"Rise of the Planet of the Apes" - My Thoughts
#1
Finally saw the movie last night. Not sure what to say about it. It was certainly better done than the last "Planet of the Apes" movie. The story made sense and they even offered a plausible explanation for why the apes would eventually take over the planet. But I couldn't help thinking throughout the movie that it was all setup.

I guess I'm used to the setup portion of a story being fairly short and sweet. In the past such segments often left me wanting more (such as the prologue in "The Fellowship of the Ring"). But lately as I run into more setup movies, I'm starting to feel that the pendulum may have swung too far to the other direction.

If we had not had all the previous franchise history with ape planet takeovers and all, this movie could have been interesting on its own merits. It owes nothing to Piere Boulle's classic novel other than the concept that apes might take on human-like intelligence.

The story really investigates how and why humans might elevate apes to the status of intellectual peers and then abdicate (unwittingly) in their favor mastery of the ecosystem.

What I think is most interesting is how Caesar is shown to be both compassionate and humanlike in the choices he makes. He's not simply the catalyst for the ape revolution, he struggles to find balance between his love for his human "father" (James Franco, who has come a long way from being Peter Parker's sidekick) and his need to figure out who he is and where he belongs.

I'm not much of a John Lithgow fan but I think he did a great job as Charles Rodman, the Alzheimer's sufferer who happens to be Will Rodman's (Franco) father. Lithgow's character is really the catalytic character, the reason why everything happens. And he is totally innocent. He is not only innocent, he is (I think) the source of the compassion that passes from Will to Caesar.

Andy Serkis did a great job as Caesar but I didn't realize until watching the movie that they had really called upon other actors to portray the apes almost as fully as Serkis. I thought Richard Ridings' performance as Buck the gorilla was especially moving.

The plot really thickened when Caesar was removed from his home and placed in with other apes. Suddenly we got to see how truly out of his environment he was. At first I expected the "ape sequence" to be fairly brief but they spent enough time exploring Caesar's confinement to really show the audience how and why things might have progressed as they did.

Tom Felton did okay as Brian Cox's son but I hope he hasn't been stereotyped as "the bad kid" because he's too good an actor to be wasted on minor roles as a perpetual bully and thug. Hopefully people will get to see him be something other than Draco Malfoy but I couldn't help but think he was cast in this part because of his Harry Potter experience.

Brian Cox's character is ambivalent. He's almost bad and not quite good. I'm not sure what he thought of the role. His character has a place in the story but isn't really pivotal. I don't feel like he helps move the plot forward, except in that he is an obstacle between reuniting James Franco/Will Rodman and Caesar (until it's too late).

And David Hewlett -- oh, Rodney McKay, how thou art fallen! What a terrible role to play after doing so well in Stargate: Atlantis. His character, Hunsiker, is mean and unsympathetic I didn't feel sorry for him in the least at the end of the movie. He sort of got what he deserved, and he went on to be the Angel of Death for humanity. I hope David takes on better roles than this in the future.

Does this movie deserve to turn into its own Andy Serkis franchise? I don't think so. We could certainly look ahead and see conflicts between apes and humans but they have turned everything "traditional" in the franchise on its side. It's not like the humans are going to have much chance at breeding like rabbits. And how would you inject time travelers into the future given that there was little indication of advanced technology (the Icarus mission to Mars notwithstanding -- is that supposed to go wrong, or do the astronauts simply come back to find Caesar in charge?)?

Yes, they laid the seeds of possible future stories in the details but I think they would really be stretching to bring it all together without having to just rewrite some of their rewritten backstory. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
Reply
#2
An excellent and well thought out assessment of the movie, Michael ( as always! :bgSmile. I actually really enjoyed it. There were one or two spots in the movie where the development of Caesar provides for
great "whoa" moments. And, thankfully, the cg effects were way better than in the trailer. I'm going to say about 80% of them were outstanding. There were a couple of scenes with a large number of the apes that
were a bit "computery" looking, and one or two shots of Caesar not quite there, but all in all a great job. Not quite to the point where you'd think they were using actual apes, but enough ( like Gollum ) so that you could
suspend disbelief. I think using the actors and motion capture is what makes the difference...to be able, via the nuances, to read Caesar's face was so entertaining.
I really enjoyed that whole section where Caesar gets thrown in with his own kind...and making his first friend ( "stupid apes"). I really would like to see it again before it leaves the theaters, but so much to see! And this weekend
I promised one of my niece's kids to take them to see the Smurfs...oh, well :laugh:Rolleyes
" It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes." - Douglas Adams
Reply
#3
Motion-capture technology has really come along since "Titanic" (which I think was the first movie to use it). I'm hoping we'll be able to see more innovative interpretations of science fiction and fantasy stories due to the technology. For example, CJ Cherryh's Downbelow Station and related stories would be ideally suited for adaptation using motion-capture technology.
Reply

MYCode Guide

Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Colorized Movie - "The Phantom Planet" Michael 0 769 November 26th, 2020, 05:09 PM
Last Post: Michael
  Planet of the Apes Skyway Patrolman 0 442 November 8th, 2020, 12:46 PM
Last Post: Skyway Patrolman
  Michael's Thoughts on 'The Monkey King: Havoc in Heaven's Palace' Michael 0 963 March 24th, 2020, 07:03 PM
Last Post: Michael
  Video: Trailer for "War for the Planet of the Apes" FilmGuy 0 372 December 20th, 2016, 04:26 AM
Last Post: FilmGuy
  My thoughts on the movie "The Edge of Tomorrow" Michael 0 529 June 8th, 2014, 07:41 PM
Last Post: Michael
  My Thoughts on the movie "Transcendance" Michael 0 796 April 20th, 2014, 12:36 AM
Last Post: Michael
  Video: "Treasure Planet" song, "I'm Still Here" FilmGuy 3 1,992 September 7th, 2012, 02:52 AM
Last Post: Michael
  "Seeking A Friend for the End of the World" - My Thoughts Michael 4 1,393 July 24th, 2012, 08:34 PM
Last Post: Michael
  "The Secret World of Arriety" -- My Thoughts Michael 0 568 March 5th, 2012, 02:15 PM
Last Post: Michael
  "The Woman in Black" -- My Thoughts Michael 2 1,188 February 12th, 2012, 11:25 PM
Last Post: Michael

Forum Jump: