Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes: Great Rework of the Origin Story

The Planet of the Apes franchise had been stale for a while.  The 2001 remake of the original was a lackluster ridiculous movie with cheesy special effects and bad acting.  This decade-later remake starring James Franco, however is a lot of fun.  The number one reason I enjoyed this movie so much is the fantastic and effective performance by Andy Serkis as Caesar, the lead ape who leads an ape revolution.  The performances by all the ape in fact are fantastic, it was hard to believe that they were all CG and that there was a human behind each performance.

The story is also really good and satisfying.  The story of the rise of Caesar from the child of James Franco's character to leader of a revolution against the mistreatment of his fellow apes is compelling.  On the other side, I wondered how the writers would come up with a plausible method to display how a few hundred Apes in California could ever get to a large enough force to eventually take over a planet.  This question is answered satisfactorily in the movie.

The worst part of the movie are the humans.  James Franco does not really do much in the movie.  Event though the movie take place over almost 10 years, James Franco looks exactly the same.  Frieda Pinto is given almost nothing to do in the movie, her character is bland, uninteresting and totally replaceable.

The last third of the movie from when Caesar stands up to his oppressors in a primate facility to the end is thrilling.  It improved the movie from interesting character study on Caesar to an exciting action movie.  

*** Stars

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