which many action blockbusters haven’t of late is a solid story to support of the amazing images we are seeing.
Will Rodman (James Franco) believes he has found a cure to Alzheimer’s disease in a substance he has been testing on chimpanzee’s. However, the substance is found to make these apes substantially smarter and more aggressive. Will finds himself adopting a baby ape who has lost its mother in tragic circumstances and he and his father (John Lithgow) name him Caeser. As Caeser grows, it becomes evident he has inherited some of the characteristics his mother had as a result of the substance. He doesn’t seem to be too much trouble, until he his protective instincts kick in and he is then placed with his own kind, which is when all hell breaks loose.
What makes Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes work so well is the way the story is played out. It completely flows and it kept interesting throughout the whole film. It is not all about the attack of the apes, as some people may think, but more about the evolution of how the apes turned against humans. The actual attack in the city of San Francisco is perhaps the only part of the film which seems over the top ridiculous, yet it is what the film is moulded around so it really cannot be neglected in the film. It is what Planet Of The Apes is all about.
There really are some emotional moments and rather than the relationship between Caeser and Will be about scientist and specimen or human and pet, it is about best friends and family. There are underlying themes of companionship, family and also of loss.
The CGI is truly amazing in this film. From the very first scene in the lush forests where the apes way of life is disturbed, you are constantly struck by how far film has come. We are now able to create for ourselves animals for the screen which we don’t have to train or worry about how much they are going to disrupt filming. At many occasions during the film, you forget that these are not actually real apes, but CGI creations. In 1968 when the first Planet Of The Apes was released, who would have ever thought we would be able to do this rather than make masks and have people dress up as monkeys?
Although James Franco has top billing for this movie, it is Andy Serkis who is the star of the film. Serkis is now a master of CGI after his performance as Gollum in The Lord Of The Rings trilogy and Kong in King King. You have to remember that every emotion you see Caeser give and every moment, is Serkis himself. When you see Will walk around with Caeser on a leash, that is Serkis on the leash. He really is an incredible actor and one of a kind.
Franco is also very good in this film. He never forces his performance and is subtle at all times, which really works in his favour. John Lithgow is another standout as Will’s father crippled by Alzheimer’s. Freida Pinto is fine as Will’s girlfriend, Caroline, but although being Caeser’s doctor at the beginning of the film, she doesn’t have much of a purpose for the rest of the film. Tom Felton does well in his first post- Harry Potter role. He carries on the bad boy attitude as Dodge, who loves to torment to apes. He is allowed to get a bit more aggressive in this film than he ever did as Draco Malfoy.
Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes will never let you look at apes the same way at the zoo again. You may be paranoid that they are plotting to take over every time they look at you and nightmares involving gorillas wouldn’t be too much of a surprise. Great to see a prequel that reaches a wider audience than what it’s previous films did.