on December 22, 2011
It's nice to see Hollywood producing good, quality movies. This is a classic example of how to get it right. The acting is top-notch and the story is believable. A lot of effort was put in to give this film a realistic, real-world feel. And I should also mention that the special effects are incredible.
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.
2011 may go down as the year of remakes, reboots, and sequels. We had Footloose, The Thing, Straw Dogs, the end of the Harry Potter series. We had great prequels such as Xmen First Class, the best of the series, and now we have Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
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.
Living in San Francisco I loved how these scenes played out in familiar locales, such as downtown San Francisco, and Muir Woods with the 150 foot high redwoods, which Caesar climbs, the panoramic views, and I particularly loved the confrontation scenes on the Golden Gate bridge, and how the fog was able to help with battle. I don't normally recommend special effects, except to say that they are outstanding.
Andy Serkis, who previously played King Kong, plays Caesar, and movie magic from WETA captures the almost human facial expressions, and makes us empathise with his situation, we can see his thought processes. I loved the prison scenes, and how Caesar rises to become leader, how he contends with the alpha male, his captors, how he organises his fellow inmates. Evolution becomes revolution.
Although the original with Charlton Heston is hard to beat, I loved this version. When a franchise runs out of steam, and a story runs out of possibilities, it is perhaps time to go back before the beginning, and start anew, and free of the restrictions of the original story, come up with something fresh and emotionally engaging. They did it with Batman Begins. That franchise was bereft of life.
Now they have it with Planet of the Apes. For once. I would love to see a sequel, where Caesar perhaps has a love interest, she gets captured, they have a kid, and there is a power struggle within the apes, betrayal, escalation with the humans. The possibilities are endless.
I think you will enjoy it, and I hope this was helpful.
on November 20, 2011
Rise of the Planet of the Apes feels almost like a well-constructed mini-series or film trilogy condensed into a single, streamlined movie. It is part techno-thriller, part family drama, part prison movie, and part revolutionary film. On top of it all, it is also a Jurassic Park-style cautionary tale and, of course, the set up for what promises to be an entertaining franchise reboot. Most of all, though, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a movie that manages to make special effects work for the story rather than the other way around.
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. Every one of the animals is a special effect created through the marriage of CGI and a group of talented actors in motion capture suits. Andy Serkis, as lead ape Caesar, in particular, is an absolute revelation.
He impressed with his performance as Sméagol, and was arguably the only good thing in the King Kong remake, but here he takes things to a brand new level. In a movie with a number of well developed characters and believable relationships (especially for a sci-fi movie), Caesar is given the most depth thanks to a stunningly nuanced performance.
It is surprising, in fact, to witness the way in which the filmmakers managed to give every one of the apes (at least, the ones given significant screen time) its own personality. And this, primarily through distinctive body language and facial expressions. It truly is a marvel to watch and, again, succeeds in turning you against your own species as you root for these evolutionary forebears of ours.
So besides technically impressive and well-written, is Rise of the Planet of the Apes entertaining? In short, absolutely. This is a movie that manages to entertain without requiring that you leave your brain home with the babysitter. Even the ways in which it builds tension--imbuing falling leaves with menace, for example--are done expertly and with a sense of fun.
In a year (heck, in a decade) of sequels, prequels, reboots and remakes, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is one of the few that proved worth making and proves worth watching.
I've never been a fan of the Planet of the apes movies. However, I've heard great things about Rise of the Planet of the apes! I've decided to give it a chance and it really opened my eyes!!! The story is so well done! Honestly, I can't think of anything superfluous about it! Everything has its purpose and carries the story forward! Beautifully told!!! Great acting and incredibly animated! Among the great movies I have seen in recent years, easily!!! It truly keeps you wanting to see what comes next! It converted me and I actually want to see where the story goes next!
on November 28, 2011
First off, I was never a fan of the franchise. I like sci-fi but always found this franchise, well- lame. What makes this movie worth watching for me is that it VERY surprisingly takes the time to develop both the human and more importantly the "ape" characters- so that when things hit the fan, you're emotionally invested. Once the action kicks in (and it does it ever kick in), it's at times ludicrous but fun. The occasional stupidity of the action scenes seem inconsequential as the simians are so well developed and even likeable, that its easy to look past. I'm still amazed at how the main chimp demands sympathy but conveys such menace at the same time. I never thought I'd say this about such a franchise, but I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next.
If you (like me) were appalled by Burton's "un-Burton" adaptation of Planet of the Apes, "Rise" should give you a much deeper and better appreciation of this undying franchise.
Although the concept is a tad far fetched, it's never too far away in our memory where drugs tested on animals may get them to become smarter than us... this is just taken one step further and makes me hopeful for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes next summer, as it sets the table nicely with amazing special effects, even though my biggest concern was James Franco who couldn't really pull off the "scientist" part of his role, much like I couldn't get around Liv Tyler in "Incredible Hulk".
As far as special features go, there isn't too much, but for the 75 or so minutes, it's worthy to take a look at parts of the production and deleted scenes as well as the usual EPK interviews.
Reboots are a new trend and it doesn't seem to diminish... and "Rise" is a reboot worth watching.
I loved the original series of films from this franchise but did not think a good remake was possible. After Tim Burton's train reck a few years ago I thought the idea of another film would never happen. Plus half of what made the original films so much fun was Charlton Heston's over the top acting ( who cant smile when a guy in a monkey suit is hosing C. Heston down as he yells out "It's a mad house" or him falling to his knees yelling "damn them all to hell" as he slams his fist into the sand. Also during the good years i can not even count the number of time The Simpsons have parodied these films. " Rock Me Doctor Zeous") Then this came out of nowhere. Very little advertising so I figured the Studio thought it was crap and were hoping to get (at best) their money back. Had a friend that saw it who said it was good but he also like Rocky 4 so i took it with a grain of salt. Out of boardom one night a few friends and myself watched the film. To my surprise it was good. I am actually hoping they make another. This story was originally the forth film in the original series. Wasn't a huge fan of it until the directors cut came out (you get both cuts of the original on that Blu ray. I am not talking about the new one). Someone actually put some real thought into this. I know it sounds extreme but they actually thought if this really happened what series of events would set this in motion. I know it's impossible but they really did a good job with the script. However I do think they got some of the idea from "I am Legend" (not Omega Man or The Last Man On Earth. But the new twist I am legend gave that story). I am not going to say anything else about the story line because I don't want to spoil it for anybody. If you enjoy really good Science Fiction you will probably at least respect this film for what it's trying to do. If you think this story is stupid before you even watch it don't bother. I don't think this is the film to convert anybody but it's a lot of fun for those of us who enjoy this type of film. Not putting anyone down. It just comes down to what your tastes are.
Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes arrives at blu ray with MPEG-4 AVC 1080p 2.35:1 encode. The transfer is simply gorgeous from start to finish. Considering all of the special effects wizardry undertaken by the WETA Workshop, you'd think Rise would've been shot digitally, but no--it was actually filmed on fine-grained 35mm stock, and that warm, natural filmic texture is still visible here, untouched by noise reduction or edge enhancement. The clarity and details are simply outstanding. Human skin and clothing textures are refined, but perhaps more impressive are WETA's CGI creations, which show a tremendous amount of detail, down to the individual hairs on the apes' faces. Colour is richly saturated too, with glowing skin tones, deep forest greens, and a generally warm cast, all bolstered by dark blacks and punchy contrast. (4.5/5)
This lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is dynamically aggressive and consistently engaging. From the very first scene, where you hear frightened birds explode in unison from out of the jungle canopy, you get the feeling you're in for some powerful and carefully considered sound design. The rear channels stay active throughout, supporting the ongoing action with pinpoint directionality. Dialogue remains clean, balanced, and easy to understand. The climactic face-off on the Golden Gate Bridge sounds especially fantastic, with helicopter rotors thrumming through the surround channels, massive outward-rippling explosions, and bullets spraying in every direction. (4.5/5)
TRIVIA AND GOOFS:
This movie has an estimated budget of $93 million, but grossed $486 million worldwide. It was also nominated for Best Visual Effects Oscar, but lost to Hugo.
This is the second film in which Andy Serkis plays an ape, having previously portrayed 2005's version of King Kong. He was also the motion capture actor for Gollum in Lord of the Rings, where he bites off Frodo's finger. His ape character Caesar bites the neighbor's finger in this role, too.
The head of the research department Steven Jacobs (David Oyelowo) is named after Arthur P. Jacobs, producer of the original "Apes" franchise. His production company, APJAC, was often referred to as "ApeJAC".
This is Charlton Heston's 5th 'appearence' in the Planet of the Apes franchise. (1) He starred in the original; (2) co-starred in Beneath the Planet of the Apes; (3) was seen in archive footage (kissing Zira in a sepia yellow flashback) in Escape from the Planet of the Apes; (4) had a cameo as Zaius in Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes remake; and (5) can be seen on the TV set in the Ape bunkhouse in the role of Michelangelo from The Agony and the Ecstasy in this movie.
In the original ending (which was actually filmed), Will (James Franco ) dies. One month before the movie was slated to be released, however, minds were changed, so Franco and Andy Serkis flew in over the 4th of July weekend to shoot the ending that stayed in the film.
Did you notice that on the Golden Gate Bridge, Caesar stands on the roof of a Nissan Maxima and raises his hand and roars as he stops the Apes advance, while in the next shot, Caesar is seen from the rear and the car is a Volkswagen Jetta?
I still treasure my blu ray box set of the original Planet Of The Apes (40-year Evolution) - 5 discs with a hard top book. It is displayed along side of my other box sets such as Ben Hur, Gone With The Wind, etc. In this 7th edition (counting Tim Burton's 2001 release), there is a sense of realism here that the previous movies could never even have tried to muster. Much of the credit goes to the famed WETA Workshop--which created the most realistic CGI apes yet seen on screen--and motion-capture all-star Andy Serkis, who is simply brilliant and absolutely the soul of the film. Highly recommended for all you apes fans! Further, at $19.99 (60% off) it is also a real bargain! I hope the above review is helpful to you.
Rabid fans of the Planet of the Apes series have long dreamed about a proper follow up to the established films, and a reprieve from Tim Burton's disastrous remake. 'Rise' is quite simply a magnificent origin story that flows well with the established canon of the original films while adding extra layers of complexity and personal touch to its running time. The film stars James Franco in a brilliant portrayal of Dr. William Rodman, a scientist on the verge of a breakthrough towards curing Alzheimer's disease. While a billion dollar biotechnology firm is backing Rodman's research, his is a much more personal stake. His father Charles (John Lithgow) is slowly succumbing to the disease, making everyday life intolerable. Rodman begins racing against the clock to perfect drug ALZ-112, which he tests on approximately a dozen chimpanzees. The drug performs magnificently with an unexpected side effect. The chimps have all gained massive intelligence. Things do not remain peaceful however, and before long a female chimp named Bright Eyes feels that her baby is threatened, and executes a rampage that culminates with a disastrous interruption at a meeting of the Board of Directors. Progress on ALZ-112 is halted and all remaining chimps are put down, save one: baby Caesar. Rodman raises Caesar in his home from birth while noting an unexpected side effect. Caesar has inherited his mother's hyperintelligence. As Caesar grows into adulthood and becomes more difficult to keep in the house, he also begins displaying heavy cognitive and comprehensive abilities which allow him to see the injustice being inflicted on ape-kind by humans. When Caesar lashes out a next-door neighbor and causes massive property damage, Rodman is ordered to turn him over to an ape sanctuary designed to rehabilitate traumatized primates. The sanctuary is a ruse however, led by the sadistic John Landon (Brian Cox), his son and several employees. Caesar falls victim to a festering contempt of humans, and begins manipulating events to plan for the eventual escape and triumph over their oppressors, which will have even farther-reaching consequences.
'Rise' does one thing very well. It takes its subject matter seriously. This in itself is a feat that propels the movie to a level of quality that deserves high respect and praise. Rather than focusing on humanity's own bigotry and short sightedness in the form of the ape, 'Rise' opts for social commentary on the dangers of genetic manipulation, decay of morality and the rise of social injustice and division among the population. It allows the viewer to see that with increased intelligence comes increased risk of inaccurate judgment and an overwhelming desire to steer one's destiny, no matter who gets hurt in the process. Caesar is a sympathetic character played brilliantly by CGI veteran Andy Serkis, and he shows a great degree of personal introspection and increased awareness that the world around him is wrong. His bond with William goes beyond pet vs. master, into father/son territory, making his eventual rise all that much foggier. Caesar is not evil, or bigoted or violent. He is a product of his surroundings that consistently clash with his good nature and sense of right and wrong, making his actions that much harder to pinpoint as either heroic or villainous. The most clouded aspect of the character is his decision to grant his fellow (and far less intelligent) primate brethren with his own super intelligence. The director wisely chose to leave that open to interpretation as to whether Caesar follows through for the sake of feeling like he belongs, or whether he genuinely wants freedom for his brothers.
The film can best be summed up as a techno-thriller, for there is little in the way of action save for the final act. Nevertheless, the story never felt slow, or uninteresting. The dichotomy between Caesar and Rodman is played out very wisely as their relationship begins to come apart at the seams under the weight of their positions in the world. By the time the apes manage to free themselves, Rodman realizes all too late that his personal quest to save his father has caused horrible repercussions. Whether the viewer chooses to tie this movie into the very first 'Planet of the Apes' classic is their choice. There are certainly enough strands to form a cohesive connection between the two, despite their vastly different themes, time periods and commentaries. Credit can definitely be given to the team for providing an excellent backstory to this hellish road which was quite literally paved with the best of intentions. Even if you're not a fan of the 'Apes' movies, this prequel can easily stand on its own as an example of smart storytelling, great integrity and some excellent thrills.
on July 18, 2013
I ordered this DVD Blu-ray and started to watch it only to get 3/4 of the way through and the disc skipped. I returned it and got another one only to have the same thing happen. I advised Amazon that the master must have a defect. I was soooo disappointed. I wanted to watch this movie, now I will wait until it is on Movie Central to see it. But I love your return policy.