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Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Updated on July 26, 2014

Original "Planet of the Apes" Trailer

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Director: Rupert Wyatt

Writers: Pierre Boulle, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver

Cast: James Franco, Andy Serkis, John Lithgow, Tom Felton, David Oyelowo, Freida Pinto, Ty Olsson, Karin Konoval, Terry Notary, Brian Cox, Tyler Labine, Jamie Harris, David Hewlett, Madison Bell, Makena Joy, Kevin O' Grady, Sean Tyson, Jack Kuris

Synopsis: An origin story set in present day San Francisco, where man's own experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy.

MPAA Rating: An origin story set in present day San Francisco, where man's own experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy.

Get Your Stinking Paws Off Me! You Damn Dirty Ape!

Behind the Scenes of "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"

Koko the talking Ape

Damn You All To Hell!


Okay, I take back what I said about "Super 8" being the best summer movie of this year, as I clearly spoke too soon on that. No, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" is clearly the superior film in every fathomable way. It not only meets the hype, but I would even dare say that this movie is arguably better than the original Charleton Heston version. Don't get wrong, I loved the original "Planet of the Apes" a lot, as I did with all the other previous films of the franchise. However, if I had to choose which was the superior film of this series, then I'd have go with the prequel of this franchise. Although, some people have argued saying this is more along the lines of a reboot rather than a prequel; the reality is that this movie has it set up to where it can actually be either...or even both if necessary. Confused? I'll gladly explain.

Assuming this is a prequel to the original "Planet of the Apes", I honestly couldn't find anything that contradicted the events of the original movie series. Not only does this film fall in nicely within the same timeline as the original "Planet of the Apes" movie series, but it also does so without contradicting anything, as it even makes brief references to Heston's astronaut crew getting lost up in space. As Anders Fischer pointed out in his review for "X-Men: First Class", prequels often have the daunting task of not only telling a good story, but they also have to try to make the events of the prequel fall in line with the original film. This is extremely hard to do, as audiences will already have a general idea of how the movie supposedly ends; which makes it really hard to make a prequel remotely interesting. However, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" not only embraces that challenge, but it also shows us exactly how a prequel should be. Not only does this movie do a great job tying in all the little loopholes that one could question about the events leading up to the original "Planet of the Apes" series, but it also manages to bring in quite a few surprises along the way as well to make it interesting.

Granted, I won't say what those surprises are, but let's just say they're on par with the original's twist ending; which featured Charleton Heston making his infamous speech where he damned us all to hell. Before I jump further into my analysis of this movie, lets get into what the story is about first, then we'll go from there.

The movie starts off with a scientist named Will Rodman (James Franco), who is on the verge of discovering a cure for Alzheimer's Disease. After testing on a few apes, the project gets shut down due to complications; which forces them to put most of them to sleep. Before one of the apes is put down, she gives birth to a baby; which Will decides to adopt without the company's knowledge. As the film goes on, Will names him Caesar, and raises him as if he was his own son.

As luck would have it, Caesar ends up inheriting some of the serum's affects. Of course, this prompts Will to bring some of the serum home with him, to test on his father, Charles Rodman (John Lithgow), whom suffers from Alzheimer's Disease, and conduct further tests on Caesar as well. Like all films of this ilk, things don't go exactly as planned. As the years go by, Caesar grows more intelligent. However, the serum doesn't exactly work as it was intended, since it only causes the Alzheimer's Disease in Charles' system to become progressively worse. This later leads to a scene where Charles accidentally crashes someone's car; which forces Caesar to come to his aid as he instinctively believes Charles is in danger. Due to this misunderstanding, this inevitably causes Caesar to be locked up. Without giving away too much, Caesar witnesses a side of humanity that Will sheltered him from; a side of humanity that shows just how cruel our society can be, as it manifests itself through the form of Tom Felton, who some might remember as the bully, Draco Malfoy, from the "Harry Potter" movies. Well lets just say that Tom does what he knows best, and he plays a mean spirited jerk that becomes sort of the symbol for how cruel humanity can be towards animals; which only helps the audience identify with Caesar more, as his intelligence only grows over time.

What amazes me about this film even more is that it's told almost completely from Caesar's perspective. Sure, the film may start off with James Franco as the lead protagonists. But as the movie gets halfway through it's first act, the story subtly shifts to tell everything from Caesar's perspective. The shift is so gradual that you barely realize it, as audiences will find themselves cheering for Caesar to lead his ape brothers to freedom by the end of this movie. Of course, where would this movie be without Andy Serkis? I know some people will dismiss his performance, as he merely provides motion capture for Caesar. However, like early silent film actors, he does so much by saying very little. He not only captures the ape like movements to make his CGI Caesar more believable, but as his character grows progressively smarter, you can read more into what Caesar is going through just from watching his facial expressions and body language. And to think, none of it would be possible if it wasn't for the new CGI implemented by "Avatar."

Using the special effects James Cameron implemented in his modern classic, "Avatar", Rupert Wyatt perfects on them. By taking the CGI technology to new heights, programmers can not only give audiences great special effects, but show genuine emotion within a CGI character; which would've been nearly impossible a few years ago. Both these elements come together perfectly, as it's almost kind of scary how life like Caesar is in this movie. In fact, if I knew absolutely nothing about how CGI works, then I would definitely be fooled into thinking that Caesar was a real ape. But, special effects can only help a film so much when displaying a CGI character (i.e. "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within" and "Mars Needs Moms"), as it takes a whole lot more. This is where Andy Serkis comes into play, as he literally carries this movie without hardly saying anything. If the Academy doesn't at least consider Serkis for his role as Caesar, then I'd have to seriously question their credibility.

Unfortunately, I can't give the same level of praise to James Franco and Freida Pinto, as their presence in the movie seemed more like an afterthought if anything else. Sure, they filled in their perspective roles nicely for what it seems that the script called for, but you could have easily cast anyone in their parts, and this film wouldn't have missed a beat. As for John Lithgow, he fills in the role he's expected to play, but I wouldn't expect too much more him either. Granted, the film does have it's flaws in regards to the supporting cast, but it plays out so well that you can't help but enjoy the film anyway.

As I mentioned earlier, the film could easily work as either a reboot or a prequel to the franchise if necessary. For one, it does leave things open for a sequel, as the apes don't exactly take over the world just yet. No, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" is more about the apes fighting for their freedom if anything else. Therefore, the film could work easily as either a prequel, or a reboot. Or perhaps, it could be a bit of both.

In the end, I think many "Planet of the Apes" fans will come to love this movie every bit as I did; while new comers will soon believe that an ape can think. Indeed, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" not only meets the hype, but it surpasses it ten fold. Truly a must see for any movie fan out there, as I'd give it a perfect four out four.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes Trailer


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    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 6 years ago

      there are some links to it, but you have look for it closely, as it's briefly mentioned in the prequel. Anyway, thanks for stopping by, and I hope you like the film whenever you get a chance to see it.

    • The Reminder profile image

      The Reminder 6 years ago from Canada

      Great now you made me wanna watch this flick. The trailer did not inspire me at all...except for Franco being one of my favorite actors. I must watch the Heston Movie too since you say there are links to it. I really liked the Mark Wahlberg movie and can't wait to see if this one will beait it. Thanks for the review!

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 6 years ago

      lol. I didn't realize we were competing with each other. lol Anyway, you be sure to keep up the good work yourself.

    • Nickalooch profile image

      Nickalooch 6 years ago from Columbia, MD

      i wont lie. thts why i stayed up late to write mine before you could lol. whatya know when i woke up you wrote one lol. no problem though, keep up the good work

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 6 years ago


      I wouldn't say this is a first for me, as I think I gave "The Social Network" a perfect four out four. Plus, if I had my rating system up when I was reviewing "Inception" and "Shutter Island", then I would've given those movies four out of four too. However, it is true that I rarely give them out, as it's kind of one of those things where a movie has to be modern classic in order to earn that kind of praise from me.

      Anyway, I appreciate you stopping by again paradise, as it was a pleasure seeing you. :)


      lol. Eh oh well. I guess you can't win them all. lol. Anyway, thanks for stopping by to check out my analysis on this movie.

    • Nickalooch profile image

      Nickalooch 6 years ago from Columbia, MD

      im stunned i actually wrote mine before you lol. loved this movie, good review

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Wow! That's almost a first for you, isn't it? Four out of four? Means this is really a must-see.