I know it has been a while since I posted anything at all. I have been quite busy with a move and working 40+ hours a week at a new job. It’s been quite hectic. I never got around to seeing the Daniel Craig/Harrison Ford starring engine known simply as Cowboys and Aliens due to time constraints. I still haven’t seen the wonderful David Tennant in Fright Night (which in the new area is only in 3-D). Tonight’s viewing pleasure was the big screen adaptation of what is a prequel to one of Hollywood’s longest running franchises. I have never seen any of the original Planet of the Apes films nor have I sat through the Tim Burton helmed, Mark Whalberg starring engine that came out at the turn of the century but I was skeptical about the James Franco led vehicle.
Needless to say the trailers featuring the CGI apes destroying the Bay Area enticed me so seeing the film became a slight must as time wore on. The ultimate question in my mind is how the prequel would tie up an already convoluted yet unsure premise of how the apes took over the world. Although skeptical at first about the entire idea of trying to reboot an old franchise based off of the French novel that started it seemed a bit odd, it’s a safe bet to pay for the price of admission here, not just in part due to a lackluster series of films in theaters (Final Destination 5, The Help, Conan the Barbarian, Spy Kids 4 all round out the top 5 box office from last weekend in no order). Rise of the Planet of the Apes conquers not just on a narrative level but on a level that the franchise hasn’t reached since the time of the hippies.
The film’s narrative at first focuses on Franco’s character, a young budding scientist who is working on a cure for Alzheimer, due to selfish reasons of course. The whole concept of testing on chimps is shown throughout the film, one of the main themes is how humanity regards the treatment of animals, especially of the primate variety. The experiment goes awry at first leading to the extermination of all the chimps in the compound. It turns out though that the chimp that went bat shit crazy was a mother who was just protecting it’s newborn baby.
Franco takes the baby chimp home and raises it partially in fact his sick father takes a warming up to the fellow and also because of the fact that he realizes the monkey has the DNA of the drug encoded into him, so he’s naturally smarter and all that other stuff. Of course all this is to help his father in some selfish act. As we further progress through the plot we witness the true nature of humans and how we treat our animal brothers. Of course the film exaggerates the entire aspect of it. The thing though eventually the monkey revolution begins and looks totally awesome.
So let’s point out the basic plot, like we did, but the fact is this, the plot fits in with the whole Planet of the Apes idea. Cheesey sci-fi plot that works well for the situation. The way they turned it into a modern way of moving it forwards in the series I felt was a clever and classy way to make it work.
The dialogue was okay, nothing amazing or special but just good enough to work in a science fiction sort of way. The visual effects of the monkeys were stand out. They looked like they were real fucking monkeys running around San Fran fucking the world up. The only ape that didn’t look great was the main one, Caesar. He looked more human than ape but then again think of the logic as to why.
The acting chops from those such as Tom Felton and Brian Cox were alright, due to the fact that they didn’t have much screen time. Felton’s brief screen time coupled with his awkward hickish American accent was quite dull but the quote “Get your paws off me you damn dirty apes” which was quite a familiar quote even to someone who hasn’t seen the other movies. James Franco delivers quite the performance but then again it’s James Franco.
The film does not suffer pacing problems as much as the trailers made it out to be, also the film’s utter lack of monkey destruction disappointed. Seeing as the film focused on the rise of the ape revolution for a good hour and forty five minutes of it I have to say though the film impressed me for being a late summer flick that has next to nothing to rely on.
Needless to say the James Franco led engine succeeds in most categories wowing the audiences with brilliant effects, heartwarming appearances from the cast and above average writing. Rise rises to the occasion to impress more than it lets down as I hand it a nice crown of an 8.6