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Rise of the Planet of the Apes [Blu-ray + DVD] (Bilingual)
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A galaxy's worth of nihilism buried under a '70s Velveeta topping, the Planet of the Apes series stands today as a dark marvel of pop cinema, a group of wildly variable films that combine to form a giant inescapable kiss-off to the human race. (That said message was able to withstand such distractions as ever-cheapening makeup and Charlton Heston loudly pounding sand makes its achievements even more impressive, really.) Boasting a keen awareness of its predecessors' particular charms and a gem of a central CGI performance by Andy Serkis, Rise of the Planet of the Apes makes for a rather miraculous summer movie: a big-budget special effects extravaganza that also delivers a killer backhand. Sort of redoing 1972's Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, the film follows the events set in motion when a bereaved scientist (James Franco) attempts to create a cure for Alzheimer's, resulting in a supernaturally intelligent chimp named Caesar. The old bit about science tampering in God's domain quickly applies. Director Rupert Wyatt (The Escapist) displays an admirable sense of pacing, deftly levying the escalating action scenes with small character moments from the likes of John Lithgow and Brian Cox. That said, the film belongs to Caesar, whose path from wide-eyed innocent to reluctant revolutionary generates the ironic pulp empathy that gave the original series such a kick. Watching the climactic confrontation on the Golden Gate Bridge, it's distressingly easy to figure out which side to root for. Chuck Heston would no doubt grit his teeth in approval. Note: Those skeptical that this revamp could wholly retain the original's doomy backbeat would do well to stick around during the end credits. --Andrew Wright
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I'm trying to avoid giving away any spoilers!
It's pretty obvious where the film is heading if you know anything about the previous Planet of the Apes films. As an origin story, this film really sets up the stage. Apes are the good guys. Humans are the very bad guys. But you knew that already!
This is a good movie for men and women. Snuggle up during this holiday season, get a lot of popcorn and enjoy one of the best films of the year.
Having seen the first POTA with Charlton Heston, the fish out of water, topsy turvy, apes rule the planet is hard to emulate and surpass from a storytelling point of view, as is the mythology of the original story, with the enlightened though cruel apes having their own spin on the evolution of the planet.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes begins the mythology, shifting west from the Statue of Liberty to the Golden Gate Bridge. Scientists have a positive intention, such as finding a cure for cancer or alzheimers, and making money in the process, yet exploiting innocent creatures to do so. When this gets out of control we have unintended consequences.
The mythology of the birth of Caesar under unusual circumstance, to a mother dosed with performance enhancing drugs parallels the birth of Moses, who would grow up to lead his people out of Egypt (San Francisco) to the promised land (Muir Woods). Human hubris, leads to the fall of humanity and the rise of the Planet of the Apes.
Following the purging of the 12, Caesar as a baby, is discovered not in the rushes but in a cage, and secretly raised by a scientist (James Franco, and his girlfriend (Freida Pinto). We know that he has extraordinary abilities, that must be kept under wraps. Nevertheless Caesar has to contend with his own instinctive nature, and acting with the intention to protect gets into serious trouble. Caesar observes, and learns from his mistakes. When we see a recurrence of a similar situation he handles it differently.Read more ›
The plot is deceptively and predictably simple: The hunt for a cure for the Next Big Thing (in this case, the cure for Alzheimer's) leads to an unexpected Obviously Dangerous Thing (here, really smart apes).
But the plot is just the foundation upon which a well-designed, satisfying story is built. The relationships between Caesar the super ape (Andy Serkis), Will Rodman the kind but misguided scientist (James Franco), and Will's ailing father (John Lithgow), are engaging and lend the movie its emotional core.
The prison scenes are harrowing and punctuate Caesar's character arc from not-quite-human-but-pretty-damn-close to revolutionary leader for the voiceless uber-minority. These Shawshank-like scenes also serve to imbue the ape characters with humanity their keepers lack.
The escape and take-over scenes are suitably rousing, bringing to mind such films as Gladiator, Braveheart, and Cobra Verde.
It is no surprise that PETA gave the film its dubious thumbs up, given the above-mentioned Save the Animals theme. But its approval was officially given in recognition of the fact that no living breathing apes were used in the filming of the movie. At all.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
One of my all time favourite movies. The plot, soundtrack, casting choices, dialogue are very well done.Published 3 months ago by yvonne
Excellent movie i really enjoyed it I realize everyone has their own taste in movies I give it a 10 rating.Published 4 months ago by Dennis Hercus
DID NOT KEEP ME ON THE EDGE OF MY SEAT BUT NOW I TRULY BELIEVE MAN CAME FROM THE APES.(OR SOMETHING LOWER ON THE FOOD CHAIN).Published 6 months ago by Byron Freeman
Have seen them all from Charleton Heston to James Franco. Really enjoyed this storyline. There all good.Published 9 months ago by James Grier