DIRECTOR: Rupert Wyatt
Back in 2011, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes my Film Of The Year, but I only rated it 9/10. But like many great films, revisiting it again and again can establish its longevity and prove something which I already knew. This was and is a 10/10 movie. A brilliant reboot, reinterpretation and homage to the original classic, Planet Of The Apes (1968), but it is also a tender and emotive film in its own right. Taking its time, whilst entertaining a relatively short running time at 100 minutes, Rise compelling tells the story of the Ape which would start a revolution, maintaining themes of slavery, humiliation and torture though the prism of good science fiction. As near perfect as you can get.
September 2011 Review
In 1968, Charlton Heston uttered the immortal words… “Get your stinking hands of me you damn dirty ape!” In 2011, this phrase is repeated by Tom Felton, Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter franchise, in this films only real misstep. In 1968, if a film had been made where apes are being mistreated by humans and they rose up against them to create a world dominated by simians, this would have been at best, an interesting Sci- Fi effort, not dissimilar from the The Outer Limits, Star Trek or The Twilight Zone, but pitching it in reverse, allowing us to identify with apes plight via humans, namely the 20th century astronaut, Taylor, Chuck Heston, turned this into and instant hit and a franchise spawning classic.
Four sequels, all poor by comparison, and short-lived TV series and the Tim Burton remake later, we have Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes. This is a mirror of the classic, turning a film which turned the world on its head, on its head again! But this is not a standard Sci-Fi thriller. This is a character drama, looking at the exploitative world through the eyes of a genetically enhanced chimp, Caesar.
Andy Serkis, who portrayed the first talking ape, also best known for bringing life to Gollum and King Kong, does so with an incredible sense of feeling, emotion and character, showcasing the motion capture technology as it progresses from the high water mark of Avatar, to the heights that the future may hold. The problem that I had, was that the trailer didn’t do it for me. It looked simple, predictable and mildly boring and the film doesn’t stray from this format too much. In other words, if you seen the trailer, you know how it’s going to go.
But do we watch Titanic, unaware that the ship sinks in the end? No. It’s about the journey and this film is a study in what drives Caesar to spawn a new world where apes rule and humans are zoo animals, test subjects or hunted by the “superior” species.
My advice is to just sit back and let this film wash over you. For fans of the original, this is a treat unlike any other film from this franchise, save the original, as it is filled with homages and leaders for sequels, but for the casual viewer, this has its exiting moments and as well as a taste of melodrama suited for this franchise.
A very pleasant surprise…