Sunday, August 7, 2011

Movie Review - Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

I was in Pittsburgh this weekend visiting my Dad and my daughter Mallory who is beginning graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh.

After dinner Saturday night, my brother Tim and I decided to go see Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The early reviews had been good, and as a fan of the original Planet of the Apes series I was looking forward to seeing the movie.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is excellent. The story revolves around a scientist named Will Rodman, played by James Franco, who is working on a cure for Alzheimer's Disease. As it turns out, he has a very personal motivation for doing the work, as his father, Charles Rodman, played by John Lithgow (and very well I might add) suffers from the disease.

The company that Will Rodman works at uses chimpanzees for their testing, and Will early in the movie ends up adopting a baby chimp his father names Caesar.

Caesar, through circumstances I won't reveal here, turns out to be very intelligent and the movie follows his growth into an adult, intertwining his life with Will Rodman's continued experiments with the Alzheimer's drug.

The screenplay is very well written. As this is meant to be a prequel to the Planet of the Apes, the plot line of how the apes become dominant, along with how humans will succumb to the apes is revealed. My brother Tim noticed subtle references to the original Planet of the Apes series, which provides clues to future events in the inevitable sequels to the current form of the movie.

I enjoyed the movie. I particularly liked the fact that even though there is violence, the injuries (and yes some deaths) are not gory. In addition, the movie makes a statement on how man can discriminate against other men (or in this case apes) whom they consider inferior and how there can be a price to pay for that.

My only criticism of the movie is that I felt the computer generated image of Caesar was a little unrealistic looking. I believe the intent of the creators was to have Caesar's features be more human than chimpanzee, but I was uncomfortable with it.

I also should add that Freida Pinto (of Slumdog Millionaire fame) looks great in this movie, playing Will Rodman's girlfriend, Caroline Aranha.

This is a great movie, well worth a visit to your local theater. I also was very pleased when the famous line from the original Planet of the Apes (1968) uttered by Charlton Heston's character, Colonel George Taylor was once again spoken in this movie. Do you know the line I'm talking about?

I will let you discover it for yourself in Rise of the Planet of the Apes.


Dan O. said...

Good Review! This is that rare summer movie that has brains and emotion in addition to the spectacle. It is also such a great film that it makes us forget about the 2001 piece of junk that Tim Burton tried to do but actually failed. Check out my review when you can!

Jiresell said...

Will do, thanks for the kind note!