On Wednesday, Patrick and I were treated to a special preview of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, in theaters today. I was excited to see this film for a few reasons. The first is that a majority of it was filmed here in Vancouver and Patrick and I even saw one of the scene set-ups while on a walk one day. Second, I have a few friends in the film. One is Leah Gibson (also from Twilight) and I know some of the stuntmen who play a number of the apes in the compound. And lastly, I grew up around the Planet of the Apes films with my dad being a huge fan. So, I was interested to see how they would tie it all together and use new technology to make the apes look incredible.
While I wasn’t disappointed, I wasn’t blown away either. The film was shot really well so I have to give props to fairly newcomer director Rupert Wyatt. Tackling such a fan-followed film series has got to be tough but I think he did a pretty great job. James Franco was also great in the leading role and in moments where he played opposite Andy Serkis (Caesar) and John Lithgow (his father), you really saw his acting chops come to life. Another notable performance is that of Freida Pinto who plays Caroline, the love interest of Will Rodman (Franco). So what’s the basic synopsis of the film?
I’ll tell after the jump, but first, if you’ve never seen the originals, I want to give you a little bit of a catch-up. In the original film, during space travel in a cryogenic state, their vehicle crashes and the humans arrive on the Planet of the Apes. Throughout the film, we discover that the apes believe they were created by God and that Adam and Eve were primates. This changes when they find a human doll in a cave. Also, we discover that the Planet of the Apes is actually earth at the end of the original film. With that being said, check out what happens in the new film below.
The story takes place in modern-day San Francisco. We watch as Will Rodman is working on a genetic altering drug that will help cure Alzheimer’s, a disease his father suffers from. When the experiment seems to be successful on apes, the company pushes for board approval for human trials. However, a turn of events changes everything when their test ape tries to protect her newborn and winds up dead. This is when Will brings home a baby ape which in turn becomes Caesar.
We watch as baby Caesar grows up and develops into quite the smarty. Will begins to track the progress and discovers that the medicine was past down from the mother onto Caesar. However, his progress is quite impressive and rapid. With that, Will decides to test the drug on his father Charles. While the effects are immediate and he appears to be cured, his immune system slowly begins to fight the drug that helped cure him temporarily.
Meanwhile, Caesar finds himself in a predicament with the next door neighbor and is taken away by court order to a primate facility. While everything in the facility seems to be hunky dory, the moment visitors leave, the animal cruelty begins. It doesn’t help that Caesar is the smartest one in the bunch. However, his intelligence becomes an asset in his survival.
I don’t want to spoil anymore of the film for you but the action only gets going from here. The effects of the apes at times were absolutely astounding but sometimes, I felt like I was watching Spiderman when they followed the apes in swinging and climbing sequences. Overall, I thought the CGI was great and made the film seem seamless overall. The film also did a great job of setting up how the fight for supremacy begins between apes and humans. I suggest you stay and watch the credits for the first few minutes to understand what I mean.
Overall, I give this film 3 out of 5 stars.
I think that fans of the original movies will feel a little less connection to this film as it was very “Hollywood-ized”. However, I think they paid some serious homage to the original films with moments like the apes appearing on top of railings in warrior and army like fashion. What is interesting is that if you know the originals, you know that Caesar doesn’t appear as the leader of the apes until the third film in the series. So, I am wondering if there will be another movie coming in the future to explain why he doesn’t remain the leader or how the story line actually develops. Check out the movie’s trailer below:
What did you think of the new Apes movie? Impressive edition to the series or a swing and a miss? Sound off below.