There have been many planet of the apes movies since the 1968 original, and none of them have been better. Almost all of them have been bad as well. When Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes (2001) was announced I was had my hopes high. Then I saw the movie, it was just awful. When they announced they were making another planet of the apes movie I was not excited in the least. Then I saw Rise of the Planet of the Apes. You know what, it was actually good. It has its problems and it can’t top the original by any means. But it was refreshing to know that this movie was not another failed attempt at another apes movie.
The movie opens at a major drug company. Here Will Rodman (James Franco) is a scientist who believes he has developed something that can cure Alzheimer’s. He call is it ALZ 112. Of course, he starts testing on chimps straight away. Suddenly the chimpanzees IQ goes way up, they even have the ability to learn sign-language. Then one of the test chimps looses it and attacks a board meeting, after that the experiment is completely shut off. Will decides to take a baby chimp home with him just for a little while. Weeks turn into months, and months turn into years. The chimp, who Will has decided to name Caesar becomes a permanent guest. Since this is a prequel we know things must go wrong. As a side note, there is a small love story thrown in there for Will, this is easily the worst part of the movie. It just isn’t given enough care. Well the movie is more about the chimps than the humans.
The best performances in the movie by far come from the chimps. With special effects and a motion-capture performances. Caesar, motion-captured by Andy Serkis, is the most developed and well executed character. It is great to watch him and all the apes on screen. When the apes are on screen you can not look away. Andy Serkis does a fantastic job. He deserves some kind of Oscar recognition for his work here. I don’t know how, all I know is he deserves it. He has really done amazing work here. I wish I could say such good things about the human characters. James Franco, Tom Felton(who is kind of just playing Draco Malfoy all over again), John Lithgow, and Freida Pinto all do a decent enough job. There are just not interesting to watch, when they are on screen by themselves the movie looses some of it’s steam.
The screenplay is not great nor is it horrible. Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver script is not up to par with the special effects. There are a few underwritten characters, such as Will. Before you really start to get into the movie the plot is cliched. Not bad, but cliched. When the apes come at you in full blast, now that’s when the magic happens. The best thing this movie does is bring the apes to life. They all have personalities and are extremely interesting characters. It is really something special to watch Caesar grow smarter and smarter as the movie progresses. The motion-capture is so much better than the old way where someone just squeezed into a monkey suit and talked in some accent. When you see the movie, you will know that this really does make all the difference. You actually care for Caesar, this is a big accomplishment.
The action is handled extremely well. Especially the final one, it is really something to watch. Now that action scene was handled well. Overall this is a good entertaining popcorn movie. The apes save this movie, if they were done wrong the movie would have been worthless. The humans are bland, the script needed some work, and the direction could have been handled better(save for a few parts which are handed perfectly). None of that stuff is unbearable bad though, it just could have made this movie more than it is. Still, Rise of the Planet of the Apes manages to be the best newer version of the original apes movie. It is a roller coaster, it has it’s ups and downs, but it is definitely worth the ride.